Winning the Greater Spokane League slowpitch softball title is becoming old hat at University High.
So it’s a good thing the winning part never gets old for head coach Jon Schuh and his Titans, who defeated the rival Central Valley Bears 6-2 on Thursday for their sixth GSL playoff title since the valley schools joined the league seven years ago.
“I pretty much want to beat you in a game of checkers,” Schuh said of his competitiveness. “Winning isn’t something you get tired of.”
Schuh, also the head coach for fastpitch softball at U-Hi, guided the Titans (18-0) to another undefeated season. In their seven years in the league, the Titans have lost a total of six games.
Also impressive have been the Bears (15-3), who have gone against the Titans in the championship game the past six years.
“(Slowpitch) is definitely more laid back (than spring fastpitch), but winning is still important – and when I say that I mean that it means a lot to the girls, too,” Schuh said. “They always want to win.
“The thing is, my coaching philosophy between the two sports doesn’t change. It’s not like I grab the slowpitch DVD and say, ‘OK, this is how to be laid back about this.’ I get a kick out of hearing people say it messes your swing up, too.
“I think we’ve shown we’re doing all right on that end of things.”
Both teams certainly were on Thursday.
The Bears and the Titans each came up with 12 hits, but it was U-Hi that was able to put a few more runs together – beginning with a two-out score in the first.
U-Hi pitcher Lexi Ivankovich finished with a pair of hits – a single and a triple – and Karly Schuh and Taylor Morales also contributed two hits apiece for the Titans.
“It’s definitely a hitter’s game – which is the best part about slowpitch, in my opinion,” said U-Hi catcher Hannah Wesselman, who had a hit for the Titans.
“It’s different in the sense that you don’t manufacture runs by stealing bases or anything like that,” Schuh said. “For us the key was we made the plays we needed to on defense.”
U-Hi outscored opponents 240-56 this season, which averages out to a little more than a 10-run margin per game.
The Bears came the closest to putting a blemish on U-Hi’s record in a 6-5 loss on Sept. 24.