Ferris senior left-handed pitcher Spencer Ansett said he didn’t sleep well Thursday night.
Then when Ansett took the mound Friday under the lights at Avista Stadium in the District 8 4A championship game, he felt just a smidge amped up.
That would explain the walk to the leadoff batter. What it doesn’t explain, though, is how he settled down to throw a no-hitter as the Saxons handled the Mead Panthers 10-0 in five innings.
“It was a mix of being too careful and I was a little nervous,” Ansett said of the walk that kept him from a perfect game. “I had jitters out there. When you throw hard you leave the ball up because of the adrenaline.”
After that, though, Ansett mowed down the Panthers, retiring the next 15 batters he faced and striking out eight. He had just 67 pitches.
“He controlled in and out,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “We had a good scouting report and I thought he and (Ryan) Krustangel (catcher) worked really well together, especially against the top of their order where it’s pretty potent.”
Ferris (18-2) plays host to two regional games Tuesday. Gonzaga Prep (15-8) takes on the still-to-be-determined Columbia Basin Big Nine second seed in the opener at Ferris at 1 with the winner facing Ferris at 4.
In the other regional games on Tuesday, Mead (12-9) goes to the Tri-Cities where it will face the CBBN No. 3 seed at 1 with that winner meeting the CBBN No. 1 at 4.
The regional concludes Saturday at Ferris. The top three teams advance to state.
Gonzaga Prep earned a regional berth with a 6-0 win over Central Valley.
Ferris 10, Mead 0: Panthers coach Jason Reich could only tip his cap to Ansett (8-0).
“We knew we were in for a war and he was on his game,” Reich said. “We’ve seen him three times and that was by far the best performance he’s had against us. It was up and down and up and down. That kid is a competitor, and he works fast and he gets ahead and mixes it up real well.”
With Ansett throwing up a lot of zeros, his teammates did the job at the plate. Senior Ben Pelle, the team’s No. 9 batter, had two hits and an RBI, Ben Goodwin had a hit and two RBIs and Krustangel crushed a ball over the left-center fence for a two-run homer, his fifth.
Ferris went into the bottom of the fifth needing just a run to end the game early. Freshman Alex Jondal reached on a single and senior Cody Sorensen got a walk. But then the next two Saxons popped out. Beau Bozett then walked to load the bases.
With Goodwin at the plate, a ball got past the Mead catcher and Ryan Fitzpatrick, pinch running for Jondal, scored the winning run.
Sharkey plans to start Ansett on Tuesday.
“The guys were joking ‘We’re going to ride your arm until we crash’,” Ansett said. “This is the first step. We’re still searching for something more than a district championship. It’s a good step forward.”
The Panthers also are excited about regionals.
“The good thing is, as I was telling the guys, it’s happy days,” Reich said. “We’re still playing. That’s the thing in the playoffs, sometimes you lose and you feel like your season should be over but it’s not. We’re going to take on Tuesday’s challenge and do whatever we need to do to scrap out a win and try to move on a little bit further.”
Gonzaga Prep 6, Central Valley 0: Senior Conner Slater hadn’t started once on the mound all season.
Slater pitched fast and effective, limiting the Bears (8-13) to three hits.
Slater didn’t know why he got the ball.
“It really beats me but I’m really happy I did I can tell you that much,” Slater said. “I felt really good. I came out and threw strikes.”
And that’s why G-Prep coach Brian Munhall started Slater.
“The one thing he has been in one of our better strike throwers and he can get two pitches over consistently,” Munhall said. “At this point we wanted someone we could count on and trust our defense with. We didn’t want to get in trouble with walks. We wanted to see if they could hit it at us and make plays and that’s exactly what happened.”
The young Bullpups reached their season-long goal – qualify for regionals.
Freshman Steve Machtolf had two hits and two RBIs to lead G-Prep.