Shadle Park used a four-run fifth inning to break open a tight game and earn a hard-fought 6-3 victory Thursday over visiting Mt. Spokane.
Matt Pulliam pitched for the Wildcats (5-3, 4-2 GSL) two days after he hit a two-run, go-ahead single to rally Mt. Spokane past Shadle Park on Tuesday and hand the Highlanders their only loss. But Shadle (7-1, 5-1) took their revenge Thursday when their bats came alive late to give Pulliam the loss.
“I think in the league, there is a lot of parity,” Shadle Park coach Ron Brooks said of the Greater Spokane League. “You take a ‘W’ any time you can get it.”
Shadle catcher Brett Rypien started the scoring in the bottom of the third inning when he hit a single to right field that he tried to stretch into a double. He was tagged out, but Evan Douglas scored to give the Highlanders the lead.
In the top of the fourth, Mt. Spokane’s Conner Cantu hit a stand-up double off Highlanders starter Johnny Krupla. After Cantu advanced to third, Jake Leavey hit a grounder to Krupla, who gunned it to Rypien at the plate. But Rypien dropped the ball and Cantu scored to tie the game. Justin Fitzpatrick then scored Leavey to give Mt. Spokane a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Pulliam walked Payton Macklin before Jahden Nguyen reached on an error. Rypien followed with a groundout that scored Macklin to tie the game.
Logan Kurucz hit a single to score Nguyen and then Krupla came to bat after he had been pulled as pitcher. He smashed a line drive to the left-center wall to give the Highlanders what ended up the winning run.
“It’s nice to see (Krupla) come back on the offensive end,” Brooks said. “He had that clutch hit for us. We had some timely hits. It definitely helped.”
Shadle Park’s Dalen Hainline hit a single to score Tanner Pauly and the Highlanders ended the fifth inning leading 5-2.
After Shadle tacked on a run in the sixth, Mt. Spokane appeared headed for another late-game rally when it had runners on first and second, but Cooper Smith hit into a double play. Leavey then hit a grounder that was misplayed, scoring Drew Rasmussen to make it 6-3.
But Brooks sent in Dylan Greenwald to relieve Will Lyle and Greenwald got a strikeout to end the Mt. Spokane threat.
“We never got it going offensively,” Wildcats’ coach Alex Schuerman said. “It’s a frustrating one to lose.”