There’s no question that East Valley softball coach Ray Riggin believes he has one of the top teams in the region – regardless of the fact that the Knights finished tied for eighth at 7-13 in the Greater Spokane League.
“We had every team beat at some point during the season,” Riggin said.
The chief reason the Knights were much more competitive than their record indicates is because of sophomore pitcher Tiffany Lucas.
For a second straight year, Lucas led the GSL in strikeouts. She finished the regular season with 181 in 18 games, including two relief appearances. Her record was 7-10.
“Most of the credit goes to her,” Riggin said. “We’re only averaging 4.5 runs per game and we had 58 errors in 20 games. She didn’t have a lot of help behind her.”
EV opens up District 8 3A tournament play today at Whitworth University. EV, the No. 3 seed, takes on No. 4 Shadle Park (7-13) while No. 2 Mt. Spokane (10-10) faces No. 1 North Central (12-8) in the title game on Friday. Both contests are at 5 and serve as seeding games to regionals.
Riggin believes the Knights can make some noise in the postseason.
“With Tiffany you’re always in the game,” he said. “Sometimes our defense fails us or we don’t come up with a timely hit. When we support her we’re as good as anybody else.”
Lucas, who has been tutored by area pitching guru Steve Fountain the last five years, will play for the Tacoma-based Sidewinders this summer.
She’s also considering transferring to another GSL school next year because EV is dropping to 2A.
“I’m disappointed we’re dropping to 2A,” Lucas said. “It’s more competitive in 4A.”
Inland Empire League 5A and 4A teams face off today and Friday at Vollmer Bowl in Lewiston to decide state berths at the Region I meets.
•The Intermountain League schools gather in Timberlake on Friday and Saturday for the 3A District I-II meet.
•Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy is at the 2A Region I meet Friday and Saturday at Kamiah High School, which will also be the site for the 1A Region I meet for North Star League teams.
•The District 8 4A and 3A meets are today and Friday at Spokane Falls Community College. Action begins this afternoon at 3 and at 3:30 on Friday.
•The Freeman and Lakeside boys and girls, all unbeaten in the Northeast A, square off at Lakeside on Friday to determine league championships.