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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Offense sizzling for Lake City

Mike Saunders Correspondent

COEUR d’ALENE — Lake City High’s baseball team is on a roll heading into next week’s 5A Region I tournament.

Coeur d’Alene, well … isn’t.

The red-hot Timberwolves, who have been scoring runs by the dozens, hammered the Vikings 15-3 in five innings and earned outright the Inland Empire League title in the process.

CdA has lost eight straight and faces the daunting task of traveling to No. 2 Lewiston (18-6 overall, 15-5 IEL) for the loser-out regional opener Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Top-seed Lake City (18-6, 16-4) faces the winner of that game Thursday at 4 p.m. for the championship and an automatic state berth. Thursday’s loser travels to Lewiston Saturday for a state play-in game against the Boise area’s third-place team.

It’s the first championship in Lake City’s 10-year history and junior utility man Jeff Harris, who went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs, spoke about his team’s emotions.

“This gives us a lot of momentum going into the tournament,” said Harris, a last-minute starter after second-baseman Tom Barlow rolled an ankle during infield practice. “And it’s our first league title ever, so we’re pretty excited.”

Sophomore left fielder Cory Kreighbaum, who got a rare start on the mound, echoed the vibe.

“We’ve scored 69 runs in the last four games,” said Kreighbaum, who earned the victory, giving up two runs in two innings. “So it looks like we’re starting to play really well as a team.

“Everyone’s bats are starting to come alive, the pitchers are throwing strikes — it’s a good sign for things to come.”

The Vikings (10-12, 7-11) struck early when Max Lyons tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the first. Logan Wadsworth followed with a single and three batters later Jake Haux brought him home with a ground-ball double down the left-field line.

But five walks, two hit-batsmen and four hits allowed by CdA starter Max Lyons led to 11 runs in the bottom of the second for LC and the game was essentially over.

Timberwolves coach Cory Bridges talked about the game, the season, and what comes next.

“Today we benefited from a lot of bases on balls, but we’ve been mixing in a lot of hits in those situations,” Bridges said. “Defensively, we’ve been solid and our pitching has been really solid; pitching and defense will do a lot for you.

“All year, we’ve been waiting and hoping our hitting would come around, and in the last couple of weeks it’s been pretty good.”

Indeed, the T-Wolves have been hitting well from top to bottom.

“It’s not the same guys — it’s different guys every game,” Bridges added. “Like Jeff Harris; yesterday, Jeff struggled, and everybody else hit the tar out of the ball.

“Today, Jeff stepped up, and it’s been that way the last couple of weeks; if someone’s struggling, someone else is picking him up, and that’s what you want to see.”

Bridges hit on his team’s biggest asset headed into postseason play.

“They’re very confident as a unit,” Bridges said. “And that’s a hard thing to get — it’s something that just doesn’t come.

“It’s earned, I guess.”

Coach Brian Holgate was at a loss to explain the slump in which he finds his Viks mired.

“The coaches and the players, we all can’t figure it out,” Holgate said, adding that team drive and attitude seem to be just fine. “We’re a better team than we’re playing like right now.

“It seems like one day we get pitching, and then we can’t catch a ball, and the next day we can’t hit; we just can’t put a game together.”

Senior outfielders Donnie Mitzelfelt, who went 2 for 2, and Steve Hazelton scored three runs apiece for Lake City.

Haux lined a homer over the left-field fence to lead off the fourth for the Vikings, who play host to Moscow in a make-up doubleheader today at 3.

Also in the IEL, Sandpoint (11-12, 10-10) earned the top seed to the 4A Region I tournament with a 7-6, 11-10 sweep of visiting Post Falls (10-13, 8-12). No details were reported. Second-seeded PF will host No. 3 Moscow on Tuesday for the chance to play Sandpoint on Thursday.

Matt Barnhouse pitched a six-inning no-hitter in the opener and Kim Kreider had eight RBIs on the day to carry Timberlake (18-3, 14-1) to a 17-0, 12-2 sweep of visiting St. Maries (7-16, 4-11) in Intermountain League play at Spirit Lake. In the opener, Barnhouse struck out seven and walked five, and Kreider had a three-run triple. Alex Fraser had three RBIs and Tom Corkery added two for the Tigers in the second game. The 3A District I tournament begins Saturday at Post Falls. The 9:30 a.m. openers are No. 6 St. Maries vs. No. 3 Priest River (10-12), and No. 5 Bonners Ferry (5-19) vs. No. 4 Kellogg (11-11). Top-seeded Timberlake and No. 2 Lakeland (12-10) have byes until games at noon.

Softball

Jenna DeLong scattered six hits and Sammie Ritzheimer singled in the go-ahead run in the third as Inland Empire League champion Coeur d’Alene (21-0, 17-0) registered a 3-1 win at Lake City (16-7, 15-4). DeLong struck out four and had an RBI single in the fifth. Ritzheimer, who finished 2 for 3, snapped a 1-all tie by bringing home Briana Robson… . Also in the IEL, Katie Ness and Sean Topp threw back-to-back three-hitters to lift Post Falls (10-14, 7-13) to a 9-3, 6-3 sweep at Sandpoint (2-20, 2-18). Post Falls will host the 4A Region I championship on Thursday. Sandpoint will play at Moscow on Tuesday for the right to meet PF. Ness allowed no earned runs and walked none in the opener. She added 3-for-4 hitting, with two runs and two RBIs. The Trojans’ Amy Musch added a two-run single in the fourth. PF’s Heather Glaze hit a second-inning grand slam in the second game.

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