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Monday, October 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mills hits his way into G-Prep lineup

Wyatt Mills was a not-so-unlikely hero when Gonzaga Prep won the second game to sweep Ferris this week in a pivotal Greater Spokane League baseball doubleheader.

He was batting .400 after his game-winning, two-run single Tuesday to beat the Saxons.

“Wyatt was a little bit behind,” coach Brian Munhall said, “but once he got in the lineup, he’s one of our leading hitters now.”

Make that hitting leader with just 15 at-bats. All six hits have come in G-Prep’s last five games.

“I was looking for a ‘dead red’ fastball down the middle and seeking a gap,” Mills said of the clutch hit. “Luckily, it fell in.”

He said just being in the starting lineup had him a bit nervous. Then he made a diving catch and “I was pumped.

“Being just a junior, when I made the team coaches told me I might not get an at-bat,” Mills said. “But they said they’d try and work me in and I got my shot.”

With at-bats like Tuesday’s can stay there, Munhall said.

Making do without ace

Mt. Spokane is 7-1 and it has done it without pitching ace Kelly Fitzpatrick on the mound.

He told coach Alex Schuerman that his forearm was sore following his shutout stint in the first game of the season against G-Prep and it has kept him off the mound since. It was an inflamed muscle.

“I liken it to being on the 15-day disabled list,” Schuerman said, relieved that it wasn’t some sort of season-ending injury.“It just tightened up on him and needs ice, rest and an anti-inflammatory.”

Fitzpatrick is still carrying a lusty batting average, while five pitchers have responded. They’ve allowed but 14 runs in six wins and Trevor Hoffnagle, originally penciled in as an everyday reliever, is 3-0. Drew Rasmussen hurled his first complete games, striking out 12 and walking none in a 3-1 win over Rogers.

“It’s nice having them step up,” Schuerman said. “I’m thrilled with our start.”

No rest for contenders

It’s past the halfway mark for the league-leading Bullpups (9-1), while others still have makeup games to get in.

Looming next week are key games between Mead (5-1) and Mt. Spokane, G-Prep and University (3-2), U-Hi and Shadle Park (6-2) in a pivotal 3A meeting, and G-Prep and Mead in home-and-home series.

Short hops

Games have been few are far between for Inland Empire 5A teams, thanks to the rainy weather. When Coeur d’Alene (2-0) beat Lake City (0-2) 14-3 this week in five innings it had been 25 days since the Timberwolves last played. The Vikings, fourth in state last year, may have graduated nine regulars, but three returnees, Joe Roletto, Levi Pereira and Bubba Duran combined to go 10 for 10 with a double, two triples, a home run and 12 RBIs…. Coach Ron Brooks likes Shadle Park’s start thanks to quality pitching from Nick Bettinson and Ben Shoemaker, along with timely hitting from Evan Douglas and Blake Phebus. “So far we have been playing better,” he said. … After watching the Bullpups pitchers work inside and out, up and down with an assortment of pitches, Munhall revealed that catchers Zach Bonneau and Kane Ulrich call their own games. “It’s a lost art,” he said. Having been a catcher himself, who better to show them the way? … Mt. Spokane’s Tucker Sanford was 7 for 12 in four wins last week with six runs batted in. Fitzpatrick went 4 for 8, also drove in six runs and drew seven walks.

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