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Locally: Three area USA Softball-sanctioned girls fastpitch tournaments postponed

UPDATED: Mon., May 11, 2020

From staff and news services

Three of the area’s longest-running USA Softball-sanctioned girls fastpitch tournaments have fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials of the Spokane Girls Fastpitch Softball Association, whose Summer Classic has been a fixture for two decades and was scheduled for June 12-14, are hopeful a postponement will allow the tournament to be played this summer. It has been tentatively rescheduled for Aug. 14-16.

The 23rd annual Coeur d’Alene Crush Tournament, which runs on two weekends at Post Falls High School, splitting teams of older and younger players, has canceled the event for 14U and 16U/18U teams that was scheduled June 5-7. It has left in place the 10U and 12U tournament June 19-21.

“We’re hoping we can still play that one,” said Brian Stranger of the Crush.

Most important, Idaho’s phased reopening from the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order would have to remain on schedule and reach Phase 4 by the scheduled dates, Stranger noted. Sixteen teams were registered in each tournament.

Canceled, and gone completely in 2020, is the 4th of July Shootout Umpires Memorial Tournament that would have had its 31st renewal July 3-5. It had 48 teams registered.

“The organizing committee for the 4th of July Shootout, the longest running girls fastpitch tournament in Spokane, has decided to cancel the 2020 tournament,” reads a statement from tournament director John Isles.

He cited the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, and field and umpire availability.

“We understand everyone wants to get on the softball field and enjoy the game we enjoy, but the health and safety of the players, coaches and fans are primary. Placing even a single person at unnecessary risk is something we cannot do.”

Isles said the tournament committee has received “nothing but positive comments” from registered teams and added, “We look forward to returning in 2021 when the tournament will be played on July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.”

A statement from SGFSA president Renee Stewart, which has 64 teams registered for the Summer Classic, reads in part:

“With the latest update from Governor Inslee, we understand that softball tournaments fall within Phase 4. This tells us that the earliest date that softball tournaments might be played is July 6. … SGFSA has decided to tentatively postpone the Summer Classic to the weekend of Aug. 14-16.

“This is tentative because we need to be sure of the following: The mandate is lifted, the City is able to bring back staff for the ball parks and get them in order, and the umpires are ready to officiate.

“We have received communication from various coaches asking us to postpone, rather than cancel. The Board discussed this and wanted to do everything we can to at least try to play a tournament this summer.”

Still on the schedule in Spokane are Idaho State tournaments for 10U and 16U teams July 10-12, and Stranger said the Crush has discussed putting on a tournament later in the year “to fill in for some of these tournaments that have been lost.”

College scene

Men’s basketball All-American Ben College received the Dennis Spurlock Award and Emiko Kahler (volleyball) and Nick McGill (track and field and football) were named Senior Athletes of the Year when the Whitworth athletic department passed out the school’s special year-end awards for 2019-20.

And 42 senior athletes whose seasons were ended prematurely by the COVID-19 pandemic received the Aaron Leetch Inspiration award.

College, the school’s second-leading career scorer and Northwest Conference Player of the Year, received the award given in the name of the former Pirates All-America quarterback. It yearly honor a student-athlete who excels athletically and models Spurlock’s characteristics, specifically modesty, poise and leadership.

Kahler, who became the Pirates’ all-time leader in kills last fall (1,210), was the 2019 NWC Player of the Year, first-team all-region and honorable mention AVCA All-American.

McGill qualified for 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in the heptathlon with a school-record 4,958 points, but the meet was canceled by the pandemic. He was a 2019 DIII outdoor All-American in the javelin (fourth) and decathlon (sixth) and the NWC Field Athlete of the Year. In football, he was a starting wide receiver.

The Leetch award, created in 2015, honors the memory of the former Whitworth director of athletics who died in a plane crash that year.

The recipients will be recognized and presented with their awards at the department’s Senior Awards dessert in October and at Senior Reflections during fall graduation weekend ceremonies.

• Tennis player Simón Homedes-Dualde collected a couple of honors when Gonzaga University’s annual Evening of Excellence, traditionally a recognition banquet that honors the school’s outgoing senior athletes, was turned into a splashy digital presentation that is available on the school’s athletic website.

Homedes-Dualde received the Leadership Award that goes to a student-athlete who “truly exhibits what it means to be a Zag by displaying excellence within their team, in the classroom, on campus, and in the community,” and shared the Male Scholar Athlete Award with rower Ian Melder.

Homedes-Dualde, selected to GU’s highly competitive Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership program as a sophomore, received All-WCC academic honors as a junior and senior and earned President’s List or Dean’s List honors each semester.

Melder, a men’s crew captain, was also a regular on the President’s List or Dean’s List and maintained a 3.90 GPA.

The Female Scholar Athlete Award was also shared, by women’s rower Maren Johnson and Megan Glenski from cross country and track. Both have 3.94 GPAs and have been regulars on the President’s List.

Madeline Gotta, who leaves with her name in the women’s soccer record book in several top-10 categories, was named Female Athlete of the Year. She had a 3.49 GPA and was named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America third team, scholar All-West Region and first-team All-WCC.

Killian Tillie, a major contributor in arguably the greatest era of men’s basketball since arriving in 2016, was named the Male Athlete of the Year. He averaged 13.6 ppg in an injury-hampered season and scored in double figures in 15 of his 24 games. He was named first-team All-WCC and NABC All-District second team. GU had a 91.7% winning percentage during his career.

Megan Billeter, a Western Washington junior from Mt. Spokane, and Isaac Emerson, a Northwest Nazarene junior from Central Valley, repeated on Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-academic teams in golf.

Billeter made the women’s team with a 3.32 GPA. Emerson is on the men’s team with a 3.73.

Elyse Bennett from women’s soccer and baseball’s A.J. Block have been selected as the athletic department representatives on the list of the top 10 graduating seniors at Washington State.

Bennett, who will graduate with a degree in biology in just over three years, has been a leader in one of the most successful periods in Cougars soccer history despite battling injuries and is a two-time Academic All-Pac-12 honoree.

Despite a senior season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, Block excelled. He was one of the top-ranked Pac-12 pitchers in the shortened season and the computer science major maintained a 3.62 GPA, earning back-to-back first-team Pac-12 All-Academic awards.


As the only player in the Western Hockey League to top 100 points, Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman was presented the Bob Clarke Trophy as scoring champion when the WHL started passing out year-ending league awards last week.

Beckman, the first Chief since Mitch Holmberg in 2013-14 to win the scoring title, had a league-leading 48 goals and 59 assists for 107 points in 63 games. He was second with 16 power-play goals and nine game-winning goals and third in assists.

Other league award winners announced through Friday:

Jeff Ingram, Langley, British Columbia, a referee in the WHL since 2007-08, Official of the Year; Sheldon Kennedy, an anti-abuse advocate and a former player, Board of Governors’ Award; Lethbridge Hurricanes, Business Award; Brad Lauer, Edmonton Oil Kings, Coach of the Year; Peter Anholt, Lethbridge general manager, Executive of the Year; Portland Winterhawks, Scotty Munro Trophy, regular-season champion.

Five more award winners will be named this week with the final three – goalie of the year, defenseman of the year and player of the year – coming next week. Spokane’s Ty Smith (defenseman) and Beckman are finalists in the last two categories.

Kooper Gizowski, Spokane’s second-round selection in the WHL bantam draft, signed a standard player agreement with the Chiefs and will be eligible to join them full time in the 2021-22 season.

The 5-foot-9 forward, a 2019-20 teammate of Spokane’s first-round pick, defenseman Saige Weinstein, who has also signed, had 51 points (27 goals, 24 assists) in 29 games at the bantam level last season. He was kept off the scoresheet in only four games and had six multigoal games.

“He’s a highly intelligent offensive player,” Chiefs assistant general manager Jim Hammett said of Gizowski, noting he was “one of the best shots available in the draft. Plays with pace, sense and smarts. Very tenacious.”

Letters of intent

Whitworth volleyball: Freshmen: Abigail Newcomb, MB, Mt. Spokane, All-GSL second team as a senior, two-time captain of two-time State 3A champions; Cierra Brandt, RS/MB, Kellogg HS, two-time All-Intermountain League, three-year team captain; Kaity Barr, MB, Roseville, California; Libby Bunch, DS/libero, Tacoma (Wilson HS); Grace Cooper, OH, Meridian, Idaho (Rocky Mountain HS); Jaye Hodge, OH, Puyallup (Washington) HS; Robin Scarlett, OH, Lynden (Wash.) HS; Logan Spencer, OH/RS, Kula, Hawaii. Transfers: Alleana Gallaher, libero, Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls HS/Community Colleges of Spokane, team captain as sophomore for two-time NWAC champion CCS, All-State A, All-NEA as senior at Lakeside, will be a junior; Marta Jantzi, S/RS, Salem, Oregon/Hesston (Kansas) JC, will be a sophomore.

Gonzaga baseball: Enzo Apodaca, OF, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Gonzaga women’s rowing: Mollie Monson, rower, Los Alamitos, California; Maddie Sontag, rower, Evergreen, Colorado; Aubrey Engels, rower, Silvana, Washington (Arlington HS).

Idaho men’s basketball: DeAndre Robinson, F, Monroeville, Alabama HS/Wheeling (West Virginia) University/Tallahassee (Florida) CC, will be a junior.

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