From 0-6 two years ago to World Series champions.
That’s the road traveled by the Inland Northwest Men’s Baseball League team, the Spokane Yankees, at the Men’s Senior Baseball League/Men’s Adult Baseball League World Series earlier this month in Phoenix.
The Yankees erupted from a 6-all tie with a 10-run eighth inning, sending 15 men to the plate, en route to a 16-8 victory over Fresno (California) Hardcore to capture the championship of the 45+ Cactus Division.
It capped an 8-1 week, in which the Yankees won their division with a 5-1 record before going 3-0 in bracket play. They outscored their opponents 95-49 and outhit them 134-90.
The MSBL/MABL World Series, in its 30th year, attracted more than 300 teams in 10 age divisions for a three-week run.
Over the years, explained Ron Mackie, a Yankees player and assistant manager, the INMBL has sent teams and individuals since it was established in 1996, but this is the first time they will receive champion rings. The Yankees were a “combined team,” said Mackie, with players picked up from other league teams. All but two of 17 were from the Spokane league.
“We had solid pitching, key timely hits and guys making plays on defense,“ said Mackie, noting the Yankees used five pitchers, the infield turned more than 10 double plays and outfielders ran down multiple balls to either rob opponents of base hits or limit the number of bases.
“A total team effort and a little luck,” Mackie said.
Gary Wolf was selected the team MVP. As the shortstop, he was involved in most of the double plays, and he hit .546 with many timely key hits, Mackie said.
The other Yankees: Dave Burnside, Chad Chittenden, Roger Coston, Chad Evans, Bret Fink, Mark Hefty, Kelly Holm, Robert Martin, Martin Mojarro, Tony Orozco, Greg Peterson, Lance Rickman, Martin Sakwi, Scott Smith and Rick Villanpando. General manager – Peterson. Manager – Fink. Assistant managers – Orozco and Mackie.
John Hilden qualified third going into the roll-offs, but he turned aside stiff challenges from No. 2 qualifier Blake English and top-seeded Grace Martin to win the Junior Bowlers Tour stop at North Bowl last Sunday.
In the tightest match of the day, Hilden overcame English 269-268, then bested Martin 238-234 for his third straight title.
English finished third, Tim Blaski was fourth and Mason Georgeadis fifth after what tournament director Patti Dudley called “a few of the most thrilling matches of the season.”
Martin rolled 1,006 for the first four games and 903 for the second, winning her four matches in the process, to claim the top spot going into the roll-offs. Her performance included a 268 game. Hilden had high game for the boys, a 269.
Other top marks included an 883 series by English; an 870 by Blaski; and an 853 by Kyle Groves, one of the top younger bowlers in the field, in the first round of qualifying. But he couldn’t sustain it and wound up sixth to just miss the roll-offs
The next JBT will be the doubles tournament at Lilac Lanes on Nov. 19.
Joey Biel, a sophomore at Monmouth College in Illinois from Northwest Christian, used his leg and his foot to help the Scots produce a 19th consecutive football win over Knox College on Nov. 4 (52-10) and earn a Performer of the Week honor from the NCAA Division III Midwest Conference.
With his leg, Biel pinned the Prairie Fire on their 1-yard line with two his three punts, averaging nearly 41 yards a punt. With his foot, he scored eight points on a 34-yard field goal while hitting all five of his extra points. He also sent four of nine kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
For the season, Biel has hit 7 of 15 field goals, with a long of 49, and 40 of 43 extra points for 61 points. He’s averaging 38.1 yards on 23 punts with five inside the 20 and only two going into the end zone.
- The Great Northwest Athletic Conference offensive player of the week award in volleyball for the week ending Nov. 5 was shared by a couple of area athletes. Madi Farrell, a 6-2 Northwest Nazarene senior middle blocker from Lake City, was recognized after she had 29 kills, 12 blocks and a .610 hitting percentage in a pair of Nighthawks home victories. Joellee Buckner, Western Washington’s 5-10 senior opposite from Colville, got a nod after she had 26 kills, 37 digs, no attack errors and a .382 hitting percentage in two wins.
Emma Liband, a Willamette senior from Sandpoint, received honorable mention when the All-Northwest Conference volleyball team was announced. The 6-foot middle blocker averaged 1.38 kills and 1.12 blocks per set during the season.
Alaina Gentili, a Corban senior from Central Valley, was the Cascade Conference Attacker of the Week in volleyball after she led a pair of five-set comeback victories, amassing 36 kills in the process, as the Warriors captured their first regular-season league title.
Kayla Nuermann, a 6-foot outside hitter at North Idaho College, is the NWAC East Region Offensive Player of the Week in volleyball for her performance as the Cardinals wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the East with wins over Spokane and Columbia Basin. The freshman from Sandpoint had a double-double – 20 kills, 10 digs – against Spokane.
Taylor Martin, a Central Washington sophomore from Sandpoint with a 3.28 grade-point average, was named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Volleyball team.
Emma Logan, a George Fox senior forward from Sandpoint, was a second-team selection on the All-Northwest Conference women’s soccer team. Two former Moses Lake teammates, Elizabeth McGraw, a midfielder, and Lura Morton, a defender, now junior teammates at Puget Sound, made honorable mention.
Jerry Havens from Mt. Spokane has been named the Saint John’s University representative on the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s soccer All-Sportsmanship team. Havens, a senior defender, played in 16 of the Johnnies’ 17 games with 12 starts, contributing an assist in a 2-1 loss at Hamline in the MIAC playoff quarterfinals for his only point of the season. Members of the All-Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates for demonstrating positive sportsmanship on and off the field. Saint John’s finished 7-8-2 overall, placing fifth (4-4-2) in the NCAA Division III conference.
High school scene
Twenty student-athletes – a girl and a boy from each of the Greater Spokane League’s 10 schools – have been announced as fall sports winners of the 17th annual NECA/IBEW GSL Award. The National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which encourage high school students to consider a career in the electrical construction field, and the GSL honor students who demonstrate superior balance in academics, athletics and community involvement. The 2017 fall recipients by school: Central Valley – Paige Wollan, volleyball; Austin Tomlinson, football. Ferris – Annika Briggs, volleyball; Todd Bloom, cross country. Gonzaga Prep – Natalie Schwartzenberger, cross country; Max Feldmeier, football. Lewis and Clark – Alli Schoultz, soccer; Spencer Swaim, cross country. Mead – Hannah Barone, cross country; Joe Heitman, football.
Mt. Spokane – Payton Stiles, soccer; Devan Nelson, football. North Central – Taiyler Soderquist, cheer; Markus Taylor, cross country. Rogers – Gracie Olsen, slowpitch softball; Andrew Radford, football. Shadle Park – Makalen Hughes, volleyball; Brock Leinweber, football. University – Hannah Click, slowpitch softball; Campbell Barrington, football.
- Mead football represented the GSL and Northwest Christian collected a couple of titles when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the Dairy Farmers of Washington and Les Schwab Tires announced 2017 Fall Team Academic State Champions. Mead won the 4A football team academic title with a 3.341 combined GPA. It was the only GSL program recognized in the 4A and 3A ranks. Northwest Christian won 2B state academic championships in football (3.50) and volleyball (3.92). Other area academic state champions: St. George’s, 2B boys soccer, 3.335; Almira/Coulee-Hartline, 1B football, 3.431; Freeman, 1A volleyball, 3.92; and Oakesdale, 1B volleyball, 3.977.
The Spokane Chiefs will televise 10 games on SWX during the 2017-18 season, beginning Dec. 9 against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Spokane Arena.
Six are against the rival Tri-City Americans, half in Kennewick. There will also be games with Everett, Kootenay and Vancouver.
The schedule: Dec. 9 – Seattle . Jan 13 – Everett. Jan. 20 – Tri-City. Jan. 27 – at Tri-City. Feb. 10 – at Tri-City. Feb. 17 – Tri-City. Feb. 24 – Kootenay. March 10 – Vancouver. March 16 – Tri-City. March 17 – at Tri-City.
Letters of intent
Gonzaga baseball – Bryson Beltran, INF, Eastside Catholic (Seattle); Tyler Chipman, RHP, Cashmere, Washington; Daniel Copeland, RHP, Skyview (Vancouver, Washington); Brett Harris, INF, Arlington Heights, Illinois; Ben Larson, RHP/INF, O’Dea (Seattle); Stephen Lund C/INF, Verona, Wisconsin; Daniel Naughton, RHP, Pendleton, Oregon; Grayson Sterling, INF/OF, Capital (Boise); Nick Trogrlic-Iverson, RHP, Oakville, Ontario.
Gonzaga women’s golf – Kaysa Panke, Davenport, 2017 WIAA State 1B/2B/1A Champion; Quynn Duong, San Jose, California; Federica Torre, Italy.
Idaho women’s golf – No-Hsin “Eddie” Hsu, Taiwan; Wei-Chia “Vicky” Tsai, Taiwan.