Articles written by Bob Kirkpatrick


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  • Summer Hawks season ends with a loss to Colville

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 21, 2022

    CHENEY— The Summer Hawks dropped an 8-6 district playoff game to Colville on Saturday, July 16. The loss eliminated Cheney from postseason play. The Summer Hawks finished summer ball with a 17–17 record. “I thought the summer was a huge success—we’re a very young team that competed in every game,” Coach Rod Beamer said. “The growth of these young men was amazing—the bright future for Cheney Baseball.” Colville jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Summer Hawks brought four runs across the plate wi...

  • Cannons crowned district champion

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 21, 2022

    CHENEY-The Spokane Cannons took two of three ball games over this past weekend on the diamond at Medical Lake High School to claim the Spokane American Legion Senior District Championship. "Winning the district championship was pretty cool," Coach Austin Sharp said. "Losing the first game was a heart breaker for the boys after leading 5–1 going into the sixth. We committed a couple of errors and were down 9–5 going into the bottom of the seventh but came back to tie it, 9-a...

  • Fatality on 1st Street

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 14, 2022

    CHENEY -A collision between a Kia and a Vespa Scooter near Papa Murphy's around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, turned tragic when the two vehicles collided and the driver of the scooter was pinned under the sedan. "The driver of the Kia was coming off Second on to 1st and was turning north-the Vespa was heading southbound and the driver of the Kia failed to yield and they collided," Detective Jeff Weldon with the Spokane Valley Police Department said. "The Vespa hit the front...

  • Cannons receive berth to State

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 14, 2022

    CHENEY— The Spokane Cannons (9–3) claimed the top spot in summer league competition with a 5–1 win over the Spokane Bandits on July 5 and have secured a spot in the State Tournament on July 23 and 24. “We get an automatic berth to because we placed first in league play,” Head Coach Austin Sharp said. “We’ll just be playing for seeding in the upcoming district tournament.” The Cannons jumped out to a 2–0 lead in the top of the first inning. The score held up until the team posted three more runs on the board in the sixth to w...

  • Summer Hawks take four of six games

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 14, 2022

    CHENEY—The Summer Hawks continue to build momentum heading toward the district playoff, having won four of their last six games, outscoring opponents 50-30. Cheney 14 Reardan 1 Cheney dominated twin bill action against Reardan on Tuesday, July 5, to push their win streak to three games. The Summer Hawks got it going early, bringing three runs across the dish in the bottom of the first inning. Cheney then exploded for nine runs in the home half of the second on the strength of a two-run triple to center field by Tyler Ashcroft...

  • Cannons drop games at Bat Classic

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 7, 2022

    MEDICAL LAKE-The Cannons are finding things difficult in the Spokane Wood Bat Classic, having dropped their first four games. The teams lost a close opener, 8-6, to Bellingham Post 7 on Friday afternoon on July 1 and then were turned back that evening by the Saskatoon Diamondbacks 9-4. The Cannons ran into a buzz saw in the Withnell Dodgers on Saturday afternoon, July 2, dropping an 11-0 contest at Medical Lake High School. Things looked promising initially for the Cannons as...

  • Summer Hawks snap losing streak

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jul 7, 2022

    CHENEY—The Summer Hawks got what the doctor ordered in a dominating 9-1 win over West Valley on Sunday, July 3, to end a seven-game losing streak. Tyler Ashcroft led the Cheney attack from the plate and the bump, going 2-for-3 with a triple and 2 RBI and tossing a masterful five-inning game, allowing one run off four hits and fanning nine batters. “Ty is just a great competitor,” Coach Rob Beamer said. “You know you’ll get all he has on the mound and at the dish.” The Cheney bats were sizzling from the get-go as the Summer...

  • Gas leak closes portion of Presley Drive

    Bob Kirkpatrick|Updated Jun 30, 2022

    CHENEY- A gas leak on Tuesday morning near Salnave Elementary led to the evacuation of staff and nearby residents. Cheney Fire Department and emergency personnel responded to the incident around 10 a.m. after receiving a call from the Cheney School District. "Someone at Salnave Elementary smelled the gas and based on the wind and the levels we were getting, we evacuated two blocks," Cheney Fire Chief Tom Jenkins said. "A private contractor was driving a dump truck full of...

  • Summer Hawks continue strong play

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jun 30, 2022

    CHENEY-The Cheney Summer Hawks are finding success on the diamond, sporting a 10–5 record heading toward the Wood Bat Classic Tournament on the Fourth of July weekend. The team split a doubleheader with Lakeside on Monday, June 27 and has chalked up "Ws" in three of its past five games. Cheney 6, 3 Lakeside 3, 4 The Summer Hawks took the first game of the twin bill, 6–3. Cheney got out of the game early, sending 10 batters to the plate and pushing four runs across the dish in...

  • Schools out for summer

    Bob Kirkpatrick|Updated Jun 23, 2022

    Early dismissal on Friday, June 17 signals the end of the 2021-22 school year at Cheney High School....

  • Longtime teacher and track coach retires

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jun 23, 2022

    CHENEY – After 36 years of teaching and 30-plus years coaching track and field, Tom Stralser is retiring. "It's been quite a journey," Stralser said. "I came to Cheney High School (CHS) in 1990 and started coaching in 1992. Before that I was a teacher and the head boys and girls track coach at Riverside High School." Stralser taught biology at both institutions and was the 1994 Washington State Biology Teacher of the Year. He began his coaching stint at CHS as an assistant for...

  • Summer Hawks on a heater

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jun 23, 2022

    CHENEY – After splitting their first four games of summer ball, the Cheney Summer Hawks have chalked up five wins in their last six outings. Cheney took a twin bill from the North Central Wolf Pack, 11-1 on June 15 and 12-2 on June 16, dropped a 4-3 game to Gonzaga Prep on June 17, swept a doubleheader from the East Valley Knights, 14-4 and 12-1 on Saturday, June 18 and rolled past Lewis & Clark 11-2 on June 20. The Summer Hawks pounded out 53 hits to their opponents 28 over the six-game stretch. “We are stressing better fun...

  • Summer Hawks split first four games

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jun 22, 2022

    CHENEY—The Cheney Boys of summer took on the Colfax Bulldogs in doubleheader action on Wednesday, June 1 and came away with a split of the twin bill. The Summer Hawks took the first game 6–1 and were shut out 3–0 in the nightcap. Cheney batters combined for 10 hits in 38 plate appearances. Tate Hueschkel went the distance in Game 1, giving up a run off three hits and fanning six batters. Gonzaga Prep 12 Cheney 7 The Summer Hawks dropped a 12–7 game to Gonzaga Prep on Monday, June 6. Prep led 5–2 after two innings were in t...

  • Medical Lake Graduation

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated Jun 22, 2022

    Sat., June 11, 2022 at the Northern Quest Pavilion, Airway Heights, Wash....

  • Fathers Day: A tip of the hat or bend of the bill

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Editor|Updated Jun 16, 2022

    For me, Father’s Day is met with mixed emotions. As is the case for millions of other children, I did not have a positive father figure in my life, the impact of which significantly altered how I viewed the world. My birth father was killed in a car accident when I was 5 years old. My mother remarried a man who was abusive to her, my four sisters and me. The marriage failed. My second stepdad was equally abusive. That marriage ran its course and ended in divorce when my sisters and I were in our teens. My third stepdad was a...

  • Cheney Graduation

    Bob Kirkpatrick|Updated Jun 16, 2022

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  • Medical Emergency

    Bob Kirkpatrick|Updated Jun 9, 2022

    EMS personnel from Spokane County Fire District 3 wheel a motorist to an awaiting ambulance. The man was heading east on Hwy 904 at about 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 3, when he experienced a medical emergency and drove off the thoroughfare near Lance Hill Road. Neither he nor his German Shepard were injured in the incident....

  • Cheney Fastpitch season ends with loss to Kennewick

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 25, 2022

    CHENEY— The Blackhawks were looking to make a deep postseason run. But a district first-round forfeit to Walla Walla and a second-round 7-5 loss to Kennewick on May 18 knocked Cheney out of the playoff and ended the teams’ season. “We had early problems —gave up 4 runs in the first inning and dug ourselves a big hole,” Coach Gary Blake said. “That’s kinda been our problem all year—getting down early in games and then having to find a way to back in them.” The Lions brought another run across the dish in the bottom of the fou...

  • Westwood student shares unforgettable experience

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 25, 2022

    CHENEY-Caitlin Shaffer, an 8th-grade para-athlete at Westwood Middle School, had an experience of a lifetime playing in the Women's Nationals Wheel chair Basketball Tournament in Akron, Ohio, in late April. "We played five games against paraolympians. One of our teammates tried out for the team earlier this year-she didn't make it but she's going to tryout again next year," Caitlin said. "We were there for two days. It was really special for me. I learned new ways to play (bas...

  • Cheney Track sends 12 to State

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 25, 2022

    CHENEY—Cheney Track and Field athletes turned in an outstanding performance at the 3A/4A District 8 Championship Meet May 20–21 at Central Valley High School. Several personal records were set at the event, and 12 athletes qualified for the WIAA State Championship Meet on May 26–28 at Mount Tahoma Stadium. “The weather threw everyone for a loop, but we had an amazing weekend. Each team placed fifth,” Coach Derek Slaughter said. “We had a lot of athletes beat their rankings and that makes me happy as a coach because tha...

  • Eastern athletes advance to West Preliminaries

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 25, 2022

    CHENEY— Five Eastern Washington University athletes will compete in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Fayetteville, Ark., this week. Katrina Terry, pole vault, Vernice Keyes, hammer throw and Maggie Nelson, javelin, take center stage on Thursday, May 26. Bobby Say, triple jump and Alex Bishop, high jump, compete on Friday, May 27. “I am very excited that Katrina Terry, Maggie Nelson, and Vernice Keyes get to cap of their senior seasons by qualifying for the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Meet,” Coach Marcia Meckl...

  • Spring training

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Free Press Publishing|Updated May 19, 2022

    The Eastern Washington University Army ROTC unit conducted a repelling exercise at the Spokane County Fire District 3 Station 31 facility at 10 S. Presley Drive in Cheney last week. The unit was honing its skills in preparation for an advanced training camp later this summer at Ft. Knox in Kentucky....

  • Girls Fastpitch forfeits game

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 19, 2022

    CHENEY— The Blackhawks were scheduled to take on the Blue Devils in first-round district action at the SportsPlex in Walla Walla on Saturday, May 14. But the team was unable to play the game because Cheney High School Prom night was taking place that evening. Eight players would be out of the lineup, including battery mates Maddie McDowell and Pyper Cagle and shortstop Parker Cagle, all key starters in the Blackhawks’ infield. So Cheney was forced to forfeit the game and now face elimination should they lose their next gam...

  • Blackhawks baseball done for the season

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 19, 2022

    CHENEY — Back-to-back losses to Kennewick and Southridge last week bounced Cheney out of the district tournament and closed the book on the Blackhawks season. Cheney matched up with No. 1 ranked Kennewick in the opening round on Saturday, May 7 and suffered a lopsided 13-3 loss to the Lions. The Blackhawks needed a win over the Suns to stay alive but came up on the short end of the scoreboard, 6–1. Kennewick 13 Cheney 3 Cheney went down in order in the top of the first inn...

  • Eastern volleyball adds two coaches

    Bob Kirkpatrick, Cheney Free Press|Updated May 12, 2022

    CHENEY-Grayson DuBose and Taylor Muff join the ranks of the Eastern Eagles volleyball coaching staff. Head Coach Jon Haruguchi announced the news in a Thursday, May 5 press release. DuBose was the head volleyball coach at Utah State from 2006 to 2019. Muff is a former two-time all-conference Big Sky player at the University of Northern Colorado. Haruguchi is her former coach. "I am so excited to have Grayson joining us here at Eastern. He brings a wealth of knowledge with...

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