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Sutherland resigns as University’s baseball coach

Citing health issues, Scott Sutherland has tendered his resignation as University’s head baseball coach. He had been on paid administrative leave from nearly the beginning of the season.

Sutherland has diabetes, and the pressures and energy of running a solid program has taken its toll, he wrote via text message.

“I am worn out,” he said. “I have coached as an assistant or head coach at the varsity level for 30-plus years. I have had way more than my share of success and I have had the privilege of working with some great coaches, two of which are in the Washington State Baseball Hall of Fame, John Thacker and Don Ressa.”

U-Hi activities coordinator Ken VanSickle said that Sutherland does many things that took up his time all year. He assisted in football in the fall, announces all the Titans’ winter sports contests, and was consumed by baseball through the summer with American Legion, as has become the norm for coaches.

“When you have so many things on your plate and your health isn’t great, you don’t know how much stress coaches are under,” VanSickle said.

Sutherland has been head coach for seven years and assisted before that at Ferris under Thacker and U-Hi for Ressa.

Ressa, who remained as assistant, and Tom Hoiland continue to coach the program.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be the Titan head coach,” Sutherland said. “I wish the Titans the best of luck in the future.”

Cardinals rule NEA

Unless it’s the Indianapolis Colts, you don’t often hear of a turnaround like Medical Lake’s.

A year ago the Cardinals won one game. So far this year they’ve only lost two and are 12-1 in the Northeast A League. They lead Lakeside and Chewelah by three games with five to play heading into a pivotal doubleheader today against Lakeside and next week against Chewelah.

“It’s been an amazing turnaround,” said third-year coach Kerry Kelly, a transplant from California. “Last year we just really struggled.”

The move from the Great Northern League to the NEA helped. Having the nucleus of last year’s team, plus four freshmen in the lineup, has been a boon.

Adam Paulson, who last week struck out 11 in a 7-1 victory over Freeman, is 7-0 overall. Kasey Kelly, the coach’s son, a shortstop when he’s not behind the plate catching Paulson, adds to the formidable battery.

ACL surgeries the past two years had kept Kasey sidelined until this year. During the doubleheader against Freeman he had six hits, including a home run, double and triple.

Freshmen Cory Wagner, Jordan Calero, Aaron Sunde, who stands 5-foot-6 and “maybe weighs 105 pounds,” and Braden Hale provided a spark with pitching, punch and defense. Another key senior, Taylor Dormaier, doubled and tripled in Paulson’s victory.

“It’s just a good mix of a lot of things,” Kelly said. “I tell you what. It’s a lot nicer to come to the ball park right now.”

Split decisions

Heading into Tuesday’s games, 30 percent of the Greater Spokane League’s 30 two-game season series had produced split decisions.

The majority of the split decisions have come in games among the top six teams in the standings.

Fifth-place University had divided four of its five series against playoff contenders (with first-place Gonzaga beginning today). The Titans broke even against second-place Mt. Spokane and co-third place Ferris and Mead, as well as with sixth-place Shadle Park. Shadle split with Mead.

Mt. Spokane and Mead have divvied up three series. One of Ferris’ two series splits came against last-place North Central.

Even the heavily favored Bullpups, with a two-game lead in the league, haven’t been immune. Their lone loss came against Mt. Spokane.

Economical outing

Selkirk pitcher Avery Miller needed just 51 pitches during a five-inning 10-0 victory over St. Michael’s. He struck out 10.