The baseball gods, according to Gonzaga Prep coach Brian Munhall, smiled upon the Bullpups.
One inning was all it took for his team to knot the District 8 4A playoffs Thursday with a 2-0 victory over Mead at Avista Stadium, forcing a decisive third game to determine the champion.
In two days each team has scored five runs while trading a pair of two-run victories. The game to decide who stays home and who must travel in next week’s 4A subregional against teams from the Columbia Basin Big Nine is at 4 p.m. today at Avista.
In the earlier game on a drizzly day, Ferris swept its series and claimed the third subregional berth with a five-inning 13-2 win over Central Valley.
Gonzaga Prep senior pitcher David Machtolf threw a gem at the Panthers (17-5), and Mead sophomore Zac Regal wasn’t far behind.
Through 4 1/2 innings, each allowed but a single hit, and Mead had just three base runners, the Bullpups (17-5) four.
But Regel blinked in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, G-Prep No. 9 hitter Chris Szambelan blooped a single. After getting the second out, Regel hit Jack Slater, opening the door for the game’s two runs.
Anthony Gosline singled home the first run and a wild pitch scored Slater with the second.
“We thought we were taking good swings the whole game, but weren’t getting anything to drop,” Munhall said. “It wasn’t (a hit) we smashed, but eventually you’re going to catch a break.”
A look at the scoreboard was indication of the way both Machtolf and Regel pitched. Regel allowed three hits, two in the fateful fifth inning. He walked five along with the HBP.
Machtolf, who said it was one of the best games he’s thrown this year, gave up two hits and faced just three batters over the minimum 21 outs. He struck out seven and walked one.
Machtolf said his goal was “to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters, just like we did.”
Ferris 13, Central Valley 2: The Saxons (15-6) completed a series sweep with their five-inning victory.
The batting heroes were Taylor Jones and Ben Goodwin. Jones drove in three runs in the first two innings with a single and double.
He added another RBI double in the fourth and walked and scored in the fifth.
Goodwin’s bases-loaded double scored three runners to key a six-run fifth inning that ended the game early.
The Bears (6-14) hurt themselves with four errors that resulted in five unearned runs in the first two innings.
Ferris is the Greater Spokane League’s third seed to subregionals and Tuesday plays at home in a loser-out game.