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SATURDAY, FEB. 23, 2013, 6:57 A.M.

A summer feeling in February

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The snow was falling gently at our house just after noon yesterday, but it seemed like last summer. There were a couple reasons for that. Read on.

••••••••••

• The first, of course, was because there was a baseball game on the radio. As we said yesterday, even more than the first robin, the broadcast of a major league game is the best indicator of spring – even if this year the games started a week earlier than normal due to the World Baseball Classic. Hence, more than likely, the higher likelihood of snow here in the Inland Northwest while the M's played on a sun-drenched field in Arizona. As the sounds of the game wafted through the air in our house, I was taken back to, I don't know, last July. Not just because the M's were on but mainly because they were down 6-0 before I could blink for goodness sakes. Talk about a buzz kill. Thank you Hector Noesi. Is anyone sure Seattle "won" the Michael-Pineda-for-Jesus-Montero trade? After all, the Yankees threw a poison pill in and it's Noesi. OK, I'll calm down. Acting too much like a fan. Noesi had his ups and downs last season (literally, as he moved between the bigs and the minors) but we should be patient. And, after all, it was just the first game of spring training. The M's getting smoked shouldn't be of any concern, should it?

•••

• Gonzaga: One of the Zags' most important goals for the 2012-13 season is attainable this evening. If GU and coach Mark Few (pictured) can find a way to defeat San Diego tonight, it will have won at least a chunk of the WCC regular season crown, a goal that eluded the Bulldogs last season. Jim Meehan has an advance of tonight's game that never once mentions former GU assistant Billy Grier returning to town. That's so yesterday. ... St. Mary's takes a break from conference play to host Creighton in the last go-round for the BracketBuster. The matchup is fitting for the decade-long ESPN invention, as the Gaels probably need to win to make the NCAA tourney – barring a run through the WCC tournament of course. ... Didn't quite know where to file John Blanchette's column this morning so I put it here.

• Washington State: No brackets to be busted in Tucson this afternoon. All WSU would like to bust is its seven-game losing streak. Christian Caple has an advance of the battle with Arizona along with a morning blog post. ... The Colorado women shut down WSU's offense and won rather handily in Boulder last night. ... It's Saturday so that means the Pac-12 mailbag from ESPN.com.

• EWU: The Eagles are in the BracketBuster tonight as is every team in the Big Sky. Weber State has what might be the most important game against Oral Roberts, though Montana playing Davidson may have some bearing as well.

• Idaho: The Vandals are at Idaho State in their BracketBuster game while Utah State faces Illinois State.

• Chiefs: Spokane posted a crucial home win last night, holding off one of the WHL's best, Edmonton, 6-4. Chris Derrick has the story and a blog post. ... Dan Pelle was also at the Arena and has this picture story. ... The win keeps the Chiefs in fifth place, one point behind Tri-City, which also won last night. As did Portland. Now that's a surprise.

• Preps: The girls of Washington took over last night, with every classification playing eight winner-to-state games. We were at U-Hi for the Titans' thrilling, come-from-behind 55-52 overtime victory (pictured), which sent them to Tacoma for next weekend's 3A tourney. ... So was Colin Mulvany, who has this picture story. ... Greg Lee covered Mead's easy win in Wenatchee. The Panthers will be joined in the 4A tournament by Gonzaga Prep, which went across the mountains for a win that assured it of another trip across the mountains. ... We also have stories on the 2A qualifiers and the 1B and 2B games. ... Idaho's state wrestling tournaments are going on and we have this roundup.

• Mariners: Besides the 9-3 loss to San Diego, which really is immaterial in the grand scheme of things, we can pass along a heartwarming feature and a couple of items concerning the new radio voice. That is all.

• Seahawks: Pete Carroll just wants to keep on keeping on and he just might want to keep Matt Flynn. ... Seattle may not use free agency to get a pass rusher.

• Sounders: Seattle played an exhibition match with a Mexican team and it ended 0-0. But there were some good things to come out of it, according to coach Sigi Schmid, who had a lot to say about everything, including the roster.

•••

• We have some personal matters to attend to this morning then we'll be up north this evening to cover the 2B winners-to-state boys games at Mt. Spokane. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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