Mon., April 18, 2016
Bill Pierce’s almanac: Gonzaga Prep’s run at state softball crown
Title IX, which gave women a more equal chance to compete in athletics coincided with the beginning of the Greater Spokane League in 1975.
Softball competition in the early years of the GSL was only slowpitch.
Gonzaga Prep, coached by Kevin Griffin, was a senior-dominated team in 1984, and battled the 1983 champion, Central Valley, to the wire to claim the softball league crown. The Bullpups were 16-2, with losses only to CV, and surprisingly, to University, who finished last in league standings.
Prep went into the Region IV AAA-AA Regionals as the No. 1 seed, where they faced Frontier League representative, Medical Lake, for a trip to state. They won easily, 9-3, with hitting star Rene Leveque hitting a triple and home run. It was Gonzaga Prep’s first trip to state in softball.
The state tournament in 1984 was held at Tacoma’s South End Recreation Field, and was to be a two-day affair. However, Mother Nature stepped in to wash out the first day’s schedule. Prep was tied with Woodinville in their first game when rain halted the action. Tournament organizers then decided to fit all the remaining play into the final day.
Joanna DeFelice ended the Woodinville game the next morning with a 7th inning home run to give the Bullpups a 9-8 victory, sending the team into the quarterfinals against Mt. Tahoma, where they were once again victorious, 3-1.
The semifinals found Prep facing another east side team, Kamiakin. The Bullpups pulled out a narrow 6-5 win to put them in the championship game against Arlington.
The marathon day ended with a 9-3 loss, and a second-place trophy for Prep. Leveque had three hits in the game, with DeFelice and high school all-American basketball star, Lisa Oriard, each having two, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Eagles.
Griffin had special praise for the outstanding defense of shortstop Maura Doohan for her play during the tournament.
Prep finished the year at 21-3. The second-place finish was the highest a GSL school would ever achieve in slowpitch competition at state. The tournament would go to fastpitch in 1992.