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Titans fend off Wildcats

It wasn’t the first thing Jon Schuh thought about after his University Titans clinched the 3A berth from the Greater Spokane League directly into the regional tournament by holding off a late rally from Mt. Spokane for an 8-6 victory.

As far as Schuh and the 14-1 Titans are concerned, the battle is for the overall GSL title – something they can clinch Thursday at home against archrival Central Valley, the only team to have beaten U-Hi this season.

“We still have a lot of games to play,” Schuh said. “And we still have some things we need to work on.”

For her part, junior pitcher Brittany Hecker just tries to focus on each batter and not worry about the big picture.

“I try to not think about things like that,” she said after earning her 12th win in 13 decisions. “I really try to focus on each team we play and each batter I face. Today the umpire was giving me some spots on the outside corner and on the inside corner and I just tried to focus in on using what he was giving me.”

On a chilly afternoon at Mt. Spokane, Hecker was in command through six innings, striking out four and surrendering just a pair of hits to take an 8-1 lead into the Wildcats’ last at-bat.

“I was able to hit my spots early,” she said. “I have a lot of confidence in my defense, so I don’t ever think I need to strike everyone out. My teammates play great defense and I have confidence that they will make good plays.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Mt. Spokane banged out seven hits, including a two-run double down the left-field line by Abby Ricco. The Wildcats had two runners on base, the tying run at first and the go-ahead run at the plate when Hecker got Markee Jackson to hit a line drive at first baseman Hailey Wesselman to end the game.

“That’s the one thing this team needs to learn: They have to learn how to put a team away,” Schuh said. “Look, when you have a team on the ropes, you have to know how to cut the rope.”

Schuh said part of the problem is a lack of practice time. With postponed games backing up, the Titans will play Ferris on Friday and North Central on Monday to close out the regular season.

“I know everyone has the same problem, but it would be really nice to be able to actually put in some practice time,” he said.