Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

ML grad Wagner dialing down career at CCS

When season is done he will pack up the cleats and head to class for Ed degree


Paul Delaney

Former Medical Lake standout athlete Cory Wagner pitches April 11 against Walla Walla. After this season, he plans to hang up the cleats and concentrate on a college education that includes a teaching degree, and hopefully coaching down the line.

For four years as a Medical Lake Cardinal, Cory Wagner did it all. He quarterbacked the football team in fall, was a basketball point guard during winter, then pitched and batted for the baseball team.

After graduation, he fine-tuned his game as a member of the Spokane Cannons AAA American Legion baseball team, helping guide them to state in 2016.

That work has paid off, with Wagner, a sophomore, earning not only a spot on the pitching-rich roster for the Community Colleges of Spokane Sasquatch baseball team, but a coveted spot in the starting rotation of a team in the hunt for a Northwest Association of Community Colleges title.

Spokane is chasing Yakima for first-place in the Eastern Region standings and the two will meet this Saturday, May 5, in Yakima in a doubleheader to possibly decide things. Yakima leads the East Region with an 18-2 record, but Spokane is right behind at 16-4.

According to the NWACC, cross-region playoffs will determine entries into the championship. Each regular season champion will automatically advance to the championship tourney. Four, three-team bracket-style tournaments will be hosted by each of the four regions' No. 2 seeded teams based on regular season league finish to fill the bracket,

Wagner sports a 6-2 won-lost record with a 2.86 ERA in 50 innings pitched, but has decided whenever the final out occurs, he will walk away from a sports career that has consumed much of his life.

College and an education degree beckon with Wagner's plans calling for him to pay it forward. "I'm not going to go away from the game," he said.

But to walk away, much like his older brother Ryan, now a teacher in the Cheney School District, was hardly easy. "It's been a long and stressful decision," he said.

"I look forward to getting my teaching degree in special education," Wagner said. "I hope to someday coach and teach kids all the stuff I've learned."

In the meantime, however, Wagner hopes his career lasts at least until May 24-28 when CCS shoots to be in the league tournament in Longview, Wash.

"Last year I was more of a reliever," Wagner said. "I never really knew when I was going to go in the game."

This year he earned the role as a starter and that got rid of a tremendous amount of uncertainty.

"I know exactly when I was going to pitch and I could pretty much get ready for the team I was going to play," Wagner said. Like clockwork, Wagner pitches every Wednesday, the second game of the doubleheader.

He gets to know what the lineup looks like and how to pitch to them. "Just getting in the rhythm has really benefitted me this year," Wagner said. Coaches and players are able to harvest bushels of stats from the Northwest Association of Community College website.

The preparation is certainly different than high school. "High school, you just went out there and threw, you didn't have a plan," Wagner said.

As a collegian, Wagner learned how to pitch better, what pitches to throw and where they needed to go.

"In high school, I was pretty much just a fastball down the middle," Wagner said. Now he relies a great deal on his off-speed stuff.

To earn a spot in the CCS four-pitcher starting rotation is the product of plain hard work, Wagner said.

As he ponders the future, which Wagner hopes will end up in the championship, he said his biggest takeaway aside from a possible title would be the relationships he's built and the lifelong friendships that he will carry beyond the days at the Ft. George Wright campus.

"It's been a good journey so far," Wagner said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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