All Central Valley had to do Monday was beat Gonzaga Prep at the Bullpups’ house on Senior Day to secure at least a portion of the Greater Spokane League championship.
The Bears delivered, smashing Gonzaga Prep 13-5 in a game that wasn’t even that close to secure the co-championship and the No. 1 seed in the District 8 4A playoffs.
“That’s a really nice way to end it,” Central Valley coach Mike Amend said. “We are really excited about it. We are ahead of schedule. We didn’t expect to be this good.”
With the win, Central Valley (15-3) waits for an opponent to be determined by a tie-breaker game Tuesday between Ferris (5-15, 5-13 GSL) and University (5-13, 5-13).
The winner of that game will play Mead (7-11, 7-11) on Wednesday for a chance to take on the Bears on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Avista Stadium.
Gonzaga Prep (16-4, 15-3 GSL) will play No. 3 seed Lewis and Clark (12-8, 11-7 GSL) in the late game Thursday at Avista Stadium.
It was the Tigers who appeared to have ended any chance for Central Valley’s league championship after Lewis and Clark swept the Bears last week.
The Bears’ Conner Grytdal then pitched a no-hit complete game against the Bullpups for a 2-1 win Friday at Central Valley to set up the showdown on Monday.
The Bears turned to Connor DeGeest, who hit nearly every spot he wanted and kept the lethal Bullpups’ bats quiet for four innings. He allowed only five hits as his offense racked up 13 runs.
“Oh, my gosh,” DeGeest said. “You win a lot of games when you have 19 hits.”
Leadoff batter Jase Edwards led off the game with a hit off Gonzaga Prep starter Carsten Schmidt. His brother, Thomas Edwards, followed with a bunt single, Kyle Lawson singled and Jeremy Yelland got hit by a pitch to force in the first run.
The next batter, Brayden Hamilton, smashed a bases-loaded double to score three and put the Bears up 4-0.
Later in the inning, Grytdal smashed a grounder to Schmidt that knocked off his glove for a base hit. Braden Page followed with a double to right field to score another run.
Austin Tomlinson then singled to center to score Grytdal and Braden Page, who earlier had doubled, to make it 6-0, which turned out to be all the Bears would need and it ended Schmidt’s night after only one-third of an inning.
With the score 13-0 in the bottom of the fifth, DeGeest was only one out away from the 10-run mercy rule before his defense gave up a series of errors that led to four Gonzaga Prep runs.
“That was a cheap lesson … about getting rid of your tension,” Amend said. “If that was a three-or-four run game, (Gonzaga Prep) would be GSL champions.”
G-Prep added another run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Jack Machtolf single, but the game was already out of reach.
“They played well all around,” Bullpups coach Brian Munhall said of the Bears. “They deserve every bit by putting themselves in this situation. Hopefully, we’ll get another shot at them.”
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