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Lake City's Casey Stangel, who has verbally committed to Missouri, broke the school record of 16 strikeouts she set earlier this season. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman Review)

Lake City’s Stangel zeroes out softball opponents

Thirty-eight innings, 38 zeroes for Lake City High softball opponents.

The Timberwolves have opened the season with six straight shutouts authored by sophomore pitcher Casey Stangel, including wins over Inland Empire League 5A rivals Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls last week. She limited Coeur d’Alene to two hits and then struck out 17 in the win over the Trojans despite dealing with an upset stomach.

“She was ill and she was throwing up all day,” LC coach Laura Tolzmann said. “I was talking to her that I’ve seen some of the best athletes have their best games when they’re not feeling well. She came out and threw really well.”

Stangel, who has verbally committed to Missouri, broke the school record of 16 strikeouts she set earlier this season. The scoreless streak is a source of pride for the Timberwolves.

“It’s pretty cool, pretty fun,” Tolzmann said. “We have a real determined group.”

Stangel, outstanding as a freshman, is noticeably better this season.

“From the day the high school season ends, she’s playing all summer and fall,” Tolzmann said. “She’s one of those kids that lives to work out and wants to get better.”

Tolzmann noted also that LC has played solid defense. Base-runners are rare with the limited number of hits and/or walks yielded by Stangel.

“There’s only been a couple of runners get to third,” Tolzmann said. “Otherwise no real threats yet.”

The Timberwolves (6-0, 3-0 IEL) will face a stern test when they visit Lewiston for a doubleheader Saturday. The Bengals (3-1 IEL) have scored 34 runs in four conference games and routed Pullman 24-0.

In IEL 4A, Lakeland got off to a good start with a 6-4, 9-7 sweep over Moscow. Kristin Klopatek was the winning pitcher in both games and also slugged a three-run homer. The Hawks scored four runs in the sixth inning of the first game and six in the seventh of the nightcap.

Center fielder Bekah Kastning made a game-saving catch before tumbling over the fence to end the second game.

GSL back at it

The Greater Spokane League is coming off spring break and the schedule gets interesting in a hurry, particularly for University, Mt. Spokane and Central Valley.

Those three are in a second-place logjam at 4-1 behind league-leading Mead (5-0).

U-Hi visits Mt. Spokane today and entertains Central Valley on Thursday. Central Valley entertains Mt. Spokane on Friday. Mead has games against Gonzaga Prep, Rogers and Lewis and Clark, three teams with two combined GSL victories.

“We return 10 or 11 with varsity experience,” Mt. Spokane coach Carl Adams said. “Our leadership has been good. Our seniors have been there before. For myself, I find it’s more review, not as much starting fresh.”

The GSL consists of six 4A schools and four 3As (Mt. Spokane, U-Hi, North Central and Shadle Park). U-Hi moved from 4A to 3A this year.

“When we’re playing another 3A team it’s a big game,” said Adams, whose 2010 squad made the second trip to state in school history. “But in the overall picture we want to do well in league and in every game we play.”

Eagles take charge

West Valley has built a three-game lead in the Great Northern League after another spotless week. The Eagles (8-0 GNL) handled Deer Park 15-0 and East Valley 11-0 and 10-0. West Valley (9-0) has scored 105 runs while allowing just three.

Brooklyn Robinson was 6 of 8 at the plate against East Valley and also had two hits against Deer Park. Cassie Finn homered against the Stags. She has 18 RBIs in eight league games. Pitcher Kelli Peckham picked up two more wins. She has 54 strikeouts, though only one of West Valley’s GNL games has gone seven innings because of the run rule.

West Valley visits Clarkston today and Cheney for a doubleheader Saturday. Both teams trail the Eagles by three games in the loss column.

“When this is all over, I think it’s going to be Cheney and East Valley as the next two, but Clarkston will be right there as well,” Eagles coach Paul Cooley said.