Community Colleges of Spokane came in for an arm-load of honors when the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings Sporting Goods passed out 2021 awards at the junior college level.
Sophomore McKabe Cottrell from Freeman was named a National Pitcher of the Year, Pacific Association Division (PAD) Northwest Division Pitcher of the Year and a first-team ABCA/Rawlings All-American.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound left-hander, a Washington State commit, had a 7-0 record and 1.95 ERA to lead the NWAC East Region during the pandemic-impacted 2021 season. His 81 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings averaged 13.17 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Sasquatch’s fourth-year coach, Bryan Winston, won his fourth ABCA Regional Coach of the Year honor after the Sasquatch compiled a 22-4 record (.846 winning percentage) as East Region champion and a 29-7 overall record (.806). Because of the pandemic there was no conference championship tournament.
CCS placed freshman first baseman Jace Phelan (Freeman) on the ABCA/Rawlings PAD All-America first team with Cottrell, and freshman shortstop Brock Bozett (Ferris) on the second team. Phelan and Bozett both joined Cottrell on the PAD Northwest Region first team.
Sasquatch third baseman Braeden Cordes (Mead) was on the PAD Gold Glove Team.
“The guys played extremely well this year,” Winston said of the Sasquatch, singling out the award winners as “more than deserving. All the credit goes to them for the work they put in.
“I think when all the numbers are sorted out, McKabe’s will match the best (pitcher’s numbers) we’ve had in school history.”
Winston said that Phelan and Bozett “anchored the middle of our lineup.” Phelan tied for the NWAC lead with 43 RBIs and Bozett finished fourth with 36 while batting .385, fourth best in the conference. Phelan hit .360.
As for his award, Winston said, “it’s nice to be recognized, but I told the coaching staff it really should be for the best coaching staff. Those guys deserve it as much as I do.”
Ryan Webb (Shadle Park), Seth Heckel (Mt. Spokane) and Hayden Prewitt are his current assistants. Winston also credited former aides Nick Brooks and Justin Jacobs (both Gonzaga University) and Levi Brenneman “for having a lot to do with” the CCS success.
Gonzaga rising sophomore Gabriel Hughes is among 10 pitchers on the 45-man U.S. Collegiate National Baseball Team that is competing against itself in an 11-game intra-squad schedule this month in the southeastern U.S.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander was credited with the victory in his first outing, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and one strikeout in three innings as the starter in a 7-4 Stripes victory over Stars. He faced 14 batters and threw 44 pitches, 26 for strikes.
This past season, Hughes earned second-team All-WCC despite missing the last month with an injury. He had a 4-3 record as the Saturday starter with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 67 in 61 1/3 innings. He also played first base and hit .247 with four doubles, three homers and 12 RBI and was named to Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-America Team as a Multiple Position Athlete.
• Kelly Hooper of Spokane, a fifth-year senior at Montana State, and a combined 12 players at Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Washington State and Idaho were named Women’s Golf Coaches Association 2020-21 All-American Scholars with minimum GPAs of 3.50.
Hooper, who ended her Bobcat career as the program’s all-time scoring leader, saw her final year limited to the season-ending Big Sky Conference Championship tournament because of an injury. She tied for 36th.
The area’s other WGCA All-Americans:
EWU: Alexa Clark, senior; Jaelin Ishikawa, junior; Morgan Baum, sophomore; Stephanie Chelack and Carisa Padilla, freshmen. It was the fourth WGCA honor for Clark, the third for Ishikawa and the second for Baum.
Gonzaga: Quynn Duong, jr.; Cassie Kim, so.; Federica Torre, jr.; Mary Scott Wolfe, fr. It was the second WGCA honor for Duong, Kim and Torre.
Washington State: Marie Lund-Hansen, fifth-year senior; Amy Chu, jr. It’s the third WGCA award for Chu.
Idaho: Laura Gerner, grad student.
• Daniel Roy of Spokane and two Washington State women earned College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America honors.
Roy, a Stanford junior from Gonzaga Prep, received first-team honors for having a GPA of 3.50 or better in engineering and competing in the national championships. The four-time All-American was fifth in the 2021 NCAA Division I men’s 200 breaststroke finals.
WSU senior Chloe Larson earned first-team honors for posting a 3.78 GPA in sports science and competing in the women’s 50 and 100 free at the NCAA Championships. Taylor McCoy, a senior from Pullman who competed in the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, was on the CSCAA second team (also called honorable mention) with a 4.00 GPA in political science. She had two NCAA “B” times.
To qualify for the first team, student-athletes must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and participate in the national championship. Second team must also have a minimum 3.50 GPA and achieve a “B” time for the national championship.
• Washington State senior Jessica Norris was a 2021 Pocock All-America honorable mention selection by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association. Norris competed in all but one regatta on WSU’s first varsity eight boat, helping the Cougars earn an at-large bid to the 2021 NCAA Rowing Championship. WSU finished 15th overall.
• Eastern Washington is ranked No. 16 in the 2021 HERO Sports Preseason FCS Top 25 football poll. Four other Big Sky Conference teams also are ranked – Montana State and Weber State tied at No. 7, Montana at No. 9 and Sacramento State tied at No. 23.
The Eastern Washington University football program filled two positions with the hiring of Ryan Groneman and Jake Rasmussen.
Groneman takes over as director of athletic performance. The 2000 graduate of Boise State, where he played four seasons as an offensive lineman, has been a strength and conditioning coach for 11 years, the last eight at the Division I level.
Rasmussen, a Spokane native and son of former EWU football assistant Rich Rasmussen, has been hired as director of football operations. The 2021 Eastern graduate with a degree in business marketing worked the last two years with the football team as assistant operations director.
Ben Tafoya of the Spokane Junior Rifle Club finished 59th overall and 39th in the J1 classification at the 2021 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships May 12-16 in Hillsdale, Michigan. The Gonzaga Prep student qualified by winning the men’s Washington State Junior Olympic Air Rifle Championship.
Taylor Christian of SJRC also qualified for nationals with a second-place finish in the women’s state championship, but the freshman member of the University of Memphis rifle team was unable to compete because of conflicts.
Track & field
Alycia Butterworth is a second former Idaho Vandal who will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The British Columbia native, who lives in Burnaby, will run the women’s 3,000m steeplechase for her native Canada.
Butterworth competed for Idaho from 2011-15, medaling at Western Athletic Conference Championships eight times and the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in 2015. She was WAC steeplechase champion in 2012 and 2014, has the second best steeplechase time in Idaho history and earned All-America honorable mention in 2015.
Vandals alum Liga Velvere will run the women’s 800 for her native Latvia in Tokyo.
Andrew Flanagan, who has spent nearly two years as an account executive for the Spokane Chiefs hockey team, is back for his second stint at Eastern Washington University. He has been hired as the school’s athletics ticket manager.
The native of Olympia, who has degrees from the University of Washington Tacoma (a bachelor’s in law and policy) and Gonzaga (a master’s in sport and athletic administration), was an Eagle Athletic Fund intern for three months during the summer of 2019.
• The University of Idaho has replaced its outdoor turf field located to the east of the Kibbie Dome with a new turf field thanks primarily to contributions from the DuRae Scott McDonald Foundation and Vandals alums Greg and Debra McDonald.
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