April 5, 2013 in Sports

Cantu sparks Cats’ offense

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Cantu can do. Connor Cantu, left fielder for Mt. Spokane, swung his bat with authority during the Wildcats’ sweep of Shadle Park before Greater Spokane League baseball teams shut down over spring break.

With the wins, Mt. Spokane remained unbeaten in the Greater Spokane along with Gonzaga Prep and Mead.

“Our offense is clicking on all cylinders right now,” coach Alex Schuerman said. “Connor’s been a clutch hitter for us all year.”

He had two hits, including a double, Schuerman said, that broke a 2-2 in Mt. Spokane’s 12-3 win over the Highlanders last week. On Monday, Cantu was even better, slugging two triples and driving in five runs during an 11-1 five-inning waltz.

His first came with the bases full in the second inning. With two outs in the fifth, he tripled home his fifth RBI and scored on Tyler Huck’s walk-off base hit.

Mt. Spokane has outscored its foes 74-12, four of the wins ending in five innings.

“We’ve been having a good year so far, with the defense behind us and we’ve been doing great on the mound,” Cantu said. “It’s a great group of guys.”

And light-hearted, too, judging from the antics that followed the game on the field (they left Shuerman alone on the field after they’d called him to join them for postgame sprints) and in the dugout.

It’s all business

Things get serious as the GSL gears up for the final two-thirds of the season.

On the upcoming docket is the district rivalry between current unbeatens Mead and the Wildcats (both 6-0) beginning April 12. They have business to take care of beforehand with two games each against Shadle (3-3) and University (4-2), respectively. … Prep (6-0) has outscored its opponents 61-9, including five straight wins allowing just one run each. The Bullpups play the toughest part of their schedule down the stretch, beginning with Mt. Spokane on April 18. … North Central stunned Ferris (4-2) 1-0 last week for its initial win.

No-no for Konkler

Josh Konkler’s accomplishments were well-documented by columnist John Blanchette a year ago.

The Northport three-sport athlete, born missing most of his right arm, has added another accomplishment. The Northeast 1B equivalent of former major league hurler Jim Abbot, Konkler last week pitched a no-hitter against St. Michael’s.

“Last year was his first year of pitching,” assistant coach Erik Stark said.

Like Abbott, Konkler hangs his glove on the nub of his arm, throws the ball and transfers the glove as quickly as possible to his left hand. The way he’s been pitching this year, Stark said, he’s pushing to become the No. 1 hurler.

He also bugged his coach, Don Baribault, to move from the outfield to infield and this year is playing first base.

“He pushed us. We said ‘We’ll let you try,’ and he’s proven to be very good,” Stark said.

A year ago, with one arm to swing the bat, Konkler hit .400. This year he’s not hitting as well, but still batting clean-up.

“He has the knack for getting a hit at the right time,” Stark said, “and is very adept at squeeze bunting.”

Konkler is an all-league football and basketball player.

Big doubleheader

West Valley and East Valley stand 1-2 in the Great Northern League – the Eagles at 5-0, the Knights 4-1 – following East Valley’s 6-5 victory over Clarkston (5-2) on Tuesday.

Saturday, West Valley hosts the Knights in a doubleheader beginning at noon.

The GNL is following form with those three teams and Cheney scrambling for honors with two-thirds of the season remaining.

Regel readies

Zac Regel, who had been declared ineligible following his transfer from Mead to Gonzaga Prep, was in the lineup for the Bullpups March 30 after the Greater Spokane League decision was overturned on appeal. He worked one inning and struck out three.

“Baseball was the last reason he transferred,” coach Brian Munhall said, following the hearing before a visiting WIAA representative. “He was not leaving a program where he was not a factor. He took risks transferring.”

Munhall said he wasn’t sure if he’d be a starter or reliever due to his lack of mound presence.

“I’d like to have him be a starter,” Munhall said. “The great thing is we’ve got three or four big arms who can throw strikes. When you’re playing three games a week he can be a dynamite out of the pen.”

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