SummerHawks American Legion team gets off to fast start but fades in day two of tournament
Like fireworks sometimes do, there can be the spectacular bangs, flashes and light shows.
Or they can occasionally be a dud.
That might best sum up the Cheney SummerHawks’ run through the Woodbat Classic in which they won convincingly in their opener 11-0 over Spanaway, Wash. but fell 6-3 to Regina, Saskatchewan on day one.
Then Friday, Cheney was crushed by the Spokane Dodgers Blue select team 16-3 and fell 8-0 to Mead. Saturday’s non-qualifier game was a 16-8 loss to Ferris.
“We had a fantastic first day of the tourney, beating Spanaway 11-0 and playing a very tough Regina team that ended up playing to get into the semis,” Cheney coach Randy Elam said.
Josh Arthur and Shane Hammel combined to one-hit Spanaway while Arthur, Hammel and Kyle Jones each had two hits.
Elam said he was proud of the team’s effort, especially considering Cheney’s lack of depth to begin with and having players come up sick and hurt.
“Connor Pratt, pitching on just two days rest, pitched his heart out and did a tremendous job,” against Regina, Elam said. Pratt got tired in the fifth and Hammel came on to close out the game.
After Cheney led 2-0 early, the visitors rallied, scoring two runs in both the fourth and fifth and an important insurance run in the top of the sixth.
Elam said his team had its best chance in the sixth with two runners in scoring position and needing a base hit to close the gap. Bubba Smith nearly got that hit as he ripped a ball right up the middle at the Regina pitcher. “It was one of those excuse me, I'm protecting myself things,” Elam said of the great play the pitcher made to catch the ball and make the out.
“It was a tough break for us because the ball would have gotten into center field and scored two, giving us a very good chance to sneak a victory in the seventh,” Elam said. Arthur and Jones each had two hits for the SummerHawks.
The rest of the tournament proved to be pretty rough on Cheney, Elam said. “We got it handed to us by the Dodgers and then Mead.”
Everything the Dodgers hit found a hole, Elam said as the winners collected 17 hits and led 12-0 after just three innings. “The bright spot was Bubba (Smith) breaking up the no-hitter with a base hit in the fourth,” Elam said.
“We really struggled both defensively and offensively against Mead and lost 8-0,” Elam said. “The final day game against Ferris was a good one for us into the fifth. We had a one-run lead only to watch Ferris score 12 or 13 on us.”
Overall, there were some good things that happened for the SummerHawks in the tourney, Elam said. “But really, what we need is a few days off to rest and get healthy before jumping back into to league play on Wednesday against Shadle.”
Shadle leads the National League with a 13-1 record. Colville is 12-2 while Cheney is 9-7 after splitting a pair of games last Tuesday against Central Valley, winning 9-6 before losing 16-15 in the nightcap.
After the pair of games versus Shadle, the SummerHawks close out the league portion of the schedule Saturday when they host North Central. Cheney then travels for a Sunday non-league game at Medical Lake at 7 p.m..
“Our playoff chances are looking real good,” Elam said. “The way I see it, we need to win one of the next three to get in and I'm confident this group of boys will get it done.”
Cheney will play the remainder of the season with Mike Cagle as head coach. “This was our plan before the season started, that he would come back after the Fourth,” Elam said. “I am going to continue to help out as an assistant.” Cagle will take over from Elam next spring as the Cheney High head baseball coach.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.