There’s usually something on the line when Mead and University collide on the softball field.
That will be the case again when the teams meet at Mead today at 4 p.m., weather permitting. Mead, last year’s Greater Spokane League regular-season champion, and U-Hi, last year’s district champion, are off to 2-0 league starts.
The 3A Mt. Spokane Wildcats also are 2-0 in the GSL.
“We’ve got some good rivalries with a couple of teams,” U-Hi coach Jon Schuh said. “The obvious one is Central Valley, and Mead, and we had some good battles with (former coach) George Lynn and Shadle Park. Mead is always a playoff atmosphere anytime we play them.”
The Panthers and Titans will get an early gauge on the GSL 4A race today.
“Jon always has his girls ready,” Mead coach John Barrington said. “I wouldn’t call it a heated rivalry because we really respect their program. We’ve had a lot of close games.”
Weather a factor
The first time U-Hi played on dirt this spring was in its season opener at Moses Lake on March 12. The Titans have played four games, but they’ve only been able to use their varsity field three times, and one of those was for a home game against Shadle Park.
“I always go to bed with the weather and I always wake up with it,” Schuh said. “The first thing I do is turn on the TV to see what the forecast is.”
Schuh, along with most spring-sports coaches in the Inland Northwest, wonders what Mother Nature has in store for their practices and/or games.
“It’s just ridiculous, but what do you do?” Mead’s Barrington said. “I used to like taking care of the field, but it’s been a lot of Diamond Dry, a lot of raking, a lot mud so far.”
Schuh said U-Hi’s field early on “was never dry enough for us to get on it. I’m sure a few other coaches are doing the same thing I do. I come on the weekends, three hours after practice Saturday and typically on Sunday, weather permitting, to try to get the field ready for the upcoming week. It was beautiful on Sunday.”
It’s early, but several teams and players are off to impressive starts.
• Lake City, the preseason favorite in the 5A Inland Empire League, is 4-0 and has yet to give up a run. Sophomore pitcher Casey Stangel has tossed two five-inning shutouts and two seven-inning shutouts. She’s allowed six hits as LC has won four games by a combined score of 30-0, including a 7-0 victory over rival Coeur d’Alene.
• The Lakeside Eagles opened with a 10-0 win over North Central. Junior pitcher Vanessa Ahrendt gave up just two hits and struck out five. She also went 2 for 3 with a double, triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Junior catcher Savannah Rolston was 2 for 3 with a solo homer and two RBIs.
• Junior pitcher Katelyn Bauman is 3-0 for Mt. Spokane. She threw a shutout against East Valley and combined with Jessica Reed, who entered in the fifth inning, to blank Rogers in a run-rule shortened contest. Sam Mendez and M’Liss Powles homered in the Wildcats’ 6-4 win over Ferris.
• West Valley pitcher Kelli Peckham yielded just one run in victories over Colville, Cheney and Pullman.
• Kirstin Egerton had 11 hits in three Deer Park wins last week.