With the Greater Spokane League baseball season winding down, the University Titans have a 3A playoff berth on their minds.
Thursday’s game against Central Valley loomed largely in the scheme, and pitcher Austin Sturgis came through in U-Hi’s important 2-0 victory.
“We always liked beating our rivals, naturally, but it was really big because we’ve been on a skid,” coach Scott Sutherland said afterward. “We haven’t been playing well and NC’s catching us. We were only a game ahead.”
The Titans (7-8) scratched out the necessary runs, parlaying four walks and an infield grounder into a third-inning score. Batting eighth, Almira/Coulee-Hartline transfer Colin Deyarmin singled home insurance in the sixth.
“I came from (Class) 1B, so my timing’s been a little off,” Deyarmin said. “I was just trying to get it into the outfield somewhere and give Sturg a little comfort on the mound.”
Sturgis has been U-Hi’s season-long ace, allowing just six runs in 38 innings despite a 4-3 record.
He was sharp in this one earning his second shutout. He gave up four hits, didn’t give up a walk and had four assists, including all three in the fifth inning.
“I told him he set a world record held by thousands,” Sutherland joked. “That was one of the best senior pitching efforts we’ve had against our archrival. I don’t remember a more dominant effort.”
Sturgis kept CV’s leading hitter, Ryan Leone, hitless and off the bases, and only allowed runners in the second, third and fourth innings – giving up two singles over that span – and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
CV starter Jacob Hochberg walked five and hit a batter in the first three innings, but the Titans whiffed on an opportunity to do serious damage in the third.
They had multiple runners on base in the third through sixth innings but stranded eight runners.
Coupled with a 13-1 loss to Ferris by North Central (5-10), U-Hi has a two-game lead with three left to play, including at home against the Bears (4-11) today.
“Hopefully, we can us this and give us a little jump start,” Deyarmin said. “Our pitching’s been great so far this year. Austin pitched a (great) game today.”
First-place Mead (13-2) defeated Rogers, with victorious Gonzaga Prep (12-3) and Ferris (11-4) in pursuit among the league’s 4A teams.