WSU sports teams coming to Tri-Cities

Tri-City HeraldOctober 26, 2012 

The Washington State University athletic department considers the Tri-Cities a big part of its program when it comes to support.

The Cougars are showing it this school year.

WSU’s men’s basketball team will play Idaho State at the Toyota Center on Dec. 29.

It’ll be the first time since 2009 that the school’s basketball team has played a game in the Tri-Cities.

But now, get this. The baseball schedule was released last week, and it includes not one, not two, not three — but four games at Gesa Stadium in Pasco in May.

The Cougars will play a three-game series against the University of Washington on May 17-19. That will be the teams’ Pac-12 Conference series.

The next day, May 20, the University of Portland plays WSU in Pasco.

More baseball

With the Yakima Bears moving to Hillsboro, Ore., to become the Hillsboro Hops, the Northwest League lineup for 2013 is a little off-kilter geographically.

So the league has revised the divisions for next year, Tim Gittel, the Dust Devils’ vice president for business operations, told the Tri-Cities Sports Council earlier this month.

It’s going to be a North-South lineup, with Tri-Cities in with Spokane, Everett and Vancouver in the North. The South will consist of Boise, Eugene, Salem-Keizer and Hillsboro.

The Dust Devils play their division opponents 12 times, and the teams in the other divisions 10 times each.

Even more baseball

The Walla Walla Sweets of the West Coast League, the college summer league, have already made the announcement that Southridge High grad Spencer O’Neil will play for them again next summer.

The real nugget, though, in that press release is that O’Neil is playing college ball now at Central Arizona College, a junior college powerhouse.

O’Neil was at the University of Oregon a year ago, fresh after being drafted by the Yankees. But he left school and spent last summer with the Sweets.

State playoffs

With the release of the Seattle Mariners’ 2013 schedule recently, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association confirmed that the Class 4A and 3A state baseball semifinals and finals will once again be at Gesa Stadium in Pasco on May 24-25.

The WIAA also confirmed that 4A tennis (Richland High and Columbia Basin Racquet Club), 3A tennis (Kamiakin High and Tri-City Court Club) and 1A softball (Columbia Playfield) will all be in the Tri-Cities again that weekend.

The only non-spring state finals the Tri-Cities has will be the state cross country championships Nov. 3 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

American Legion

This state has a rich history of American Legion baseball. Since 1928, Washington has sent 14 teams to the Legion World Series. Three of those teams won the title, and 14 more were runners-up. To honor that rich tradition, the Washington State American Legion Baseball Commission established the Washington State American Legion Baseball Foundation and a hall of fame.

The first class induction will be Nov. 3 in Seattle at the SeaTac Marriott.

As you would expect, many of the first-time inductees are also former major leaguers: Earl Averill, Ron Santo, John Olerud, Ryne Sandberg, to name a few.

Also being inducted are former Mabton standout Mel Stottlemyre and ex-Moses Lake product Dave Heaverlo.

As coaches, Curt Daniels — a former Pasco High standout who ran the Vancouver Cardinals program — will be inducted. So will ex-CBC star Brian Munhall, who manages the Gonzaga Prep program.

The 1953 Yakima team, which won the World Series that year, will be entered as a unit.

To see the entire lineup of inductees, go to You can also purchase tickets ($50 per person) on the website.

Cross country

Southridge graduate Andrew Gonzales finished 30th overall at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28. Gonzales, a junior at Washington State University, ran the 5-mile course in 24 minutes, 20 seconds. ... Erin Hegarty, a sophomore from Hanford High, has a season-best finish of fourth at the Baylor University Bear Twilight Invitational on Aug. 31. Hegarty ran the 4K in 13:58.8. ... Kamiakin grad Stephanie Rexus had a 16th-place finish for Idaho at the Clash of the Inland Northwest Meet in Spokane on Sept. 1. She ran the 4K in 15:26.1. ... Richland High grad Katie Mahoney, running unattached but a student at EWU, finished 33rd overall in the women’s portion of the Inland Empire Championship in Lewiston on Oct. 13. Mahoney ran the 5,000 meters course in 19 minutes, 17 seconds. Maggie Jones (Richland) was eighth for Gonzaga University, finishing in 18:16. Gonzales finished fifth in the men’s race competing for WSU, clocking in at 25:00 over the 8,000 meters.


Kaylie Winston’s goal with 15 seconds remaining in regulation gave Seattle Pacific a 2-1 victory over WWU on Sept. 19. Winston played at Pasco High, then Walla Walla Community College, before going to SPU. ... Senior Kasey McNeill (Southridge) ranks second on the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team in scoring with six points — two goals and two assists. The Eagles have a 5-7-3 record. Teammate Brianna Brannan (Kamiakin) has started in all 15 matches for the Eagles, logging the third most minutes on the team at 1,320.


Kamiakin grad Marcy Hjellum is tearing it up for Central Washington University this season. The senior has a team-best 299 kills and is second in digs with 258. The Wildcats are 15-6 through Oct. 24. ... Over at Northwest Nazarene, River View High graduate Becky Flores is the standout for the 10-10 Crusaders. She is tops on the team in kills with 222, and second in blocks with 52. ... Eastern Washington University has had a rough go of it this season. First, head coach Miles Kidd resigned one week into the regular season, citing personal reasons. Next, the Eagles lost their first 22 matches of the season. But the players keep plugging away, including Kennewick High grad Kelsey Julian. The sophomore has 96 kills so far (fourth-best on the team), 33 digs and 18 blocks. and finally on Monday the Eagles got their first win of the season, beating visiting Sacramento State 3-0. ... Kamiakin grad Shelby Swanson ranks third in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in volleyball assists with 748. The senior for Seattle Pacific averages 10.39 assists per set. ... Kamiakin grad Bethany Huston has 192 kills (second on the team) and a team-best 95 blocks for the 17-3 PLU volleyball team.

College football

Connell’s Eric Schultz, a 6-4, 303-pound offensive lineman at Utah State, is a mid-season, second-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection by Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine. According to Utah State, Schultz has graded out above 78 percent in every game this year, including at least 94 percent in executing the right assignment. On the season, he has recorded 18 knockdowns. ... Prosser High grad Kirby Moore, a junior at Boise State, is second on the team in pass receptions with 17 for 192 yards and one touchdown.

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