It should have ended with the teams shaking hands, not fists, and with players congratulating their opponents on a well-played, superbly pitched baseball doubleheader.
Instead, an unsightly scrum punctuated College of Southern Idaho’s 3-2, 2-1 sweep of North Idaho on a sunny Friday afternoon.
“Two great games spoiled by a team (CSI) that wanted to fight,” growled Jack Bloxom, who said it was the first time in 30 years as NIC coach that one of his clubs had been in a scrap.
CSI coach Jim Walker, obviously, had a different take.
“It’s like anything when things start to boil, they can boil over,” he said.
The boiling started in the seventh inning of the second game following a wonderful defensive play by CSI shortstop Chris Gillette. With NIC down a run with one out, Mike Dorame had just delivered a pinch-hit single.
Gillette then flagged down a center field-bound grounder off Matt Nelson’s bat to start a game-ending double play. Dorame, who had slid hard into second base, and Southern Idaho’s Larry Panaro were jawing nose-to-nose when Eagles left fielder Chad Schow needlessly tackled Dorame from behind.
Players then streamed onto the field. Apparently no punches were launched before the knot of players was separated, but players shouted across the diamond at each other en route to their respective dugouts.
NJCAA rules mandate one-game suspensions for altercations. Neither Dorame, whom the umpires were going to toss out for his slide, nor Schow will play in today’s noon contest between the teams.
Gillette’s glovework capped a frustrating day for NIC. Shelby Hawkins pitched a five-hitter in the seven-inning opener, but was tagged for a seventh-inning homer by the light-hitting Panaro.
“I asked him if that was the immaculate contact,” Walker joked. Added a CSI assistant coach: “He hasn’t even hit one out in BP (batting practice).”
CSI sophomore Aaron Bond tossed a five-hitter, and his fastball, in the low 90s, led to 14 strikeouts. In the nine-inning second game, NIC starter Marc Pizzoferrato and two relievers held CSI to three runs.
Southern Idaho scored the tie-breaking run in the seventh on James Close’s RBI single. Close had led off the first inning with a long homer to left-center.
NIC had tied the score at 2 on Jason Bay’s run-scoring single in the fifth. Gillette’s nice stop on a grounder got CSI out of a jam in the eighth.
“Hawkins and Pizzoferrato pitched their tails off and our hitters stayed home,” Bloxom said.
NIC dropped to 2-6 in league. CSI is 7-1.
Southern Idaho 2-3, NIC 1-2
S. Idaho 000 010 1 - 2 5 0
N. Idaho 000 001 0 - 1 5 1
Bond and Merritt; Hawkins and Dorame. W - Bond (6-2). L - Hawkins (2-3).
Hits: Southern Idaho - Close, Silvey 2, Gretz, Panaro. North Idaho - Penner, Wilson 2, Bay 2. 2B - Penner. HR - Panaro (1).
S. Idaho 101 000 100 - 3 8 2
N. Idaho 100 010 000 - 2 6 1
Iverson, MacLeod (5), Stelzner (8) and Merritt. Pizzoferrato, Packard (8), Boesch (8). W - MacLeod (4-0). L - Pizzoferrato (2-3). S - Stelzner (2).
Hits: Southern Idaho - Close 3, Gillette, Gretz, Merritt, Schow, Panaro. North Idaho - Penner, Bevacqua, Wilson, Bay 2, Dorame. 2B - Close. HR - Close (5).
University of Idaho women’s basketball coach Julie Holt announced Friday that Kelly Benad of Eugene, Ore., has signed a letter of intent to play for the Vandals next season.
Benad, a 5-foot-11 guard for Shelton High School, was injured most of last season. Despite the aggravating foot injury, Benad grabbed 8.4 rebounds a game. In 1996, she was named the best defensive player for the Midwestern League and was an honorable mention all-league selection twice.
Holt says Benad has good leaping ability and should play some valuable minutes off the bench at the three-spot next season.
Benad, originally from Coeur d’Alene, is the fifth recruit signed by the Vandals.
Tommy Owen of Coeur d’Alene placed fourth in the 95-pound weight class of Greco-Roman wrestling at the Cadet World Team Trials Friday at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
Vern Malinsky of St. Maries placed sixth at 105. Travis Pascoe of Rathdrum was eliminated in the consolation bracket at 152. All three wrestlers will compete today and Sunday in freestyle competition.
The North Idaho Officials Association will induct four men into their hall of fame tonight.
The 1997 class includes Dick Raymond (baseball/softball/basketball), Chuck Maines (football/basketball), Bob McPhail (football) and Mike Keough (volleyball).
They join the 11 officials inducted in the first class last year.
The induction dinner, at the Ponderosa Springs Golf Course in Coeur d’Alene, will begin at 7:30 tonight.
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