If Thursday’s one-run, 10-inning Greater Spokane League baseball game between University and Central Valley was a classic, their rematch Friday was considerably less so.
Hitters took advantage when pitchers struggled and defenses faltered at times.
But by outscoring the Bears 11-5, the Titans put the previous day’s disappointment behind them and reached the midpoint of the season in first place.
“We should have won Thursday,” U-Hi coach Scott Sutherland said, alluding to a ninth-inning base running gaffe that likely cost them a victory in a 5-4 loss. “It was an emotional loss for us. The big thing was to put it in the past.”
The Titans (9-1) did so by jumping out to an early lead at CV as they had the day before. This time they added to it, leading 10-1 after three innings and weathering the Bears’ fifth-inning rally.
U-Hi led 5-1 after getting out of a bases-loaded jam by turning the first of two inning-ending double plays. Sophomore right fielder Thomas Wakem slugged a one-out home run in the third to jump-start the decisive five-run inning.
It was the outfielder’s second home run in as many days and fourth of the season. Five of the next six Titans reached base and four scored to give starter Jon Rapose a cushion.
“Playing AA Legion and getting used to the competition helped,” Wakem said of his powerful start as a varsity Titan. “I’ve always been the guy who hits home runs. It’s just going out and having fun.”
Doubles by Nick Motsinger and Craig Keeton fueled the three-run first inning. Ian Craig-Scott led off the second with a triple as U-Hi tacked on two runs.
CV put the first two runners on in the first inning and three on in the second without an out. The Bears managed just one run, on David Borgman’s first-inning steal of home during a rundown play between first and second.
In the fifth, the Bears scored four times. Joe Arlt socked a three-run homer and CV loaded the bases with one out. But again the Titans’ defense held and did so as well in the sixth and seventh innings.
U-Hi won four of five games during the week.
“Being 4-1 was fantastic. If we’d have been 5-0, it would have been incredible,” Sutherland said. “We have the bye next and will recharge our batteries.”
Leadoff hitter Jacob Olsufka scored three runs and cleanup batter Michael Holmes had three hits and drove in a pair. For the Bears, Borgman had two hits, including a double, and catcher Coedy Cooley had three hits.
In other GSL games: Ferris (6-4) gained a split of its home-and-home series with Mt. Spokane (5-5), winning 7-2 on the road. Aaron Roberts hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie and the Saxons added three runs before the inning was over. Mt. Spokane pitchers walked eight and hit one batter. … East Valley (4-4) scored three times in the top of the seventh for an 8-7 win at Rogers (0-8). Jake Pugsley led off with an inside-the-park home run for his third RBI of the day. Joey Rocco had two hits, scored twice and earned the win in relief. Rogers’ Tyler Orlowski drove in three runs. EV scored twice in the bottom of the seventh for a victory over Rogers on Thursday. … Visiting Mead (7-1) scored five runs over the final two innings to rally past Lewis and Clark (3-7) 9-6 at Hart Field. Grant Fink drove in four runs with a double and triple and Jake Schrader was 3 for 4 for the second-place GSL team.
•Inland Empire League: Coeur d’Alene swept a doubleheader at home against Post Falls, winning 5-3 and 7-6. In the opener, J.J. Turban had an RBI fifth-inning double to tie the game and had eight strikeouts as pitcher. Devon Austin followed with an RBI single for the win. In the second game, Drew Turbin singled in the winning run in the seventh. Matt Lambert was 5 for 6 on the day.
•Intermountain League: Orofino swept visiting Timberlake 10-3 and 13-3. Michael Lacey fanned eight in the first game. Nick Pomponio had three RBIs in the other.
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