ESPN Radio returns to Tri-Cities

By Jeff Morrow, Tri-City Herald sports editor May 16, 2012 

KENNEWICK -- Some of you Seattle Mariners fans may have been confused Tuesday when you tried to listen to your team on the radio and instead found country music.

Just turn your dial over to 1340 AM. Bob Castle, the programming director at what is now called 1340 AM ESPN Tri-Cities, said the station made the move at midnight Monday night.

"We havent made a huge deal about the launch," Castle said. "It's a soft launch. But it's huge in that we actually switched stations."

Ingstad Broadcasting, the stations' new owners, encouraged the move. KALE AM 960 is now Country Legends music.

The Mariners move over to 1340 AM -- which is good because that station has a stronger signal at night.

But here's the big kicker: from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the station will run the talk shows from KIRO in Seattle. That time frame will include the radio shows of Brock and Salk from 9 a.m. to noon; Bob and Groz from noon to 3 p.m., and the Kevin Calabro Show and 3 to 6 p.m.

From 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., the station will run ESPN Radio programming. Of course, the Mariners will pre-empt any talk show. And 1340 AM will still run University of Washington football and men's basketball and Gonzaga men's basketball.

Track and field recap

Some area athletes had strong performances last weekend at their college conference championships meets.

In the Big Sky Conference Championships, Hermiston's Michelle Coombs finished second in the women's javelin for Eastern Washington University, throwing it 151 feet, 6 inches.

Kamiakin grad Elise Jepsen finished third in the women's third high jump for Eastern with a leap of 5-6.

And Kiona-Benton grad Whitney Leavitt, also competing at Eastern, placed seventh in the women's 200 meters with a time of 25.24 seconds.

Chelsea Bourque, a Southridge grad, finished eighth in the women's 100 meter hurdles for Montana State with a time of 14.9 seconds.

Central Washington University had a couple of locals do well at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.

Kiona-Benton graduate Katharine Lotze placed second in the women's triple jump with a mark of 39 feet, 7 3/4 inches.

Andrew Venema, out of Bickleton, was second in the men's 110 hurdles with a time of 15.01 seconds.

Hanford's Knox honored

Hanford High graduate Molly Knox, a senior on the Idaho women's tennis team, recently earned the ITA Mountain Region's Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.

Knox is one of 10 finalists in the country for the national award, which recognizes players exhibiting outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.

Knox has a 4.0 grade point average while majoring in Pre-Medical Biology, and has been on the Dean's list every semester since 2007.

She also volunteers with seniors at a Moscow retirement home.

Whitworth in playoffs

Whitworth plays La Verne at 7 p.m. today in the opening round of the NCAA Division III baseball tournament in McMinnville, Ore.

The Pirates (26-13-1), making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament, had a good number of Mid-Columbians on the roster.

It includes outfielder Kevin Valerio of Kennewick; third baseman Landon Scott of Kennewick; pitcher Brandon Ellendt of Kennewick/Walla Walla Community College; pitcher Dan Scheibe of Hanford; pitcher Jason Renner of WWCC; and catcher Chris Synoground of Hanford.

Scheibe, just a freshman, was named first-team All-Northwest Conference by going 5-0 with a 1.73 ERA. He led the conference with 69 strikeouts in 52 innings.

Scott (.304 batting average), Valerio (.322) and Renner (four saves, 2-0) were all named honorable mention.

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