Ferris baseball coach Jim Sharkey contended before the season began that there were six teams capable of challenging for the Greater Spokane League championship.
Now that his Saxons have swept preseason favorite Central Valley, Sharkey hasn’t changed his mind.
Ferris, behind splendid relief pitching from senior right-hander Derek Peterson, stopped the reeling Bears 6-3 on a gorgeous Tuesday afternoon at CV.
“There are six quality teams at the top and actually some of the other teams are capable of beating anybody on any day,” Sharkey said. “You’ve got to show up. There’s nobody that’s real dominant, but there are a number of quality teams.”
League-leading Mt. Spokane (13-1) has a two-game lead over CV (11-3), which has byes on Thursday and Friday. Ferris (8-6) remains in the hunt for a district playoff berth and is angling to avoid the first-round loser-out game.
The Saxons took a 3-0 lead in the third. Ben Goodwin had a two-run double and scored the third run when he stole third and advanced home on a throwing error.
CV didn’t waste any time knotting the score at 3 in the bottom of the inning. Stefano Pau had a run-scoring double and Joe Arlt followed with a two-run double.
Ferris took the lead for good in the fourth on Beau Bozett’s RBI double on a 0-2 pitch. Saxons Jason Renner and Keller Ewing added solo homers in the sixth and seventh, respectively.
Peterson, normally the Saxons’ Tuesday starter, had five strikeouts in 31/3 innings of relief for starter Spencer Ansett (3-3). He worked out of jams in the sixth and seventh.
“He’s struggled this year except for his first outing, but he has a lively arm and a great fastball,” Sharkey said. “He was great today. That’s the Derek that we want.”
“We’re playing really good baseball right now, but we’ve got to come out and play every day,” Peterson said. “I thought we put together two really good games (against CV) and we’re hustling. We’re playing the game the right way right now. We’re hitting the ball a lot better than we were at the start of the year. Everyone has a new attitude and we’re practicing harder.”
The byes couldn’t come at a better time for the Bears, coach Barry Poffenroth said. He saw the recent decline at the plate coming last week.
“We got off to such a good start (this season), and against good teams you can’t afford to not take advantage of what they give you,” Poffenroth said. “We had way too many guys left on base and not enough clutch hitting.”
Mt. Spokane 12, East Valley 2: The Wildcats (13-1) stopped the visiting Knights (3-8) in a run-rule shortened game.
Nate Blackham went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Spencer Mallonee had five RBIs and three runs to lead the Wildcats. Pitcher Stevie Turningrobe allowed only six base runners in four innings.
University 6, North Central 5: Jon Rapose drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to provide the winning run for the Titans (8-4) at U-Hi.
Justin Liu opened the seventh with a double before NC (2-10) allowed four consecutive walks.
Thomas Wakem had a two-run homer in the sixth for U-Hi. Jordan Wertman led NC with two hits and two RBIs.
Mead 14, Gonzaga Prep 4: The hot hitting continued for the visiting Panthers (8-3).
League-leading hitter Jake Schrader went 3 for 4 with four RBIs to lead Mead. Teammate Paul Miller was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs and Kramer Kembel had a three-run homer in the fifth.
Jordan McInnis went 3 for 3 to lead G-Prep (2-10).
Rogers 14, Shadle Park 13 (8): Jimmy Wasem went 4 for 4 and scored four runs and Karl Fencl went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including the winner, as the Pirates scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to hold off the visiting Highlanders.