Although only a sophomore, J.T. Phelan has already had a major impact on East Valley athletics.
He caught touchdown passes in all but two football games and was a standout free safety on defense. He averaged a little more than 14 points per game in basketball and was All-Great Northern League in both sports.
Now Phelan is a contributing on a Knights baseball team which surprisingly finds itself in first place, although entering the meat of its schedule during the decisive final week of the wacky GNL season.
“We’re in a good spot right now,” said John Phelan, J.T.’s dad and baseball coach. “Now it’s going to get crazy.”
Five teams have taken turns beating up on each other and the Knights (10-3) begin with a doubleheader Saturday against Pullman (8-5), have a single game Tuesday against Cheney (8-7) and close with a doubleheader Thursday against Clarkston (11-4) all at home.
“I wasn’t sure how good we’d be,” coach Phelan said. “The kids have risen to the occasion. Pullman and Clarkston are both very good and I think West Valley (9-6) and Cheney are solid.”
Coaching your son can be stressful, John said. “He does a good job of management more than me. Expectations are high, which isn’t fair to him.”
The Mead Panthers are nearing a Greater Spokane League championship and they’ve done it with a pitching staff so deep it’s hard to determine who ranks No. 1.
Nick Sagendorf is the putative ace with a 4-1 record, an ERA under 1.20 and leads the league in strikeouts with 46.
But sophomore Zac Regal (2-1) has thrown two no-hitters with a minuscule 0.33 ERA and Brandon Costello (2-1) has a 1.27 ERA. On top of that, coach Jason Reich has used four other pitchers.
“Nick and I have talked over the last couple years that he was going to be our go-to guy, our bulldog” Reich said. “Zac’s pitch counts can be really low. He’s located well and he’s got good movement on his ball.
“For a sophomore, he’s real mature and just goes to work.”
He said Costello is simply having a great senior year.
The first complete set of GSL statistics is out and not only does Mead have a wealth of pitching, but also many the top offensive leaders. The No. 2 batter in the lineup, Tucker Hoch, is No. 1 in hitting with a .564 average. Hoch shares the runs lead at 14 with Central Valley’s Ryan Leone and RBI lead at 13 with Shadle Park’s Evan Douglas. Mead’s Dane Crater is hitting .469, Costello is the doubles leader with seven and Darian Barlow has 10 stolen bases. Shadle’s Douglas is hitting .459 and has two home runs. … Northwest Christian junior pitcher Gavin Clayton pitched a no-hitter in an 11-0, five inning win over Davenport. … Levi Pereira hit two home runs, driving in four runs, and Bubba Duran added a three-run homer as Coeur d’Alene thumped Lake City 27-2. The Vikings scored 19 runs in the third inning and Timberwolves pitchers didn’t help themselves, walking 15 during the game.