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Friday, November 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Locally: Former Gonzaga Prep, Gonzaga pitcher Wyatt Mills named to USA Baseball roster

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 12, 2019

Former Gonzaga Prep pitcher Wyatt Mills delivers during a high school district playoff game against Mead on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at Avista Stadium. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Former Gonzaga Prep pitcher Wyatt Mills delivers during a high school district playoff game against Mead on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at Avista Stadium. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Wyatt Mills has his sight set on the Olympics.

The Spokane native, a Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University graduate and relief pitching prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ organization, was named to the USA Baseball roster for the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 tournament, the first opportunity for Team USA to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Mills recently completed his third season in the Mariners’ organization with eight saves and a 4-2 record for the Arkansas Travelers in the Double-A Texas League. In his minor league career, he has a 3.57 earned-run average, 10-6 record, 25 saves and has struck out 154 batters in 126 innings.

At GU, Mills worked his way into being one of the best closers in the nation during his four years as a Bulldog. As a senior, he posted a 1.79 ERA and minuscule 58:4 strikeout/walk ratio while saving 12 games, the second most in a single season in program history.

The 28-man U.S. roster, which includes 15 pitchers and 13 position players, has players currently not on an MLB 40-man roster and six former national team players.

The tournament pits the top 12 ranked international programs in the world. The U.S. is ranked second behind Japan. Korea, which won the inaugural event in 2015, is ranked third.

The U.S. will be in Group A in Guadalajara, Mexico, Nov. 2-4 with the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Netherlands. The top two advance to the Super Round in Tokyo Nov.11-16.

The top finisher from the Americas territory and Asia/Oceania will join host-country Japan and Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier champion Israel in the six-team Olympic tournament. The final two Olympic berths will be decided in March 2020.

Baseball

A Project: BTO (Back to Omaha) groundbreaking ceremony will be part of the Washington State baseball alumni weekend Friday and Saturday in Pullman.

Events begin Friday at 2 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field in a meet-and-greet with the new coaching staff, a Cougars practice followed by a scrimmage at 3:15. An alumni social is planned for the evening.

Groundbreaking for the roughly $10 million project to modernize and upgrade Bailey-Brayton Field will occur Saturday at 1 p.m., three hours prior to kickoff of the homecoming football game against Colorado. Afterward, the baseball coaches will host a pregame tailgate.

To sign up, alumni should visit wsucougars.com and click on the baseball link.

Bowling

Brendan Haight, after a slow start, reversed fortunes during the match-play portion of qualifying and carried the momentum to the championship of the North Bowl stop of the Junior Bowlers Tour last Sunday.

Haight, who picked up the 7-10 split during the day, put together a 3-1 record during match play, averaging 210 to climb from seven into third for the five-player roll-offs. He went 3-0 in the finals, defeating No. 1 qualifier Alex Holodnick 187-184 for the championship.

No. 2 qualifier Blake English finished third, Calvin Ruffner was fourth and Griffin Rees was fifth.

Holodnick had high game (265) and high average (222). Macey Schultz’s 253 led the girls.

The next JBT is Oct. 27 at Cheney Bowl.

College scene

Rylee Rassier, a Northwest University senior from University, was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week.

The 5-foot-4 forward figured in all seven of the Eagles’ goals, scoring four and adding an assist in a 5-0 win over Northwest Christian after collecting both goals in a 2-0 win over Corban.

Samantha Heilman, the first Gonzaga player to score a hat trick since 2003, was named the West Coast Conference women’s soccer Player of the Week.

The senior from Richland scored three goals in the Bulldogs’ conference-opening home win over San Diego, giving her five for her career.

• Four athletes with area ties were named to the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic team in women’s soccer.

Michaela Prothe, a Concordia senior from Ferris with a 3.64 GPA, earned her third straight award; juniors Hallie Vervair (3.36, Ferris) of Montana State Billings and Claire Neder (3.65, Mead) of Seattle Pacific collected repeat honors; and Central Washington sophomore Makinzie Packwood (3.75, Clarkston) was honored in her first year of eligibility.

• Community Colleges of Spokane swept the Week 5 cross country athlete-of- the-week awards in the Northwest Athletic Conference for their performances in the Charles Bowles Invitational last weekend in Salem, Oregon.

Jolene Whiteley, a sophomore from Cheney, won the women’s 5K race in 17 minutes, 59.6 seconds, a 46-second PR, to earn her second NWAC weekly award of the season. She also won following a Week 1 win at Puget Sound.

The men’s winner was Christian Kuplack, a freshman from Immaculate Conception Academy in Post Falls, who was the second finisher from the NWAC and seventh overall, running a 62-second PR with a 24:46.3 for 8K.

• Northwest University senior Riley Sine from Central Valley collected his second Cascade Collegiate Conference Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week award of the season after he placed second in a field of 161 at the Charles Bowles Invitational. He ran the 8K course in 24:40.

Kayla McGlathery, an Alaska Anchorage junior middle blocker from Coeur d’Alene HS, was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Seawolves to a pair of three-set wins with a .487 hitting percentage, 23 kills and seven blocks.

• Six members of North Idaho College’s back-to-back Northwest Athletic Conference champion softball team were named 2018-19 All-America Scholar-Athletes for two-year colleges by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association with GPAs of 3.5 or above.

Madi Mott, the pitcher who was the NFCA two-year Player of the Year, was joined on the list by McKenzie Wilson, a freshman pitcher from Coeur d’Alene; Hannah Click, a freshman catcher/outfielder from University; Graces Ferres, freshman pitcher; Andrea Hoey, freshman pitcher; and Jori Kerr, sophomore outfielder.

Rachael Johnson, a 2019 Central Washington graduate and second-team All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection as an outfielder, was named a 2019 NFCA Division II All-America Scholar-Athlete with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The GNAC All-Academic selection was second in the GNAC with 20 stolen bases and fifth in runs scored with 35 to highlight her senior season.

Emma Torres, a Community Colleges of Spokane sophomore from Rogers, was the NWAC Week 1 women’s golf athlete of the week after she won the Highline Invitational Sept. 30-Oct. 1 by two strokes for her first collegiate victory.

Christine Denny, a Carroll College junior from Liberty who received NAIA All-America honorable mention last season as a sophomore, has been named to the Frontier Conference women’s basketball coaches’ preseason all-conference team.

The 5-foot-9 guard, a second-team All-Frontier selection last year, averaged 9.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 42 percent from the field.

• Seniors Madalyn Ardueser, a golfer, and football player Jayson Williams are the Eastern Washington athletic department’s first scholar-athletes of the month for the 2019-20 school year for their performances in September.

Ardueser won two tournaments – the second finishing Oct. 1 – while setting a program-record with a 6-under-par 210 for 54 holes in winning the first. The communication studies major with a 3.79 GPA had a 1-under 215 in winning the second and earned back-to-back Big Sky Conference Golfer of the Week awards.

Williams, a marketing and finance double major with a 3.39 GPA, caught 14 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles split four games. He had just one career touchdown catch entering this season. He had a career-high seven receptions against Jacksonville State.

Hockey

Ty Smith’s return paid immediate dividends for the Spokane Chiefs. And he profited, too.

The 2018-19 Western Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League Defenseman of the Year, who spent training camp and the preseason with the New Jersey Devils, collected six points – three goals and three assists – in his first three games with Spokane last weekend.

The Chiefs’ captain earned first-star honors in the first two games and third star in the third and Spokane won two of the games.

For that contribution, the Devils’ first-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft was named the WHL Player of the Week and named to the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week.

• The Chiefs called up 16-year-old goaltender Mason Beaupit as insurance with Los Angeles Kings prospect Lukas Parik listed as day to day with a lower-body injury.

Beaupit, selected by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2018 WHL bantam draft, began the season with the Valley West Giants of the British Columbia Major Midget League. He had a 2.83 GAA in four appearances. He played in two preseason games with the Chiefs, making 32 saves on 36 shots in 63 minutes.

The Surrey, B.C., native joins Parik and 17-year-old Campbell Arnold in the Chiefs’ goalie ranks.

• Forward Jack Finley of the Chiefs is listed as a “B” prospect in the NHL Central Scouting 2019-20 preliminary “Players to Watch” rankings, projecting a second- or third-round pick in the 2020 NHL entry draft.

The 6-5 winger from Kelowna, B.C., was the Chiefs’ first-round bantam pick in 2017 (sixth overall). In 76 career WHL regular-season games, he has 11 goals and 14 assists, including two goals and three assists through six games this season.

• The Chiefs announced that 19-year-old defenseman Luke Gallagher, a Spokane native, has been released from the club’s active roster and reassigned, and is expected to join the B.C. Hockey League’s Wenatchee Wild. He will remain on the Chiefs’ protected list.

Track & field

Tianna Bartoletta, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will be in Spokane on Thursday promoting youth track and field as a fundraiser for Spokane Speed Academy, a local Junior Olympic club team.

SSA coach Cecil Jackson said Bartoletta, a sprinter/jumper who won one gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and two in 2016, will speak in the North Central High School auditorium from 7-8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6. Cost is $10 per person. It is open to the public.

She will start her visit at Prime Prep Charter School at 1:15 p.m. and has a television interview scheduled, Jackson noted.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Bartoletta placed fourth in the 100-meter race, then won her first gold by leading off the U.S.’s world- record-setting 4×100 relay team. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the long jump with a personal best then again led off the victorious 4×100 relay team.

She also won the long jump at the outdoor World Championship in 2005 and 2015 and the indoor World Championship in 2006. She was also a pusher on the 2012 U.S. women’s bobsled team that placed third in the world championship.

Weightlifting

The Washington State athletics strength and conditioning department will host its bi-annual USA Weightlifting Level 1 coaching course April 6-7 at the Bohler Athletic Complex.

The course is open to anyone 17 or older with an active USA Weightlifting membership. No prior experience coaching or performing Olympic lifting is required. The cost is $499.

Info: Justin Blatner, jblatner@wsu.edu.

Youth sports

Spokane Youth Sports Association, noting it will serve more than 10,000 kids in 2019 “as enrollments have exceeded expectations,” announced all its soccer coaches have taken Safe Sport training provide by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Washington Youth Soccer requires all coaches take the course that focuses on concussions, cardiac arrest, proper motivation and abuse situations.

An SYSA release said, “Our incredible team of volunteer coaches has undergone this thorough certification process so all children are in the best possible environment to play soccer.”

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