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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Sliders return to nationals

Josh Petrie Correspondent

The Spokane Sliders softball team won their fourth straight 18-A ASA Northwest Regional Girls Fastpitch championship in Redmond, Wash., Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Oregon Red Heat in eight innings.

The Sliders, made up of mostly Shadle Park players, advance to the 18-A ASA Girls National Fastpitch championships in Columbus, Ga., where they finished ninth in 2004.

“Ninth is very respectable, especially considering the big-time programs that are there,” Sliders coach George Lynn said. “We’re looking at about 150 teams (this year), so it’s gonna be pretty big.”

Two reasons for Lynn’s confidence are the arms of Stephanie Trudeau (Dartmouth University) and Samantha Skillingstad, who teamed up to lead Shadle Park to a fourth-place finish in last month’s Washington State 4A tournament.

“We won three games 1-0 in international tiebreakers, and that was due to our pitching,” Lynn said. “This is the first team I’ve had that has shut out every team at a regional, and that’s incredible.”

Stepping up on offense was Mickenzy Alden (Central Valley), who hit .545 in the tournament after shaking off pneumonia earlier in the week.

“Those hits were not just hits,” Lynn said. “She blasted the ball.”

Under international tiebreaker rules, each team begins batting with a runner on second base after the seventh inning. Alden started the Sliders’ eighth on second in the championship game, then was bunted over to third by Skillingstad. Katie Hinrichs (Pullman) then slapped a ball to the right side of the infield, allowing Alden to beat the throw home with a head-first slide.

The victory gave the Sliders a 6-0 record in this year’s tournament, as well as a 25-0 mark since 2002. This year, the Sliders didn’t allow a run.

Also playing for the Sliders are: Randi Sandifer (Shadle Park/Montana State University); Christina Rios (Auburn, Wash./Wichita State); Angela Arment (East Valley/Blue Mountain CC); Rachelle Solom (St. Maries/South Florida CC); Danielle Lynn (Shadle Park); China Frost (Shadle Park); Heather Jackson (Shadle Park); and Ashley Fargher (University).

Basketball

The Spokane Stars Elite Blue complete their summer girls basketball schedule this week at the prestigious Nike Nationals in Augusta, Ga.

“They’re telling us it’s the number one tournament in the country,” said Stars coach Ron Adams.

Twenty-four of the nation’s top traveling clubs will participate in six-team pools. Top two from each pool advance to the eight-team championship tournament, the remainder play in eight-team consolation brackets.

Half the teams played in the Oregon City End of the Trail tourney, the rest are from the Northeastern and Southeastern portions of the U.S. Adams said the top 100 players in the country will compete.

“We could easily go 0-6 as well as 6-0,” he said.

The Stars play Georgia Nike and New England on Wednesday in their first two of four pool games. They play two more on Thursday to advance to the championship round or for seeding into the eight-team tourneys.

Last weekend they improved their summer record to 41-1, winning seven games handily at the Warehouse Summer Classic.

Three Spokane Stars teams reached the semifinals, with the Elite Blue beating the Stars Navy 62-33 before dispatching the Stars Elite Red 62-29 for the championship.

Heather Bowman averaged 14.9 and Angie Bjorklund 14.6 points per game.

“The Higher Hoops U-13 boys team qualified for the AAU national youth tournament after winning the “Best in the West” tournament in May. Higher Hoops beat previously undefeated Seattle Rotary in the championship game.

However, Higher Hoops will play in another high-profile national invitation tournament this week, the National Youth Basketball Championships Las Vegas Summer Classic, which starts Wednesday.

Higher Hoops consists of: Ryan Nicholas, Michael Weisner, Aaron Dunn, Richard Brooks, Bo Tully, Taylor Pettersen, David Nelson and Mitch Kayser. They are coached by Darcy Weisner and Keith Humphreys.

Baseball

The Spokane Northstars advanced to this year’s Senior American Legion state tournament in Yakima, defeating the Spokane Cannons 17-9 in Sunday’s district championship game.

The Northstars pounded out 21 hits in the victory, including six doubles. Chris England led the team with five hits, including a double, and Jake Bussard was one of three Northstars with three hits, including a home run.

In Junior American Legion action, Nick Collsion improved to 7-1 on the season and struck out 12 to lead Newport to a 7-1 victory over West Valley in Sunday’s championship.

Both teams will advance to state in Centralia, as well as Lewis and Clark, which defeated Gonzaga Prep 5-4 in the third-place game.

Both the Senior and Junior tournaments begin Saturday.

Golf

Washington State 4A boys champion Nick Grigsby (Central Valley) shot 2-under 142 to win the Boys 16-17 division of the Washington Junior Golf Association district championship at the University of Idaho Golf Course on July 18-19.

Grigsby held off State 3A second-place finisher Joel Dahmen (Clarkston) and Dustin Poe (Ferris) by one stroke. Erick Henderson won the Boys 14-15 division by two strokes over Carl Brophy.

On the girls’ side, Katrina Bech (Lewis and Clark) shot 166 to defeat Krystal Pitkonen (Northwest Christian) by two strokes in the 16-17 division. Lauren Howell (Mead) won the 14-15 division with a 165.

Tennis

Elise Otto (Lewis and Clark) and Maya Jansen are representing the Pacific Northwest in the Western Zonal Team Championships starting Wednesday.

Otto will play for the 16s team in Salt Lake City, while Jansen will play on the 12s team in Tucson.

“Area players have been successful in statewide competition this month at the Champs level, the premier level of junior tennis.

Jansen won the girls 12-year-old singles at the Washington State Junior Champs in Kirkland July 10, Kasie King (Lewis and Clark) won the girls 18 singles at the North Central Washington Junior Champs in Wenatchee July 14 and Katie Griffith (Ferris) won the girls 16 singles at the Yakima Valley Junior Championships in Yakima last week.

On the boys’ side, Whitman Hough (Ferris) was a boys 16 singles finalist at the Inland Empire Junior Championships in Spokane July 17, while William Hough won the boys 10 singles and 10 doubles at Yakima.

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