By Paul Delaney
Cheney Free Press 

Area teams exit early at state tournaments


Last updated 7/27/2023 at 2:14pm

Combined, three West Plains American Legion teams entered their respective state tournaments with nearly 100 victories.

They left back for home from their journeys last week with just one win between them.

In Senior AAA play in Centralia the Spokane Cannons were limited to one run and six hits in losses to Hilander Dental, 5-1, July 22 and 1-0 to Yakima Pepsi Park for following day in the double-elimination tournament at Centralia, Wash..

The Cannons, with their big West Plains roster presence, finished 31-14 on the season and reached state for a third consecutive season.

The Cheney AA Summer Hawks exited their tournament in Burlington, Wash. with a 1-2 record, falling to the host Burlington Sox, 5-3 on July 22 and beat a familiar foe in Gonzaga Prep 5-4, July 23. They were ousted by another Eastside team, Chewelah, 11-5 on July 24 and finished the season 21-8.

The normally offensively potent Single-A Medical Lake Dirt Dawgs, — who put up double-digit scores on multiple occasions his season — also suffered from offensive anemia. They had losses of 10-3 to Northern Lakes to open the tournament played at Shadle’s AK Jackson Field and were sent packing July 23 by the Northwest Sting, 5-1.

The Dirt Dawgs, in only their second season, reached state for the second year and were 25-15.



Cannons fizzle at plate

Spokane had an ever-so-brief 1-0 lead before Hilander Dental from Vancouver scored three times in their half of the second, adding insurance runs. Carson Jeffries had two of the four Cannons hits and scored his team’s lone run.

Yakima scored their winning run with two outs by stringing together three consecutive base hits off starting pitcher Luke Dickey. The Cannons could do little offensively and were limited to a pair of base hits from Eli Chabot, plus two walks. They struck out 11 times.

Going into the tournament, Cannons’ head coach Austin Sharp noted referenced a coach’s commentary. “He said pitching and defense will win games, hitting wins tournaments.”

Coming out of state, Sharp wrote in a text message, “That quote was absolutely true.” He admits his biggest mistake “Was not having our guys play a few games between districts and state.”

He exhausted all efforts to get in some practice innings, “And the bats were cold for two days at state.”

“I think that even with a disappointing showing at state, our guys had a real nice season,” Sharp said. “We won 12 more games than any other season I coached, swept league, won districts again and have five guys going to play college ball next year.”



Summer Hawks score one win

Burlington unloaded early, leading 5-0 after their first two plate appearances with Sox pitcher Tyler Walker allowing just two hits and three walks in five innings.

Dawes Hanson went 3-for-3 for the Summer Hawks with Miles Hoover, Grayson Burton and Coleman Randles scoring runs.

“We played well our first game then some nervousness got us in the first inning and we spotted Burlington three runs,” head coach Rob Beamer wrote in a text message. “Then we settled in and played great.”

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh against G-Prep, Jacob Ulrich walked. Then came a pair of wild pitches that allowed Ulrich’s courtesy runner, Tate Heuschkel to reach third. Dawes Hanson hit a ground ball to the Prep shortstop that resulted in an error and allowed Cheney the walk-off win.

“Beating a team you play in season is always nice,” Beamer said.

Despite playing in the same league, but in different divisions, Cheney and Chewelah were meeting for the first time.

The Cougars erased a 2-0 Summer Hawks lead with a five-run third and then tacked on two runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to seal the win. Cheney’s three-run seventh was too little, too late.

Cheney had just five hits, one each from Randles, Ulrich, Hoover, Nolan McKinnon and Tank Best.

“I think we just ran out of gas and Chewelah was ready,” Beamer suggested. “The season was a huge success we had lots of success and a ton of growth which is going to set us up for next spring.”



Dirt Dawgs done in two

Medical Lake could not play effective catch-up after falling behind 5-0 to Northern Lakes after three innings and a five-run fifth sealed it.

Of the Dirt Dawgs’ eight hits, Levi Wills, Zac Boyd and Cooper Danekas each had two.

Giving up 10 walks and committing four errors aided Northern Lakes’ offense which was limited to five hits.

Against NW Sting, Medical Lake scored in its first at-bat when Levi Brower’s single drove Danekas home. But that was all the offense the Dirt Dawgs could provide. Brower and Aiden Fontenot each had two hits for ML.

“The season didn’t end the way we planned, but does not take away the fact that it was successful,” head coach Lance Michaud wrote in an email.

“I am a super proud coach, love these boys and I hope I taught them something they will put in their tool bag and enhance it in their own way,” Michaud added.


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