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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: The heat is on everywhere, from high school football practice in Idaho to far away as Texas, where the M’s hope to survive

WSU during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Has the temperature hit triple digits where you live? Not yet here in Spokane, but it will later this week. It certainly will in Lewiston, where the Washington State Cougars’ football team is spending its week. And in other parts of Idaho, where high school football has begun. Read on.

••••••••••

• Yes, high school football practice is underway throughout the Gem State. It’s less than a week away in Washington. In other words, summer is just about over.

Or it’s just beginning, as the Boys of Summer, Seattle variety, continue their bounce-back tour, winning their second consecutive game, this one an extra-inning affair in Arlington against the Rangers.

And then there was the return of Robinson Cano, albeit in Tacoma. He’s getting ready to come off his hand injury … wait, I’m getting news he was also suspended for violating baseball’s drug policy. Really? Cano? OK then. He’s coming off his drug suspension with a stint in Tacoma and probably one in Everett. He used his first baseman’s glove last night.

What else happened yesterday? Well, Kam Chancellor showed up at the Seahawks’ training facility, still unofficially retired – “officially retired” would cost him a few million dollars – though wanting to be part of the whole defensive ambience in the Hawks’ camp.

Down in Lewiston, where the temperature could hit 110 on Thursday, freshman quarterback Cammon Cooper, known throughout Pullman as the future (maybe even with an uppercase F), got his chance to run the offense in 11-on-11 drills. It was the lefty’s first shot at running the show, though, with a logjam around Luke Falk’s former spot, Mike Leach needs to cull the herd pretty quickly. After all, Leach takes his rodeo back to his home state, Wyoming, in less than a month.

Around these here parts, the Northwest League took a rare day off, which means we don’t have an Indians score to pass along. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have an Indians story.

We always have something to talk about this time of year. If not, there is always the heat.

•••

WSU: Here’s hoping Theo Lawson is staying hydrated in Lewiston. It’s so hot this week (“How hot is it?”), there was video on the World Wide Net of Leach doing a cannonball in a pool. On the football field, Leach talked with Theo after practice, part of video interviews with the coach, Dillon Sherman, James Williams and Cooper. … Theo also has his observations from practice as well as five position battles to watch. The one he mentions that will probably turn out to be the least important but also the most? Nose tackle. The starter is important for ego purposes, but both Taylor Comfort and Pono Lolohea will play. And they have to play well for the defense to reach its potential. … Larry Weir talked with Theo yesterday for his Press Box pod. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the Networks are going to put more emphasis on football this year. … Washington granted its top-ranked recruit his release. … Jim Leavitt is in his second year as Oregon’s defensive coordinator and expects even more improvement from his group. … Was the Corvallis’ environment unhealthy for former Oregon State player Seth Collins? It doesn’t seem to be for most of the Beaver players. … Colorado may have a youngster at center this season. … Utah lost a running back to injury but gained a center. … The quarterback battle at USC continues. … UCLA is practicing at Chip Kelly’s pace. That would be fast. … The new players are getting their chance at Arizona State. … The 2017 season didn’t end well for Arizona. … In basketball news, Shareef O’Neal, Shaq’s son, finally signed with UCLA.

EWU: The Eagles are in practice mode as well, with Ryan Collingwood concentrating on a backup today who Eastern coaches probably hope never has to play, but must be ready if called upon. … Around the Big Sky, Eastern (ninth) wasn’t the highest ranked team in the Stats FCS’ preseason poll. That honor goes to Weber State, which earned the Wildcats’ highest preseason ranking ever at eighth. … The Missoulian has been previewing Montana’s opponents, including Montana State, UC Davis, Portland State and Sacramento State.

Idaho: Victor Sanders will be playing basketball in Belgium next season.

Indians: As we said, no game story, but Dave Nichols has a story on the Indians’ all-star players. The all-star game versus the Pioneer League’s best, is tonight.

Preps: Coeur d’Alene Little League is in the semifinals of the Northwest Region, two wins from Williamsport. … Spokane voters will get the opportunity to have their say on where the school district should put its new football stadium, downtown or at the Albi site. Jim Allen has a story on the City Council's decision to place an advisory question on the November ballot.

Mariners: Yes, the M’s won. Though only after blowing a three-run lead in Texas and Scott Servais was second-guessed for taking Wade LeBlanc out after 82 pitches. Still a 4-3 win is a win, even if it took 12 innings. … Felix Hernandez takes the mound today and with Erasmo Ramirez ready to rejoin the roster, Felix is pitching for his rotation spot. Again. … The A’s didn’t play yesterday but the won nonetheless, adding coveted starter Mike Fiers through a waiver deal.

Seahawks: Yes, Kam was back at camp and could be around more. But the big battles played out elsewhere, like over where the kickers stand. … The secondary is pretty much new. … The name Will Dissly keeps coming up in conversation. The rookie tight end would seem to figure prominently in the Seahawks’ plans. … Rashad Penny may have been a draft-day surprise, but he’s all part of a supposed renewed emphasis on the run. Funny thing. I suspect the Hawks will pass the ball more than ever.

•••        

• You know what sounds like a fun thing to do today? Play in the sprinklers and then chase down the ice cream man. But no. I am an adult. I am planning to wash the windows and then drive to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. It’s the 61-year-old equivalent to the sprinkler/ice cream man thing, right? Until later … 

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