Pitching and defense is at the core of baseball, and the University Titans took it to heart.
The Titans turned a timely double play and had a highlight-reel effort by sophomore shortstop Garrett Schmerer. Junior pitcher Davis Hill did the rest in their 2-0 Greater Spokane League victory over visiting Shadle Park on a comfortably sunny Tuesday, leaving both teams with 2-1 records.
U-Hi won sans coach Scott Sutherland. People were tight-lipped as to why, other than a comment by a Central Valley School District spokesperson who said that he is on paid administrative leave.
The 6-foot-4 Hill was in total command of his stuff while limiting the Highlanders to two hits, and started a fourth-inning, bases-loaded, home-to-first double play.
The inning before Schmerer tripped and fell, yet somehow managed to keep the ball in front of him and make the throw to first base.
Timely offense produced just enough to overshadow a sterling effort by Highlanders hurler Ben Shoemaker.
“My curveball was on today,” said Hill, who allowed hits in the third and fourth innings, walked three, hit a batter and struck out five. “I couldn’t have done it without my defense, honestly. When Garrett tripped and made that play it was pretty amazing.”
Going for a ball hit right at him, Schmerer fell face first and while essentially still on his stomach got the ball to first base in time.
Schmerer said that “apparently one shoelace was a little longer than the other. I started my crossover and my left cleat got caught and down I went. I’m surprised I got that much on (the ball), actually.”
Additionally, Austin Stannard flagged down three hard hit balls in right field and finished the game with two hits.
U-Hi scored in the first inning on line-to-line hits, a leadoff double by Matt Adams down the left side and an RBI single by Stannard on the first-base side. At the bottom of the Titans order in the fourth, Shoemaker filled the bases with two walks (the only two he allowed) and a single. Adams’ ground out plated the other run.
“He threw a great game,” Shadle coach Ron Brooks said of his fourth-year varsity hurler. “Tip my hat to U-Hi, they got the timely hit when they needed it. We hit the ball to (Stannard) and he didn’t have to move. Another day and maybe they’re over his head.”
Don Ressa, the Titans former longtime head coach and current assistant, filled in for Sutherland.
“Davis Hill was incredible,” Ressa said afterwards. “He threw a great curveball, a great change and had command of three pitches. We played good ‘D’ behind him and that’s kind of the name of the game.”
Four other GSL teams remained unbeaten after Tuesday’s schedule. Gonzaga Prep (3-0) defeated Lewis and Clark (0-3) 9-4; Mead (3-0) beat Central Valley (0-3) 12-2; Mt. Spokane (3-0) beat Rogers (0-3) 13-3 and Ferris (2-1) shut out North Central (0-3) 10-0.