A GRIP ON SPORTS • Given the distractions of the past weekend, we forgive you if you missed some of the sports news. We will try to help you catch up. Read on.
• Let’s see. The Mariners are 65 games over .500 and running away with the American League West. No, just kidding. But they are 13 games better than the break-even mark they aspired for early on, and they are in the thick of the postseason race, even if it is still a marathon and not a sprint.
College baseball in the Inland Northwest will include the postseason as well, with Gonzaga headed off to the University of Dan Wilson to face the Bruins. Translation: The Bulldogs were put in the Minnesota Regional and, as the third seed in that four-team region, will face second-seeded UCLA. So two of the few West Coast schools – remember when schools from this side of the nation dominated college baseball? – will meet in the first round. In Minneapolis. Nice.
The postseason in hockey is at its final juncture, with the Vegas Golden Knights banging their way to a 6-4 first-game win in the Stanley Cup Finals. But the hockey was secondary to the Las Vegas pregame show. Please let that stay in Vegas.
And if you were there with a couple extra bucks in your pocket? Which team would you bet on, the Warriors, who earned their way into their fourth consecutive NBA Final series last night, or team LeBron, in their ninth? The national media will bill it as 1-on-5 but that’s really not true. It’s 1-on-4 unless Golden State is 100 percent healthy. And 2-on-4 if Cleveland is.
That’s it. You have been caught up on all the major happenings.
Wait. There is one more, though “major” probably doesn’t describe it.
I forgot to pass along the local achievements column from this weekend. If you want to scroll down to the softball section and look at the list of this year’s inductees into the Inland Empire Softball Hall of Fame, you will find a familiar name. Maybe more than one if you’ve lived in Spokane a while. The honor is a subject we will be addressing closer to the event.
WSU: Derek Bayley had a great golf career at Washington State, one that ended recently. But his success continues with another Idaho title. Jim Meehan has the story. … Around the Pac-12 yesterday, four schools made the NCAA baseball field, with Oregon State and Stanford hosting regionals. Washington is also in the field and will play in South Carolina. UCLA has a date with Gonzaga in Minnesota. … Arizona didn’t make it and neither did Arizona State, prompting some grumbling in Tempe. … Former Mt. Spokane star Drew Rasmussen is hoping someone will take a chance on his twice-repaired arm in the draft next month.
Gonzaga: John Blanchette was at the Zags’ selection show get-together and has this column on the suddenly rejuvenated offense.
Mariners: If there is a surprise this season, it would have to be the effectiveness of the starting pitching. A big part of that is former Gonzaga star Marco Gonzales, who won his fifth game yesterday, pitching the M’s to another 2-1 victory. The bullpen looked OK and the offense strong heading into the season, but the starting pitching was suspect at best. Not anymore. … Denard Span arrived and played.
• The calendar says summer is a few weeks away, but we are in the unofficial part of the season. You know how you can tell? Nope, not the temperature, or the abundance of flip flops. Gas prices. They always rise this time of year. Until later …