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Tom Wyrwich covers High School Sports for The Seattle Times.

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April 30, 2008 1:47 PM

"Young & Done" follow-up

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Yesterday I had a pair of stories on arm injuries to young pitchers -- how they happen and how they change kids' lives (if you haven't read them, here's the main story and the sidebar on WIAA rules).

The evidence strongly points to most injuries being the result of overuse, particularly kids throwing too many pitches. We at the Times have heard of high-schoolers throwing as many as 158 pitches in a game this season. That's more than any major-leaguer threw last season.

I want to make this clear: no state has a pitch-count rule, so this is not only a Washington issue. The president of the Washington Baseball Coaches Association said he's worried about administering a pitch-count limit, who would track it and what arguments it could spur on the field.

Undoubtedly, pitch counts are only one dimension of a more complicated problem. But they are the most quantitative way to measure how far a pitcher has gone, and to judge if he has hit fatigue (remember, throwing past fatigue increases the risk of surgery 36 times).

So would you welcome a pitch-count rule, and what else can be done to help pitchers avoid going under the knife?

Morning stars

1. Spencer Graham, Kentridge, baseball. In a 21-16 game -- 21-16! -- he had three home runs and seven RBI, including a grand slam in the fifth.

2. Justin Veltung, Puyallup, boys soccer. Had three assists in a 3-0 win that clinched the SPSL South for the Vikings.

3. Cody Porter, Lake Stevens, baseball. Went 3-for-4 with a home run for Lake Stevens, which scored two runs in the seventh for an 8-7 win.

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April 29, 2008 3:27 PM

Kickoff Classic matchups announced

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

The matchups for the next fall's Emerald City Kickoff Classic, Sept. 6 at Qwest Field have been announced:

9:30 a.m. Cascade Christian vs. Fife
Noon Eastside Catholic vs. Eisenhower
3:00 p.m. Puyallup vs. Bellarmine Prep
5:30 p.m. Kennedy vs. Kentwood
8:00 p.m. Punahou (Hawaii) vs. Central Kitsap

The annual volleyball invitational, on Sept. 5 at Eastlake will feature these schools:

Bellarmine Prep
Central Kitsap High School
Eastlake High School
Punahou School (Hawaii)

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April 29, 2008 9:25 AM

Best Baseball Fields

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

Baseball and softball bring new meaning to "home-field advantage." Of course any home team (ideally) has the majority of fans, less travel and the familiarity of the venue. But unlike any other sports, baseball and softball actually give teams a clear advantage as every field's dimensions are different and being the home team give you the always-important last at-bat.

In other ground-breaking news, I learned this morning that water is wet and the sky is blue.

Anyway, I've covered baseball and softball games all over Western Washington and seen a wide range of fields. On one hand, you have the fields with overgrown grass, rocky infields and no fences. I've also covered games at Everett Memorial and Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center -- two of the best in the area.

What fields stand out to you? As a fan/spectator, what kind of features will keep you coming back? Overhangs? Good food? Comfortable seats?

The comment section is your sandbox. Have at it!

Morning stars:

1. Matt Boyd, Eastside Catholic, baseball. Fired a three-hit, complete-game shutout as the Crusaders tagged Blanchet with its first loss, 5-0. Boyd improved to 7-0, striking out 11 and walking none. He helped his own cause at the plate, going 3-3.

2. Brittany Allen, Archbishop Murphy, fastpitch. Threw an 11-inning no-hitter and struck out 25 -- TWENTY FIVE! -- in a 1-0 win over Granite Falls. Archbishop Murphy's one hit? Allen, of course.

3. Derek Jones, Snohomish, baseball. The WSU-bound senior threw seven scoreless as the Panthers blanked Monroe 3-0 in a WesCo North showdown.

Today's top games

Monroe vs. Snohomish, baseball, 4 p.m. at Marshall Field. Huge WesCo North game between teams tied for first in the division, with identical 15-3 records.

Shorewood vs. Jackson, boys soccer, 7 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium. Shorewood can take a sizable lead in the WesCo South with a win.

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April 28, 2008 10:11 AM

What's your take on consolation games?

Posted by Sandy Ringer

With the news Friday that the Class 3A girls and boys basktball tournaments are heading back to Tacoma, primarily because of budget considerations, I am interested in your thoughts about the need for consolation games at state.

I am not necessarily a fan of the "one-and-done," single-elimination format for basketball. For teams coming from Eastern Washington, it's a long, expensive trip for that (although Eastern Washington teams traditionally fare well). But what about a two-game guarantee? Teams that lose in the first round would get one consolation game the following day, then that's it.

It seems most coaches favor the current format. But, I have to tell you, I have sat through countless consolation games with only a handful of fans in the stands. Sometimes, even the cheerleaders don't show. If schools are not going to support their teams in the loser's bracket, maybe some of those games should be eliminated.

Many other sports, like soccer and baseball, for instance, feature single-elimination state brackets once they reach the round of 16 -- other than games to decide third and fourth places after the semifinals.

What's your take on consolation games, especially in basketball?

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April 25, 2008 1:09 PM

3A hoops tournament moving back to Tacoma, plus transfer rules change

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Just got back from the WIAA Rep Assembly meeting, where there were three especially big pieces of news:

-The 3A basketball tournaments are moving back to the Tacoma Dome. Seattle just didn't work. Not enough fans, too much rent for two facilities. The crowds simply didn't justify the expense. The fact now is the tournament will likely only return in two circumstances:

1) The format goes to a single elimination tournament, where the boys and girls tournaments can be played in one facility.
2) Someone builds a facility in Seattle big enough to hold two tournaments at once, like the Tacoma Dome and the SunDome.

As a result, the 2A tournament will move back to the SunDome in Yakima, and there's some concern about whether the SunDome can handle the crowds.

-The Rep Assembly passed an amendment that will force all athletes who transfer within their school district to meet the WIAA guidelines for eligibility. Previously, these athletes -- like those who transfer between schools in the Seattle School District -- only had to meet district guidelines.

This could have a huge effect on the amount of transfers in Seattle and Spokane, particularly in basketball and football. All athletes who don't move with their parent or guardian into their new school's attendance area will have to prove what the WIAA calls a "hardship." If they can't, they have to sit out a year while playing JV.

-Another passed amendment, brought on by the Archbishop Murphy fiasco last fall, allows for a school to appeal a penalty for using an ineligible participant because of an "inadvertent error," which is defined as "a mechanical, electronic, or clerical (incorrect posting) or an incorrecto interpretation or application of the Rules and Regulations."

But will the amendment change what happened to Archbishop Murphy? Maybe not. Remember, what happened with Archbishop Murphy was that coach and athletic director Terry Ennis was dying from cancer as a football player's physical lapsed, and no one directed the player to get a new physical. It was human error, extraordinarily understandable human error, in that situation, and not a clerical error or one of interpretation. So perhaps it wouldn't have changed the Archbisophy Murphy result, but it could give another school a chance to avoid losing its season for a minor error.

Interesting amendments that failed:

-An amendment that would have changed the penalty for a lapsed physical from a team forfeit to an individual suspension.

-An amendment to add high school girls lacrosse as a WIAA-sanctioned sport.

-An amendment to change the classification cycles from two to four years.

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April 25, 2008 8:07 AM

Races to watch down the spring stretch

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Some leagues are less than two weeks away from the postseason, and many are far from decided. Here are four conference races I'm watching down the stretch.

Metro Mountain baseball. It doesn't get much better than this. Eastside Catholic and Bishop Blanchet are each 13-0 in the league, and they'll play each other -- according to our schedule -- on Monday and Wednesday. Monday is at Lower Woodland, and Wednesday is at Eastside Catholic. Should be two great games.

KingCo 4A softball. Four teams have a better than .700 record, but the other three are all trying to knock of Woodinville, which has started 11-0. The Falcons play the other three -- Eastlake, Juanita and Lake Washington -- down the stretch. Devan McComb and Kaaren Hatlen combined for a no-hitter of Ballard last night to keep Woodinville undefeated.

WesCo North boys soccer. Both Snohomish and Marysville-Pilchuck have been ranked in the top 25 in the most recent adidas national poll, and two points separate those two teams, which split their two meeting this season. But don't forget about Cascade, which is right up there, too. In WesCo South, Shorewood is 11-1-1, with two wins over second-place Shorecrest.

KingCo 3A baseball. Skyline took the league lead Thursday with 10-5 win against Newport, but this league's far from decided. Six teams are just three games off the division lead, including last year's state champ, Issaquah, Newport and Liberty.

Morning stars

1. Mark Sleighter, Nathan Hale, baseball. Hit a grand slam and finished with 5 RBI in an 18-8 win against Cleveland.

2. Brittany Tri, Lake Stevens, girls track. Won four events -- the high jump, long jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles -- in one meet.

3. Doug Earley, Rainier Christian, baseball. Had two home runs, two of five for Rainier Christian in an 11-3 win against Quilcene.

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April 24, 2008 3:00 PM

Prep QB posts scholarship offers online

Posted by Joshua Mayers

You ever wonder what a written scholarship from a college football coach -- say Tyrone Willingham -- looks like?

Quarterback Tate Forcier, a touted junior from San Diego, has the solution. He has posted 21 letters with formal offers from schools like Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Washington and Washington State.

I thought it was interesting to see what coaches try to sell and what approach they take. An article I saw on also took interest and noticed a couple trends. I like this paragraph:

Thanks to Forcier, we know that Harbaugh believes Stanford represents "the greatest combination of academic and athletic excellence in existence." We know LSU has yet to order new letterhead since winning the 2007 BCS title. We know that Oklahoma State coach Mike "I'm a man!" Gundy writes the same way he talks -- with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
I thought it was amusing that all the offers had an out clause -- say if Forcier doesn't qualify, gets injured, etc. -- except for WSU.

What do you think of this courting of a prospect made public? Should that stuff be kept private or is it victimless fun?

Morning stars

1. Colton Bielaski, Bellevue baseball -- The senior threw an eight-inning five-hit shutout against defending 3A champ Issaquah and also had the game-winning hit: a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth off the centerfield fence. He's won three straight.

2. Kelvin Ketchum, Beamer baseball -- Threw a four-hitter against Puyallup, the state's top-ranked 4A team, to break the Vikings' 14-game winning streak. Also scored two runs for the Titans and has won three straight decisions.

3. Maniqua Sanchez, Tyee softball -- Struck out 18 (!) in a seven-inning no-hitter against Highline!

4. Vasily Bogdanoff, Lake Stevens boys soccer -- The sophomore forward had his best game at the best time. Scoring twice and recording an assist in a 4-1 win over Cascade.

5. Ciaran Regan, Shorewood boys soccer -- Recorded a hat trick, which account for half of his season's goals, in a 3-1 win over Kamiak. All three came in the second half: 50', 63', 78'.

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April 24, 2008 9:15 AM

Eason Invitational Will Not Be Rescheduled

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

The 20th annual Eason Invite in Snohomish will have to wait a year. After snow cancelled the event last Saturday, Snohomish track and field coach and meet director Tuck Gionet said there would be a chance that the meet could be moved to May 3. But with so many scheduling conflicts, they called off the meet for 2008.

"We decided, heck, it's once every 30 years you're going to get something like this so we decided not to reschedule it,” Gionet said. “I felt bad for three groups: parents who put so much time and effort into it. Two, I felt bad for our kids and our seniors. And the third thing, all the athletes. We treat the kids to a great day of track and field and for the athletes to miss the opportunity is disappointing."

Gionet and his sons went to Veterans Memorial Stadium at 4 a.m. last Saturday to see the conditions. After spending time trying to clear about four inches of snow off the track and seeing the poor conditions elsewhere, Gionet collaborated with the Snohomish AD and decided to cancel the event.

But on the bright side, they won't need to reprint or reorder new t-shirts and trophies for next year.

"We don't need to get any new t-shirts because it will be the 20th again," joked Gionet. "It'll work out. Next year will be bigger and better than ever."

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April 23, 2008 9:25 AM

Snow in April. (Sigh).

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

There are appropriate times and places for snow. Like the winter. Or Antarctica. But April and snow go together like oil and water. It's inconvenient, it's annoying and it's -- brrr -- COLD!

While it might now affect many, it caused headaches for many in the high school sports world over the weekend.

There were baseball, softball and soccer games snowed out -- and it takes a lot to cancel a soccer game, so you know it must've been falling pretty good. The biggest snowout of all was probably at Snohomish's Eason Invitational, a track and field meet featuring over 50 schools and 1,000 athletes. Like soccer, it takes a lot to cancel a track meet, but this one is a biggie, with rescheduling that many schools and athletes a logistics nightmare.

But hey, the skiing is probably good. Yeah. Go skiing. In April. It's snowing in April.

Morning stars:

1. Shane Elliott, Federal Way, baseball. Went 3-3 with three homers, eight (eight!) RBIs and four runs scored in the Eagles' 15-4 win over Tahoma.

2. Colby Sokol, Emerald Ridge, baseball. Went 3-3 with two homers, a double and five RBIs in a 10-0 win over Spanaway Lake.

3. Paul Clingan, Mountlake Terrace, baseball. Went 2-4 with four RBIs and the go-ahead two-run HR in the top of the seventh as Terrace beat Meadowdale 4-3.

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April 22, 2008 10:27 AM

Washington State Baseball Poll, week 4

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Here's the newest version of Lem Elway's Washington State Baseball Poll, with records provided by Elway. Puyallup is the new No. 1 in 4A, and Bishop Blanchet remains the No. 1 team in 3A.


1. Puyallup (15-1)
2. Richland (9-1)
3. Redmond (14-2)
4. Mead (13-1)
5. Snohomish (13-2)
6. University (12-2)
7. Jackson (11-2)
8. Woodinville (11-4)
9. Kentlake (13-2)
10. Olympia (13-2)


1. Blanchet (13-0)
2. Eastside Catholic (14-1)
3. Mt. Rainier (15-1)
4. Kelso (15-0)
5. Capital (10-1)
6. Liberty (9-5)
7. W. Valley, Yakima (8-3)
8. Skyline (10-4)
9. Ferndale (13-2)
10. Southridge (8-2)


1. Ellensburg (13-1)
2. River Ridge (11-1)
3. W. Valley, Spokane (11-1)
4. WF West (12-1)
5. Sehome (13-2))
6. Selah (12-3)
7. Cheney (10-3)
8. Lynden (12-4)
9. Cedarcrest (12-5)
10.Eatonville (11-3)


1. Friday Harbor (12-0)
2. Kio-Benton (11-1)
3. Freeman (9-0)
4. Teninio (9-1)
5. Naches (12-2)
6. Warden (12-1)
7. Rochester (7-2)
8. Lakeside (11-3)
9. River View (10-3)
10. Cascade (10-6)

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April 21, 2008 11:07 AM

Top ingredients to a good coach?

Posted by Sandy Ringer

With several key coaching positions open (including the head boys basketball job at Garfield), I got to wondering: What all goes into making a good coach, beyond the X's and O's?

How key is head coaching experience? When is it worth taking a chance on a younger guy looking for his first big break? How important are previous win-loss records?

Do you like coaches who rule with an iron fist, so to speak, or ones who take more of the buddy-buddy approach? What kind of language is appropriate? Are occasional four-letter words OK in practice? Up front, I'll tell you I'm very old-school in that regard and don't think high-school kids need to hear swearing from adults who are supposed to be their role models.

What about the screamers and yellers? Would you like your kid to play for someone who publicly chews him or her out during a game for a mistake? Again, old-school me would not appreciate that approach.

If you were on an interview committee, what kind of criteria would matter most to you?

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April 19, 2008 10:19 AM

Update on MI legend Quin Snyder

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

I spent three years following Quin Snyder, the Mercer Island legend who went on to play and coach at Duke before landing at Missouri, which is where our paths crossed. For those three years covering him as a cub reporter, I saw him near his best -- leading the Tigers to the Elite Eight -- and then near his worst -- explaining NCAA violations, testifying in court, and losing the faith he quickly built with so many fans across the Show-Me State.

When I visited Mercer Island High School in February, I couldn't help but think of the promise he held when he played there. He legitimately fulfilled much of it. He was a two-time Star Times pick, made three Final Fours as a player, left Duke with a law degree from one of the best academic schools in the country. Yet the scandals of his last four years at Missouri might follow him wherever he goes.

I bring this up because ESPN reporter Jeff Pearlman -- who told the controversial John Rocker story for SI and wrote an excellent book on Barry Bonds -- wrote about Snyder from Austin, where he's coaching in the NBA's developmental league. It's an interesting read.

Morning stars

1. Amanda Fitzsimmons, Auburn Riverside, softball. Pitched a five-inning perfect game, and also went 4-for-4 with a triple in a 10-0 win against Auburn Mountainview.

2. Patrick Bliss, Stanwood, baseball. Went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run in a 3-2 win against Snohomish.

3. Cameron Cutter, Bishop Blanchet, baseball. Hit a three-run home run in the first inning, setting the tone for a 7-5 win against Seattle Prep.

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April 18, 2008 3:37 PM

Prep pitcher in Japan throws 250 pitches

Posted by Joshua Mayers

In less than two innings, mind you.

I was passed along this story from coworker Michael Chin, so all the credit goes to him for this find.

We're taken to Tokyo, where a young prep pitcher from Kawamoto technical high school was hit for 66 (!) runs in less than two innings. In the first inning 26 runs were scored, 40 runs came across in a fraction of the second. At that point, 250 pitches later, the coach threw in the towel.

"At that pace the pitcher would have thrown around 500 pitches in four innings," Kawamoto's coach was quoted as saying. "There was a danger he could get injured."
No word on whether the kid's arm has fallen off, but I imagine at least his psyche took a damaging blow.

Apparently, there's only one capable pitcher on that team. Could no one have done at least an equal, if not better, job on the mound.

Kind of brings a new light to the sportsmanship debate. The score will go down as 9-0 in the record books, an attempt in hindsight to cover up the debacle it seems.

Yikes! Any thoughts?

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April 18, 2008 10:26 AM

The best baseball player in state history

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

At least four of us on staff had a long debate in the office yesterday, trying to figure out the best pitcher and the best baseball player, period, in the history of the state of Washington. And instead of narrowing it down, we simply continued extending the list of possibilities. Here's the names I jotted down (for real this time):

Ron Santo, Franklin
John Olerud, Interlake
Jason Schmidt, Kelso
Ron Cey, Mount Tahoma
Floyd Bannister, Kennedy
Larry Christenson, Marysville
Ryne Sandberg, North Central
Grady Sizemore, Cascade
Mel Stottlemyre, Mabton
Todd Stottlemyre, Davis
Randy Myers, Evergreen (Vancouver)
Adam Eaton, Snohomish
Richie Sexson, Prairie
Travis Lee, Capital

Some reader-suggested names:

Earl Averill, Snohomish
Fred Hutchinson, Franklin
Jeff Heath, Garfield
Travis Snider, Jackson
Morning stars

1. Josh Sale, Bishop Blanchet, baseball. Hit a three-run home run in a big seventh inning in which Blanchet broke a 1-1 tie open for a 7-2 victory.

2. Jessica Barry, Newport, softball. Struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in seven innings in a 9-0 win against Mercer Island.

3. Katie Somers, Mount Si, golf. Shot an even par 36 -- 11 strokes ahead of anyone else -- at Bellevue Municipal.

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April 17, 2008 11:04 AM

UPDATE: Garfield softball players OK after bus crash

Posted by Joshua Mayers

UPDATE (2:01 p.m.): I spoke with Garfield athletic director Peggy Jackson-Williams, who said the players and coaches have been released from the hospital.

"They're banged up, but they're ok," Jackson-Williams said. "It was a blessing. We were lucky."

Garfield's games scheduled for today and Friday have been canceled.
-Tom Wyrwich

Five Garfield softball players were hospitalized with neck and back pain yesterday when a bus carrying the Bulldogs teams crashed into a low-clearance bridge at Washington Park Arboretum after a game with Lake Washington.

The remaining 14 players, a coach and the driver also went to Harborview Medical Center as a precaution.

You might not have seen this story, since it was in the News section. Not Sports.

The private charter bus was too tall for the 9-foot clearance and damage was extensive.

If you go to this story, there's an accompanying photo gallery which does a great job at capturing the moment.

We wish everyone involved a speedy recovery and hope to see the Lady Bulldogs on the field as soon as possible.

Morning stars

1. Adam Cimber, Puyallup baseball -- Nearly had two consecutive no-hitters, but settled for a one-hit shutout over G-K. That's three straight wins (with no runs allowed) for the junior, who had 13 K's, including 10 in a row at one point.

2. Mercer Island boys soccer -- Down 2-0 with seven minutes left? No sweat. The Islanders got late goals by Taylor and Nick Ward to salvage a tie against Newport and stay within one point of the league lead.

3. Danie Birklid, Lake Stevens softball -- We always highlight pitchers, how about some offense. Birklid, a junior, went 4-for-4 with a triple and four RBI to lead the Vikings to their first win of the season. Teammate Autumn Isaacson went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI.

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April 16, 2008 5:20 PM

WesCo football going to three divisions

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

We received this release today. We'll have a chart in tomorrow's paper.

"The WESCO Athletic Conference will move to a 3 division football scheduling format for the two year scheduling cycle beginning the fall of 2008. This is a two year trial for football only. The three divisions will consist of a single 3A division, a north 4A division, and a south 4A division. The Wesco plans to return to the two division multi-classification format for football beginning in 2010 depending upon the addition of schools to the league and classification breakdown.

The reason the league has moved to three divisions is that the imbalance of 3A schools in the north and south division did not allow for an equitable process for advancing teams to the football playoffs. Had the divisions remained the same Everett would have been the only 3A school in the north with four 3A schools in the south. Arlington which was 3A the past two years will move up to 4A and the Addition of Glacier Peak
(3A) to the south created the inequity. Going to the three divisions will also result in Cascade moving from the north to the south 4A division. All other sports in the WESCO two division format have clear and equitable opportunities to advance to the playoffs."

I could be reading this wrong, but it appears these would be the new divisions:

Class 3A Division

Glacier Peak

Class 4A North Division

Oak Harbor
Lake Stevens

Class 4A South Division

Mountlake Terrace

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April 16, 2008 9:15 AM

Notes, including: Should the basketball tournaments change form?

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Should the state basketball tournaments be cutting down to eight -- or even four -- teams? And single-elimination at that? That's what one WIAA district official in Spokane is suggesting, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review's Mike Vlahovich (click on the second link under "Thursday Prep Page Stuff"). It's not a shock that many teams East of the Cascades have difficulty affording the four or five-day trip to Seattle or Tacoma for state tournaments (and likewise for smaller Seattle schools going to Yakima or Spokane), and dwindling profits, partly resulting from decreases in attendance numbers, mean that the WIAA cannot help these schools out the way it would like.

Spokane district secretary Randy Ryan has suggested to the Spokesman-Review that two eight- or four-team tournaments could be combined at a single facility (so there would be the 1B-2B tournaments the same week, along with the 1A-2A and 3A-4A) over the course of two or three days. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

-Any change to the tournaments' structure could be a long way away, but there are plenty of possible changes coming in the next month. The WIAA Rep Assembly will meet April 25 to discuss 19 ammendments, and the Tacoma News Tribune's Doug Pacey has summed up the important ones rather nicely here. The most interesting ones to me are No. 8 -- which would make WIAA districts, not school districts, in charge of athletic eligibility for transfers -- and No. 12 -- which hopes to prevent future Archbishop Murphy-esque fiascos.

-EA Sports named Garfield freshman Tony Wroten its freshman basketball player of the year.

-Also, a note on rankings, because many of you have asked about it this spring. Here at The Seattle Times, we do rankings for three sports: football, girls basketball and boys basketball. We do these because the Associated Press runs polls for these three sports, and so it makes sense that if we are going to vote in the poll each week, we might as well publish the top 10 as we see it.

As for other sports, I publish outside rankings on the blog, as long as they come from a credible source. I have done this with volleyball and now with Lem Elway's baseball poll. I'm open to all sports, too, but the Times doesn't publish its own rankings for every sport.

Morning stars

1. Kori Seidlitz, Mountlake Terrace, softball. Struck out 17 in a no-hitter against Mariner.

2. Derek Jones, Snohomish, baseball. Wazzu recruit threw a three-hit shutout, and the Panthers needed it in a 2-0 win.

3. Jordan Birch, Monroe, softball. Threw a one-hitter for a 1-0 win against Snohomish, whose Janelle Kash allowed only three hits and an unearned run.

Today's top games

Mercer Island at Newport, boys soccer, 6:30 p.m. The top two teams in KingCo 3A (22 points apiece, with Sammamish and Skyline one point back).

Mountlake Terrace at Jackson, baseball, 4 p.m. The winner takes an important step toward the WesCo South title.

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April 15, 2008 12:18 PM

Why Isn't HS (and College) Baseball More Popular

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

Maybe it's the ping of the metal bat, maybe it's the shortened game, maybe it's the slow path to stardom.

But high school and college baseball has always been way behind football and basketball as the money-making sports at the amateur level.

Major League Baseball is nearly as popular as the NFL, probably more popular than the NBA and just as big as college football and basketball. So it's not that baseball, as a game, is any less popular. But on the smaller scale, it doesn't carry the same popularity as football and basketball.

The best reason is likely that college baseball players aren't made into stars because even the best of the best have to go through the minors before making a name for themselves in the bigs. Even a local star like UW's Tim Lincecum wasn't a well-known name in college and now he's a No. 3 starter on a Major League team (if you can call the San Francisco Giants a Major League team).

What are your thoughts on this? Why are HS football and basketball the money-makers while baseball drags behind?

Morning Stars

1. Jake Collier, Bellevue, baseball. Threw a complete-game shutout in a 3-0 win over Sammamish.

2. Janessa Johnson, Lake Washington, softball. Went 3-4 with a homerun and four RBI in a 17-0 win over Franklin.

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April 14, 2008 2:32 PM

Washington State Baseball Poll (week 3)

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Here's the results from the third week of Lem Elway's baseball poll, as seen at The records are provided by Elway.


1. Richland (8-1)
2. Puyallup (12-1)
3. Redmond (12-1)
4. Snohomish (11-1)
5. Jackson (10-1)
6. Kentlake (11-1)
7. Mead (10-1)
8. Prairie (10-1)
9. Olympia (10-2)
10. University (9-2)


1. Blanchet (10-0)
2. Eastside Catholic (11-1)
3. Mount Rainier (10-1)
4. Skyline (9-2)
5. Kelso (10-0)
6. Southridge (7-1)
7. Capital (8-1)
8. Liberty (8-3)
9. West Valley (Yakima) (8-3)
10. Mercer Island (8-4)


1. Ellensburg (11-1)
2. River Ridge (7-1)
3. West Valley (Spokane) (8-1)
4. Burlington (6-1)
5. W.F. West (8-1)
6. Selah (10-3)
7. Lynden (9-2)
8. Cheney (7-1)
9. Mark Morris (8-4)
10.Cedarcrest (12-3)


1. Kio-Benton (10-0)
2. Friday Harbor (11-0)
3. Freeman (8-0)
4. Rochester (8-1)
5. Tenino (6-1)
6. Orting (8-2)
7. Okanogan (6-2)
8. Naches (8-2)
9. River View (7-3)
10. Blaine (6-4

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April 14, 2008 10:05 AM

Surprises of the spring?

Posted by Sandy Ringer

It's hard for me to believe, but we're about halfway through the prep spring sports season. Six weeks from now, we'll have crowned all of the state champions -- unless this crazy weather doesn't cooperate and some contests get pushed into Memorial Day, or beyond. That rarely happens, so let's be optimistic.

This morning, I'm wondering if anything has surprised you over the first half of the season. Teams doing better than expected? Teams not living up to your early expectations? Hot individual performances? Lackluster efforts? Saturday's much-welcomed warmth helped heat up some track and field marks, for sure.

What or who has raised your eyebrows thus far?

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April 12, 2008 9:05 AM

Most Useful Baseball/Fastpitch Stat

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

This one's for you stat junkies and baseball/fastpitch buffs out there: in your opinion, what is the most useful stat to indicate how valuable a hitter or pitcher is to a team?

In fastpitch, a pitchers' strikeouts must be highly considered, as a dominant pitcher can essentially win a game with her arm. In baseball, this isn't quite as apparent, but still important, right?

On offense, is it batting average, on-base percentage, RBIs? Also, one must consider situational hitting. While a player might not have gone 5-5 with four RBIs and three home runs, he might go 2-4, but both hits were bases-clearing, two-out doubles.

Voice your opinion in the comments.

Morning stars:

1. Melissa Becker, Graham-Kapowsin, softball. Went 2-3 with five RBIs and a triple in a 14-3 win over Spanaway Lake.

2. Farleigh Winters, Holy Names, softball. The junior threw a complete game, one-hit shutout in 2-0 win over Bishop Blanchet.

3. Stephanie Fox, Eastlake, softball. The senior Western Washington recruit threw a complete game and gave up no earned runs in a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Lake Washington. She also was 3-3 at the plate.

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April 11, 2008 11:17 AM

Friday's essentials

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

I'm about to hop on a flight and don't have much time this morning, but I did want to pass along some of last night's top performances and tonight's top games. Zach is covering for me tomorrow, I'll be back after the weekend.

Morning stars

1. Aaron West, Snohomish, baseball. Not only did he throw a five-inning no hitter, West also went 3-for-4 with four RBI.

2. Jacob Phillips, Auburn Mountainview, baseball. Brought home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth against Bonney Lake.

3. Stacey Haggenson, Newport, softball. Pitched 16 innings, which seems like an awful lot, and took home a pair of wins against Liberty while combining to hit 5-7 with 4 RBI. She struck out 19.

Tonight's top games

Bishop Blanchet vs. O’Dea, baseball, 3:30 p.m. at Judkins Park. O’Dea is off to a 4-2 start, but the Irish need their best outing yet against undefeated Blanchet.

Lake Washington at Eastlake, softball, 4 p.m. The 6-0 Kangs have yet to lose, but Eastlake is only a game behind at 5-1.

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April 10, 2008 10:32 AM

Who would you like to catch up with?

Posted by Joshua Mayers

Every Tuesday we run what's called a flashback on our Prep Rally page, where we catch up with former local prep stars and see what they're up to.

We love to ask them about their high school days and what they remember from it. Some have gone on to win Super Bowls and Olympic gold medals, others have focused on new careers like business or acting, others have been impossible to find!

The first article I ever had in print for the Times was a flashback on Tamara Diles, a former Newport gymnast, and I've probably done close to a dozen since.

It's always fun, but can be difficult if a contact is hard to reach.

I'm curious, since our coverage area is vast and different generations of readers remember different athletes, who are some of the former prep stars from this area you'd like to catch up with? Any former teammates or local legends you can think of?

Morning stars (disclaimer: there were a lot of great finishes and performances last night, I wish I could've added more, but I wanted to get the post finished!)

1. Franklin baseball -- Rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh for first win of the season. Andrew Helgren capped the comeback with a game-winning two-RBI double.

2. Puyallup baseball -- The Vikings had a nice comeback of their own, scoring all their runs in a 4-3 win in the sixth and seventh innings. Ben Ruff had 8 K's in long relief and Taylor Ausbun had the game-winning hit.

3. Mariner baseball -- With two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Marauders capped a nice upset in a nonleague game. Jaren Faga had the game-winning hit, one of five in the game for Mariner.

4. Tyler Hanson, Jefferson boys soccer -- The coach's kid played a part in all three goals in a win over Kentridge. Hanson, a senior midfielder, had two assists -- on to younger brother, Chase -- and converted a penalty kick in the 68th minute.

5. Kelsi Baker, West Seattle softball -- The sophomore came into the game with an 0-3 record on the mound. Wednesday she threw a two-hit shutout and had 11 K's.

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April 9, 2008 10:51 AM

Skyline can hit baseballs, too

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Today, I want to note the fast start for the Skyline baseball team, which is ranked first in the state in Class 3A (by the Washington Baseball Poll) and owns impressive wins against Eastside Catholic, Liberty and defending 3A champ Issaquah. Their only loss? 9-8 to Newport, which won the 3A championship two years ago.

The most glaring reason the Spartans are off to a fast start is their pitching, which has allowed just 16 runs in nine games (more than half of which came against Newport). Sophomore Adrian Sampson has become one of the area's rising starters, with four wins already. His ERA? 0.28. Blake Fulghum been impressive in relief and starting.

But also, many of the Spartans are crushing the ball. And these names might sound familiar, because they were important members of the Skyline 3A championship football. It's no surprise these hard-hitters -- who gave up 20 points or more just twice in 14 games -- can hit baseballs, too. Look at these numbers:

Phil Tushar .476 avg.
Ryan Somers .333
Jake Knecht .313
Eric Biege .300

So what lies ahead for the Spartans? They still have games left with Issaquah, Liberty and Newport, and as I've mentioned before, the rest of the KingCo 3A is no cakewalk. But one thing you cannot say about these Skyline players is that don't know how to play in the playoffs.

Morning stars

1. Johanna Carr, Issaquah, track and field. Carr edged Franklin's Ariana Jones in the 100 at the Bill Harris Invitational, in a possible look at two of the top contenders in the 3A state meet.

2. R.J. Sorensen, Cedarcrest, boys soccer. Scored a hat trick in a 6-0 win against Coupeville.

3. Chris Johnson, Meadowdale, baseball. Allowed just one hit in six innings of a 4-0 win against Mariner.

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April 8, 2008 12:45 PM

When Will It Really Be Spring?

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

The sun is shining, the birds chirping and the trees blooming.

That's everywhere else.

And then you walk outside and you see it's raining, cold and dark. Magnificent.

You'd think the weather will make a turn for the better any day now, but a few weeks into the spring sports season and still the weather is lousy.

Aside from the dreary weather putting a damper -- literally and figuratively -- on things, many rainouts in baseball, fastpitch, tennis and golf must get tough on everyone involved. There is little consistency with schedules and it must be tough for players to get into any sort of rhythm when games can be spaced over a week apart at times.

As a player, coach or parent, are these rainouts and rescheduled games as frustrating as I make it sound? Or is it just the nature of playing spring sports in Western Washington?

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April 8, 2008 9:15 AM

White Center's Steve Cox Memorial Field Among State's Best

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

As we told you last week, Seattle Prep's new field is now open.

And it's a beauty!

Gorgeous field turf, covered bleachers and nice outfield fence highlight the renovations to the new field, dedicated to King County deputy Steve Cox who was killed in 2006.

Prior to the opening game, there was a ceremony with speeches and tributes. Cox's 21/2-year-old son threw out the first pitch.

Eastside Catholic beat Seattle Prep 9-6, but that's besides the point. The once shoddy field is now among the best in the state. If you get the chance, make the short drive to White Center to catch some quality high school baseball in a fantastic new park.

Morning Stars

1. Chris Viltz, Lake Washington, baseball. The junior outfielder went 4-4 with two homers and six RBIs in a 16-6 win over Roosevelt.

2. Andy Bethel, Seattle Prep, baseball. The UW-bound senior went 3-3 with a homerun and five RBIs in an 11-1 win over Bainbridge.

3. Kori Seidlitz, Mountlake Terrace, softball. The junior hurler pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout and had 18 strikeouts in Terrace's 8-0 win over Edmonds-Woodway.

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April 7, 2008 4:37 PM

Bjorklund gets title shot with Tennessee

Posted by Sandy Ringer

We've had a few blogs during March (and April) Madness about Washington players involved in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

I decided it's high time the women get their due, too.

Have you been watching the NCAA women's tournament? I haven't been able to catch a whole lot, but I did take in both Final Four games yesterday, which means I got to see Angie Bjorklund from University High of Spokane get to tomorrow night's championship game with Tennessee.

I was fortunate to cover Bjorklund at four Class 4A state tournaments. Great player, great kid. I wasn't surprised to see her start as a freshman for Pat Summitt. Lately, however, Bjorklund is coming off the bench. She apparently has struggled with her shot. She played just 14 minutes against Lousiana State last night and was one-for-four, although baskets were hard to come by in that low-scoring affair (47-45). In all, Bjorklund has started 30 of 37 games for the Vols. Pretty impressive. Don't be surprised to see her impact that title game against Stanford.

Earlier in the tournament, I caught Jacqua Williams from Rainier Beach zipping up and down the court for Georgia Tech. Commentators raved about her defensive pressure. She set a school record for steals with 118. Had she gotten 119, the Yellow Jackets might have beaten Iowa State. Instead, Williams was whistled for a somewhat controversial foul that led to the clinching free throws.

Williams, a junior who set the school record of 95 steals the year before, had an outstanding game with a season-high 18 points and team-high eight rebounds, plus the three steals. She was voted to the ACC All-Defensive team.

Freshman Alex Montgomery from Lincoln of Tacoma also plays for Georgia Tech and enjoyed a stellar season, landing on the ACC All-Freshmman team. She had a rough game against Iowa State, however, as she missed all eight of her three-point tries and failed to score. She averaged 10.8 points on the season.

Which local stars have you caught in the women's tournament?

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April 7, 2008 4:01 PM

State baseball poll: week 2

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Week two of the Washington State Baseball Poll is out:


1. Snohomish (9-0)
2. Richland (8-1)
3. Puyallup (8-1)
4. Redmond (9-1)
5. Jackson (7-1)
6. Kentlake (8-1)
7. Battle Ground (4-0)
8. Olympia (10-2)
9. Mead (7-1)
10. Inglemoor (7-3)


1. Skyline (8-1)
2. Bishop Blanchet (7-0)
3. Eastside Catholic (9-1)
4. Mt. Rainier (6-0)
5. Kelso (6-0)
6. Liberty (6-2)
7. Southridge (7-1)
8. West Valley (Yakima) (4-1)
9. Bainbridge (5-0)
10. Capital (7-1)


1. Ellensburg (9-1)
2. W.F. West (6-0)
3. Burlington (5-1)
4. River Ridge (5-1)
5. Selah (8-3)
6. Lynden (8-2)
7. R.A. Long (4-2)
8. Colville (6-0)
9. East Valley (Yakima) (7-3)
10.Cedarcrest (8-2)


1. Kio-Benton (10-1)
2. Rochester (6-0)
3. Friday Harbor (6-0)
4. Cashmere (7-0)
5. Okanogan (4-1)
6. Naches (7-2)
7. Freeman (4-0)
8. Warden (5-1)
9. River View (7-3)
10. Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) (5-1)

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April 7, 2008 3:42 PM

All-state vollyeball teams announced

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

A number of local players have been selected to play in the all-state volleyball games July 19 at Fife High School. You can see the entire list here.

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April 5, 2008 10:49 AM

Painful end for Rainier Beach grad Stewart

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

On what turned out to be a slow news day at the Final Four, the last Washington player left standing in the NCAA Tournament made the biggest news when he crumpled to the floor.

In the final minutes of Kansas' practice Friday, Rainier Beach graduate Rodrick Stewart attempted an acrobatic dunk, and then slipped on a wet spot as he came down to the ground. Stewart fell to the floor, pointing to his right knee on the ground.

I definitely think Stewart's the kind of player who can play overseas, so we'll see how this injury affects his future. For Kansas, though, it means they'll miss a guy who averages more than 11 minutes per game, valuable reserve work. We'll see how much that changes the Jayhawks today at 5:45 p.m., when they play North Carolina.

Either way, it must be hard to come that close to playing in the Final Four. Even this Missouri grad, taught to hate all things Jayhawk, extends his sympathy.

Morning stars

1. Adrian Sampson, Skyline, baseball. Sampson struck out five in a no-hitter against Bellevue, improving his record to 3-0.

2. Shelby Klein, Mount Rainier, softball. Went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in the Rams' 10-4 win against Tyee.

3. Xan Nixon, Roosevelt, boys soccer. Nixon, who also had an assist, scored the winning goal in the Riders' 2-1 win with just five minutes left.

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April 4, 2008 10:33 AM

Issaquah boys soccer breaks through

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Issaquah boys soccer coach Jason Lichtenberger began this season by putting a stuffed monkey on his back, meant to symbolize the burden of a winless streak that extended back to the final match of 2006.

Last night, his players ripped that monkey in half.

Issaquah ended a 23-game winless streak with a 2-0 win against Interlake, with Stephen Jacobson coming through with the shutout and Connor Gerrity providing a goal and an assist.

"They were pretty excited," Lichtenberger said. "We've had some close calls. For them, it was a big relief because there's some games we felt like we should have won.

So Issaquah moves to 1-5-2 on the season. Those two ties came in the previous two games, and gave the Eagles reason to believe a win coming around the corner.

"It was really starting to come together," Lichtenberger said. "We knew our time was coming."

Morning stars

1. Hayden Rovegno, Highline, baseball. In a addition to a five-inning no-hitter, he went 4-for-4 with 4 RBI and a double.

2. Tim Wilson, Redmond, baseball. Fell a double short of the cycle with four hits, a home run and a triple as Redmond beat Franklin 13-2 in five innings.

3. Nick Tsagalakis, Ballard, baseball. Hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to lead Ballard to a 7-3 win against Inglemoor.

Today's top games

Kentwood at Kentlake, softball, 4 p.m. One team is leaving undefeated in the SPSL 4A and the other with its first conference loss.

Highline at Mt. Rainier, boys soccer, 8 p.m. The two team boys sports at Mt. Rainier, baseball and soccer, are each undefeated to this point. With both in action today, can they stay that way?

Newport at Mount Si, baseball, 4 p.m. Just another day in the KingCo 3A conference, where six teams are .500 and better, and, as Issaquah proved last year, simply making the postseason makes you a state contender.

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April 3, 2008 11:55 AM

Pole Vaulter Dies in Walla Walla

Posted by Zach Landres-Schnur

This is scary.

To be a parent, a friend, a mere acquaintance of such a tragedy is difficult to fathom. Just a terrible accident...

After something like this, should pole vaulting as an event be banned at the high school level? Should there be more precautions taken? What's to be done in a situation like this?

Morning stars:

1. Newport baseball. The 2006 3A state champs scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win against 2007 champ Issaquah.

2. James Robbins, Shorecrest, baseball. Coming in relief in the fifth, he struck out eight batters in three innings of work and got the victory. The 6-foot junior also went 2-2 at the plate with a home run.

3. Brittany Allen, Archbishop Murphy, softball. She struck out 14 of 20 batters in a 12-0 win over Coupeville. At the plate she was 2-3 with three RBIs, a triple and three stolen bases.

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April 2, 2008 10:24 AM

Coaching changes

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Take a look at our results page almost any day and you’ll see that come spring, the high school fields and courses are as packed as the agate page. The confluence of baseball, softball, boys soccer, golf, tennis and track and field – even lacrosse – means that athletic directors have a lot on their hands.

And that doesn't even include the changes ADs are making for other seasons. This is a time where many schools are making coaching changes, and we've already had our share of big ones this week. On Monday, Skyline, the defending Class 3A football champ, replaced its Hall of Fame coach Steve Gervais with Mat Taylor, who was Gervais' wide receivers coach for nine years. On the same day, Ballard (who not too long ago was the 4A football runner-up) hired John Bowers, an assistant at Western Washington, as its football coach.

That same day, Issaquah basketball coach Jeff Patrick announced he was leaving, claiming the commute time to Issaquah became too much of a grind. Patrick coached the Eagles for nine seasons (17 total, including his time as an assistant) and took them to three state tournaments. This means that basketball coaching jobs at three of the more successful schools -- Garfield, Bainbridge, Issaquah -- are open right now. It can't be the worst time for someone looking to become a head coach.

Morning stars

1. Darwin Jones, Mt. Rainier, boys soccer. A natural selection for the top spot. This Ram, with three goals against defending state champ Hazen last night, now has four hat tricks in four games.

2. Frank Tassara, Mount Si, baseball. The sophomore struck out 12 in a no-hitter against defending state champion Issaquah.

3. Sean Rehon, Auburn Riverside, baseball. Went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and SEVEN RBI in a 15-7 win against Enumclaw.

Tonight's top games

Newport vs. Issaquah, baseball, 4 p.m. at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. How often do you get to see the last two state champs face off in any sport? This is definitely worth a look.

Snohomish at Monroe, boys soccer, 7:30 p.m. Both teams are 5-1 in conference play and don't want to lose ground division leader Cascade.

Auburn at Franklin Pierce, baseball, 4 p.m. Franklin Pierce is off to a hot start, but going up against Auburn is never easy.

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April 1, 2008 11:06 AM

Washington St. H.S. Baseball Poll: Week 1

Posted by Joshua Mayers

1. Redmond (7-0)
2. Snohomish (6-0)
3. Richland (5-1)
4. Olympia (8-0)
5. Jackson, Mill Creek (4-1)
6. Kentlake (6-1)
7. Central Valley (5-0)
8. Battle Ground (3-0)
9. University, Spokane (5-0)
10. Curtis (5-0)

1. Auburn (4-0)
2. Liberty (5-1)
3. Blanchet (6-0)
4. Kelso (6-0)
5. Mount Rainier (6-0)
6. Bainbridge (5-0)
7. Arlington (2-1)
8. West Valley, Yakima (4-1)
9. Southridge (5-1)
10. Timberline (4-1)

1. Selah (7-1)
2. Mark Morris (3-0)
3. East Valley, Yakima (7-2)
4. Chehalis (5-1)
5. Burlington-Edison (4-1)
6. River Ridge (4-1)
7. Steilacoom (3-0)
8. Archbishop Murphy (6-2)
9. Sehome (4-2)
10. R.A. Long (3-1)

1. Naches Valley (6-0)
2. Kio-Benton (3-1)
3. Friday Harbor (5-0)
4. Okanogan (4-1)
5. Freeman (3-0)
6. Nooksack Valley (6-2)
7. Lakeside, Nine Mile Falls (3-0)
8. Chewelah (3-0)
9. Newport (3-1)
10.Orting (4-2)

You can check out the website here. I don't know about 2B or 1B, sorry.

Any thoughts?

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April 1, 2008 10:55 AM

New (kinda) sport on the block

Posted by Joshua Mayers

As Seinfield would say: "What's the deal with lacrosse?"

People and articles all over the place will tell you it's the fastest growing high-school sport in the country. I can definitely attest to its surge in popularity. When I started taking results in 2005, lacrosse calls were about as common as a) Bellevue passing touchdowns, b) sub-30 points game for Isiah Thomas, c) belt-high fastballs missed by Travis Snider.

Back then coaches from other spring sports would sometimes complain about the athletes they'd lose to the lacrosse.

These days we run results for multiple games almost every night.

And it's not like these kids are just playing for fun, for the sport's short history in the area, there is some quality on this side of the Evergreen State.

Out of over 1,700 high school boys teams ranked by, Issaquah (10-0) currently ranks No. 90. Bainbridge (18-1) is No. 151.

Compare the 2008 rankings to last year's and you'll see the local teams flying up the charts.

Takkle, which is owned by Sports Illustrated, ranked Curtis midfielder Landon Carr as the 40th top lacrosse prospect in the country and will play for national powerhouse Duke.

Anyways, lacrosse fans and non-fans alike what are your thoughts on the budding sport? How much/little coverage does it deserve?

Loud and proud in the comments!

Morning stars

1. Brave golfers -- Despite worsening conditions, many local golfers were able to post some quality scores. John Lindsay of South Whidbey shot a 1-under 34 to win at Useless Bay. Sultan's John Bardwell was medalist at Battle Creek with a 1-under 35. Issaquah's Brittany Tallman (1-over 37) and Katie Somers (1-over 37) of Mount Si also posted top scores despite the weather.

2. Last-second winners of the pitch -- Brady Bellew of Marysville-Pilchuck and Dylan O'Day from Mountlake Terrace each scored go-ahead goals four minutes into overtime to give their teams the win. Decatur's Austin Nuss found a game-winner in the 79th minute. And last but not least, Tahoma was down 2-1 to Kentwood with five minutes to play, but got goals in the 75th and 76th minutes by Darioush Kazemi and Jared King to grab a surprise win.

3. KingCo 3A hurlers -- Adrian Sampson of Skyline and Mount Si's Taylor Campbell each threw 7-inning one-hit shutouts with six K's apiece in 1-0 and 3-0 wins respectively.

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