The District 8 4A baseball championship game had more drama than it needed – some of it provided by those not wearing gloves on the field – but the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups managed to overcome adversity when it counted most.
Zach Bonneau lifted a line drive to left field that was misjudged because of the setting sun at Avista Stadium, bringing in the go-ahead run as G-Prep knocked off the Mead Panthers 6-4 in nine innings to secure the Greater Spokane League’s top seed to the subregional.
The Bullpups (18-5) will play Tuesday at home, facing the winner of the Ferris (15-6)/Columbia Basin Big Nine No. 2 seed game. The first game begins at 1 p.m., before G-Prep takes on the winner at 4.
Mead (17-6) travels to the CBBN No. 1 site to take on the CBBN No. 3 seed, either Davis or Walla Walla, on Tuesday. Davis and Walla Walla play today. The top two CBBN seeds will be decided today when Richland and Wenatchee play.
The Panthers had two runners on with one out in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan McGowan appeared to hit a ball foul outside the bag at third base. But the home-plate umpire, slow in moving out to line himself up with the foul line, ruled the ball fair, allowing Tucker Hoch to tie the score at 4.
Bonneau, G-Prep’s catcher, thought the ball was 2 feet foul.
Mead coach Jason Reich, standing in the coach’s box near third, thought the ball was 4 feet foul.
G-Prep starting pitcher Wyatt Mills, who worked out of jam after jam all game, got out of the situation when second baseman Kane Ulrich snagged a line drive and then beat a Panther who had strayed too far off first base to the bag for a double play to end Mead’s rally, forcing extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, G-Prep survived some more drama. It appeared the inning ended when Bonneau threw out a Panther trying to steal second. But the umpire ruled ball four, putting runners at first and second.
Moments later, Bonneau framed a pitch on the outside corner and held the ball for a couple of extra seconds. G-Prep coach Brian Munhall, from the dirt in front of the dugout, yelled at Bonneau to throw the ball back to the pitcher. But the umpire threw Munhall out, apparently assuming he was protesting his call.
As Munhall was walking out of the stadium, Brandon Costello hit a looper toward center field that Ulrich dove to catch for the final out, stranding the potential winning run at second base.
In the top of the ninth, G-Prep’s first two batters reached on walks, bringing up Bonneau. He knew Mead pitcher Nick Sagendorf well from catching him in summer ball.
“I know what he does at 0-2, 2-0, any count,” Bonneau said. “I figured I was going to get a fastball in the zone. I just stayed with it and drove it to left field. I can’t even tell you the last time Prep won a district title.”
“(Mills) has been one of our guys all year and we trust our defense,” Munhall said. “You can’t ask for a better outing out of our pitchers.”
By rule, Munhall will have to sit out G-Prep’s subregional opener for being ejected.
It was a game of missed opportunities for Mead. The Panthers opened the game with three straight hits but managed just one run in the first.
“They made the most of every opportunity they had and we didn’t,” Reich said.
District 8 3A
Mt. Spokane 2-4, University 1-3: The Wildcats’ Brandon Goehring came up big in both games as Mt. Spokane (16-6) swept the Titans (9-14) at Gonzaga Prep.
Goehring hit a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth and was driven in on Nate Spurbeck’s single as the Wildcats won the opener in eight innings.
Drew Rasmussen relieved Mt. Spokane starter Garrett Hoffnagle in the sixth inning and pitched three scoreless innings.
In the nightcap, Goehring hit a game-tying two-run single in the seventh and scored the winning run on Tucker Sanford’s sacrifice fly to give the Wildcats the sweep.
Goehring picked up the win.
Mt. Spokane plays at home at 4 p.m. Tuesday against a Columbia Basin Big Nine opponent to be determined.
University will play at a CBBN team in a loser-out game at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
District 7 1A
Newport 2, Freeman 1: Travis Martin scored in the top of the seventh and the Grizzlies (8-9) held on to beat the Scotties (9-10) at West Valley.
Spencer Douglas pitched the complete game for Newport, giving up a run on four hits and striking out 10. The Grizzlies play at top-seeded Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls at 10 a.m. today.
The Scotties’ season is over.