When can a fast start be considered blazing?
When you post the type of start the Community Colleges of Spokane has.
After the first week of Northwest Athletic Association of Community College East Division play, CCS is tied for first with Treasure Valley at 4-0, and has an overall mark of 13-2, one of the best starts in coach Dave Keller’s tenure.
The Sasquatch opened conference play Wednesday by traveling to Pasco and sweeping a doubleheader from perennial conference-contender Columbia Basin.
“We kind of hit them in the mouth right from the get-go and kind of stunned them,” Keller said, “and you know, for 18 innings, we outplayed them. That’s what was so much fun about it.”
CCS used a combination of aggressive pitching and timely hitting to double CBC’s loss total for the year.
First-game starter Luke Farden keyed the pitching, striking eight in six innings. He was followed by Paul Knutson (Lakeland), who threw three shutout innings to seal it. In the nightcap, Jordan Moore (Lakeside) won his fourth game, combining with Shadle Park’s Brandon Zimmerman to limit CBC to three hits.
Freshman outfielder Michael Campo had big hits in each game, with a fourth-inning, three-run double in each.
CCS opened the home part of the NWAACC schedule Saturday by hosting Wenatchee Valley and the same formula worked with the same results.
“They were 2-0 as well,” Keller said of WVCC. “They went down to Walla Walla and swept them. In a lot of ways I was glad because it was ‘we can’t have a letdown against these guys, they’re tied with us.’
“We didn’t play as well as we’ve been playing, but we toughed it out.”
Sophomore Cody Harmon (St. Maries) took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of the 7-3 first-game win. Rogers’ grad Travis Bertholf, who has the best earned run average of the starters at 0.95, earned his third win in the nightcap, with reliever Chad Flett (Mead) stopping an eighth-inning rally for the save.
Hank Anderson (Ferris), who leads CCS with 21 RBIs while hitting .400, paced the attack with four hits, including two doubles, and four runs batted in. Leadoff hitter Brian Winston is the Sasquatch’s leading hitter at .468.
Spokane will make the long trek to LaGrande, Ore., Wednesday to face Blue Mountain (0-4, 6-11) before hosting Big Bend (2-2, 4-10) Saturday. Both are doubleheaders.
Around the area
Today’s 3 p.m. non-conference game at Avista Stadium between Gonzaga snd Washington State will showcase two teams going in opposite directions… . The Bulldogs (18-10) have won six of their last seven, moving into first place in the West Coast Conference’s Coast Division at 5-3… . The Cougars (15-17) have lost seven straight, including all six of their Pac-10 contests and last week’s battle with GU, a game WSU led 12-1 before falling 14-12 in 10 innings.
The Zags have a key WCC series this weekend, when they host USF (7-2 and second in the WCC’s West Division, 20-9 overall). The three-game set starts Friday at 3 p.m. and continues with 1 p.m. games Saturday and Sunday… . Sophomore Scott Cousins, a left-hander who posted USF’s only win over Pepperdine last week, leads the Dons on the mound (7-1, 2.20 earned run average) and at the plate (.329 average playing left field)… . One of the biggest bright spots for the Zags has been the hitting of freshman third baseman Darin Holcomb. The Shadle Park graduate leads all GU regulars with a .356 average and 42 hits… . Another has been the pitching of junior Josh Monroe (5-1, 1.73 ERA), who was named the WCC’s co-pitcher of the week for his complete-game, seven-hit shutout of USD Friday.
The Cougs also have a freshman atop the regulars’ batting stats, first baseman Jim Murphy from Juanita High. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound right-hand hitter is hitting .392 with six home runs in 24 games… . Duplicating those numbers this weekend might be tough, as WSU hosts Arizona (21-10, 5-1 in the Pac-10) starting Friday at 6 p.m… . The Wildcats, who took three from UCLA last weekend, their first Pac-10 road sweep since 1999, are third in the conference… . The offense, paced by leadoff hitter Trevor Crowe (.394 with 11 stolen bases) and junior first baseman Jordan Brown (.393, 8 home runs, 40 RBIs), is hitting .335 as a team. And 6-4 right-hander pitcher Kevin Guyette, though only 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA, is coming a complete-game one-hitter.
Washington earned a split of its series with USC (17-9, 3-3 Pac-10) with a 7-3 win in Monday’s rain-delayed windup in Seattle. Husky starter Matt Kasser (3-2) threw seven solid innings and Zach Clem sparked a nine-hit UW (18-12, 2-4) attack, going 3 for 4 with a double, a run scored and one batted in.
Whitworth returns home this weekend to face Willamette (6-9 in the Northwest Conference, 10-14 overall and losers of six straight) with a noon doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday at the same time… . The Pirates (6-6, 11-9) moved over the .500 mark last weekend with a NWC sweep at Whitman. Each of Whitworth’s starting pitchers – Dan Lundberg, Cody Person and Ben McCracken – picked up wins with solid outings… . Person extended a personal shutout streak to 16 innings with seven more Saturday, before the Missionaries snapped it with two runs in the eighth… . Dustin Frank leads Whitworth with six home runs, one more than Willamette has hit as a team.