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Lakeside unbeaten leader of NEA

Lakeside and head coach Chuck Moffatt are right where they want to be.

The Eagles went 4-0 last week to remain unbeaten entering the final week of the regular season. Lakeside (15-0, 11-0 Northeast A) visits second-place Colville (10-1) for a key doubleheader Saturday. The Eagles are trying to earn their fifth straight NEA title. Colville, a traditional 2A power, is in its first year in the 1A league.

Moffatt is back on the bench after missing a week with vertigo. He stayed behind when Lakeside traveled to western Washington for a couple of games, including a win over Redmond at the University of Washington’s Husky Softball Stadium.

“It was heart-breaking,” Moffatt said, “but I kept getting texts from parents and everybody in the stands so that was pretty cool.”

Moffatt is slowly easing his way back into hitting infield and outfield. His reaction time hasn’t completely returned so assistant coach Matt Sturm, who helped run the team in Moffatt’s absence, is handling the third-base coaching box. Moffatt said it boosted his recovery when he heard the players missed him.

“They were like, ‘C’mon Moff, you need to get back out here,’ ” he said. “It does help prod you along.”

The Eagles’ last six wins have been by double-digit margins. They defeated Colville 5-4 in Moffatt’s first game back two weeks ago.

Pitcher Vanessa Ahrendt is 11-0 and leads the team with a batting average hovering around .600. Nikki Tiffany is 4-0. Shortstop Michaela Brittos spearheads the defense and bats in the No. 2 spot. Third baseman Kayla Sevier had a team-high three homers, including one at Husky Stadium. Speedy lead-off hitter Lauren Gerty has an on-base percentage above .450.

“We have five seniors and a lot of experience,” Moffatt said. “The pitchers go to all the different pitching coaches in the area. A bunch of these kids have been playing since they were 10 or 11. They have a very high softball IQ.”

Titans closing in

With four games remaining, University (13-1) needs one win to clinch a share of the Greater Spokane League title and two for an outright championship. The Titans have a three-game edge over Mt. Spokane, Shadle Park and Mead.

U-Hi, which entertains Mt. Spokane today, is coming off a three-win week. The Titans edged Mead 1-0 in eight innings, then drubbed Lewis and Clark 18-0 and Gonzaga Prep 14-0. Devynne Johnson pitched 13 scoreless innings to lower her GSL-leading ERA to 1.22. Brittany Hecker tossed five shutout innings, dropping her ERA to 1.70. Andrea Fitzsimmons hit two homers and Breann Warren also homered against Gonzaga Prep.

“This is a big week for us with Mt. Spokane and a rivalry game versus Central Valley (Thursday) and Ferris (Friday),” Titans coach Jon Schuh said. “I expect to see everyone getting into playoff-atmosphere mode as races tighten up.”

Notable efforts

Casey Stangel (15-0) matched her school record with 17 strikeouts in the first game and she swatted a two-run homer, her sixth this season, in the second game of Lake City’s sweep of Moscow. Vanessa Shippy had five hits, five runs and five RBIs in the two wins. … Chelsey Rasmussen delivered a two-run single and Lindsie Scholwinski earned her seventh win as Coeur d’Alene salvaged a split with Lewiston. Shaundee Garrett’s two-run homer powered a six-run eighth as Lewiston won the opener. … Halee Edelblute had six hits and drove in nine runs, helping Intermountain League-leading Timberlake (8-0) sweep Bonners Ferry. Nicole Cameron (11-5) struck out 16 batters and picked up two wins. … Mead rebounded from its loss to U-Hi with a 5-3 win over Ferris and 2-1 victory over North Central. Jessica Ellis had a double, triple and two RBIs against the Saxons. She also made a great catch to rob Erika Santarossa of a potential game-tying homer in the bottom of the seventh. Alisha Meade (6-3) limited North Central to one run on seven hits. …Shadle Park, winners of eight of its last nine, outscored opponents 36-1 last week while going 4-0. The Highlanders edged Mt. Spokane 1-0 on Tiffany Lucas’ two-hitter.