For the second consecutive year, the Community Colleges of Spokane will be part of the NWAACC postseason baseball tournament, though it took the Sasquatch 11 innings to accomplish the feat.
CCS opened the East Region playoffs last Friday with a hard-fought 3-1 loss to Big Bend, setting the tone for a weekend of low-scoring games.
Facing elimination in the day’s second game, the Sasquatch turned to sophomore Nigel Goodwin (3-4). He delivered eight shutout innings and CCS stopped Treasure Valley 5-2.
That set up Saturday’s rematch with Big Bend, with the winner earning a berth in the NWAACC Championships, and the loser headed home.
And that’s what took 11 innings. CCS collected 10 hits, double Big Bend’s total. Starter Jason Bartlett threw eight shutout innings. Reliever Bobby Barcus tossed blanks over the final three.
And, when Ryne Webb scored from third on Jesse Sizemore’s slow roller up the first base line, the Sasquatch were in the NWAACCs once again.
The excellent pitching continued in the region’s title game, where Columbia Basin College scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth for a 1-0 victory.
CCS starter Cody Harmon threw a complete game, yielding just four hits to CBC, the East Region regular-season champion. CBC’s Elliot Cribby was just a bit better, giving up just three hits, one of which was a double to Nolan Massie.
Massie was stranded, however, when CBC’s Jesse Roehl made a diving catch of Cory Rickard’s drive with two outs.
The Sasquatch (24-20) open NWAACC play Thursday afternoon at 4:30 at Tri-Cities Stadium in Pasco against one of the tournament favorites, Edmonds, which won the North Region and posted a 36-7 overall record.
It was a wacky way to end an up-and-down season.
The Bulldogs concluded the 2004 schedule last weekend with three rainouts, the final decision being made before Saturday’s second game of a three-game series with Loyola Marymount at Avista was even scheduled to start.
After being dumped on by Mother Nature on Friday, and with the forecast calling for more rain on Saturday and possibly Sunday, the Lions and GU agreed to cancel the three-game series. LMU (32-20-1 overall, 20-7 in WCC Coast Division play) headed back to Los Angeles to get ready for the West Coast Conference championship series with Pepperdine (26-30 overall, 19-11 in the West Division).
The rain not only cost the Zags (24-27 and 16-11) a chance at a .500 season, it cost nine seniors their last home game and the lauds and laurels that go with it. It also cost catcher Kiel Thibault, a Johnny Bench Award semifinalist, a chance at the school’s single-season hit and batting average marks.
As it was, Thibault finished the year with a .424 average, fifth-highest in WCC history. His 87 hits led the WCC and were only four short of the school record, set by Larry Patterson in 1977.
The Cougars (27-25, 7-14) will end their season this weekend by hosting California (24-29 overall, 8-13 in the Pac-10) with a few goals still to be met.
If WSU can take two games of the three-game series, it will assure itself of a better-than-.500 record for the first time since 1998 and only the second since 1995. The Cougars would also tie the Bears and possibly Oregon State for as high as seventh in the standings.
In last weekend’s soggy series with the Beavers, Aaron MacKenzie earned the Cougs’ only win, 4-2, throwing his second complete game of the year. MacKenzie, who raised his record to 6-7, gave up seven hits, struck out four and yielded just one earned run.
Grant Richardson broke out of his Pac-10 slide (.253 conference average, .311 overall) with four hits in nine at-bats, including a home run. He remains second in the conference in RBI with 63.
Around the diamonds
The Pac-10 race comes down to the final weekend, with second-ranked Stanford hosting Arizona State. If the Cardinal win two of three, they win the conference title outright. Lose two of three and Washington, which has completed its conference schedule, ties for the top spot, with the Huskies earning the league’s automatic NCAA berth. UCLA can also tie for the top spot with a sweep at OSU and two Stanford losses. … Cal reliever Jesse Ingram is one save away from the school record for a single season (10). … Lewis and Clark State hosts the NAIA World Series starting Friday. The 10-team tournament runs through June 4 and includes the host Warriors (51-8) and perennial power Oklahoma City (70-5), the top seed.