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University tops Mead in eighth inning in GSL softball

University High’s Andrea Fitzsimmons made a deal with teammate Jordan Schmerer in the top of the eighth inning in a scoreless softball duel with Mead.

“She plays center and I play left and we were going out to the outfield and I said, ‘OK, we got this. We’re going to hold them.’ I told her, ‘You get on, I get on.’ ”

Fitzsimmons kept her word. The senior doubled to center field and Schmerer raced home with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth as the Titans defeated the visiting Panthers 1-0 on Wednesday. University (11-1 GSL) avenged an earlier loss to Mead (8-4). Second-place Mt. Spokane (9-3) remained two games behind U-Hi with a 6-1 victory over North Central.

Schmerer singled to open the eighth. With one out, Fitzsimmons hit a high drive that forced Mead’s Ashlynn Bocook to turn her back toward home plate and take off running. Schmerer had to hold up for a few seconds to make sure the ball wasn’t going to be caught. She barely beat the relay throw with a nifty slide.

“I was thinking about holding her up, but (Fitzsimmons) was literally right behind her,” said U-Hi head coach Jon Schuh, who waved Schmerer home from the third-base coaching box. “They had to make a great relay throw and if they did throw her out, I still would have had a runner at third.”

Shutouts aren’t uncommon in the GSL, but an extra-inning 1-0 outcome is rare over the last few seasons.

“Especially with the scores this year,” Mead coach John Barrington said. “I’m looking at the scoreboard and it’s 0-0 in the seventh and I’m like, ‘This is a joke, right?’ It’s been 15-10s and all that crazy stuff. The defense was incredible and the pitching was really solid.”

U-Hi’s Devynne Johnson and Mead’s Alisha Meade escaped a couple of jams to keep it scoreless through seven innings. The Titans had runners at second and third with nobody out in the second but failed to score. Mead had the same base-running situation with one out in the fourth, but Johnson got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.

“I didn’t think Devynne had her best stuff, but she battled,” Schuh said. “That was a playoff atmosphere game, which is good for both teams.”