Connell product Walker earns Hall of Fame bid

Tri-City HeraldNovember 21, 2012 

Congratulations to Bill Walker Jr., the former Connell High School standout, who was inducted into the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Sunday at Safeco Field.

Walker was inducted as a coach at Naches Valley, where he also serves as the school’s athletic director.

He led Naches Valley to the state championship game four times, winning it in 2009.

His father, Bill Walker Sr., was inducted into the same hall in 1992 as Connell’s coach.

That makes the Walkers the first father-son inductees into the hall.

Colfax’s Mike Parish was also inducted into the hall.

Kamiakin coach baseball Ryan Carter was honored as the big school coach of the year for 2012.

Ron Shaw was given the CJ Mitchell Umpire service award, named after the long-time Richland resident.

Scott Spruill of the Yakima Herald-Republic was presented the Jim Reding Media Award.

Mattair prized by Reds

Southridge High graduate Travis Matair was named the Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman among their organizational all-stars by

Mattair has been in professional baseball awhile now, getting drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007.

But he’s still just 23. And this past summer he hit .274, drove in 82 runs and had 19 home runs at Bakersfield in the Class-A California League.

“We’re feeling pretty good about him, he had a good season, he’s a hard-working guy,” Chris Buckley, the senior director of scouting for the Reds, told the website. “A very good athlete for a big guy. Hopefully he’ll go to Double-A and do the same things. We’re pretty good at that position.”

Former Columbia Basin College pitcher Steve Ames was named the Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher by the same website.

Ames had 18 saves and a 1.56 earned run average while pitching for Chattanooga in the Doubla-A Southern League. is just a little over halfway through the project.


Kelsey Julian (Kennewick) finished her sophomore season for the 5-26 Eastern Washington University team with 116 kills and 51 digs.

w Kamiakin grad Shelby Swanson once again was named to the All-GNAC first team this week, as she was last season. A senior, she finished her career ranked No. 5 all-time on the GNAC list in assists, with 3,749.

That’s a lot of setting the table.

In one match this season, against Central Washington, Swanson had an impressive 70 assists.

w Becky Flores (River View) finished her collegiate career at Northwest Nazarene by being named honorable mention to the GNAC volleyball all-star team.

Flores had a team-high 302 kills with a hitting percentage of .280 and 83 blocks.

“Becky will be missed next year because she was so steady for so many years,” said NNU coach Jared Sliger, “I am glad she got some recognition for being so consistent.”

w Kamiakin grad Bethany Huston, a junior middle blocker for Pacific Lutheran University, was named first-team All-Northwest Conference.

She was also named second-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Huston led the 20-6 Lutes to the NCAA Regionals. She was No. 1 in blocks on the team with 124, and she was second in kills with 230.

Men’s soccer

The Whitman College men’s soccer team, loaded with Mid-Columbia talent, finished this season with an 8-8-4 record.

Joe Virden (Tri-Cities Prep), who played for Richland High, scored four goals in 16 matches, while Andrew Clark (Pasco) scored three goals in 20 matches.

Jose Beleche (Walla Walla) played in 16 matches, scoring one goal and one assist, and Bill Landefeld (Southridge) had a goal in 13 matches.

Sean Williams (DeSales) had a goal in 11 matches; Marcos Medina (Walla Walla) had two assists; defender Isaac Sappington (Pasco) played in nine matches.

w Forward Dino Ramic (Hanford) was named to the first team of the Midwest Collegiate Conference all-conference team while playing for Clarke University (10-7-1). Ramic tied for the team lead in scoring with eight goals and five assists. Defender Daniel Valencia (Kennewick) was an honorable mention selection. He had one goal this season.

Miguel Silva (CBC) also played for Clarke. He had two goals and an assist.

All three athletes are seniors.

w Whitworth junior midfielder Mike Chavez (Kennewick) was an honorable mention selection to the All-Northwest Conference men’s all-star soccer team.

In 18 matches, Chavez scored one goal and three assists for the 13-3-3 Pirates. They lost 1-0 to Mississippi College in the first round of the NCAA tournament Nov. 10.

Women’s soccer

Kamiakin grad Brianna Brannan was named to the second squad of the All-Big Sky Conference team. Brannan is a junior defender for Eastern Washington. Also making the second team was senior midfielder Anna Pingree (Walla Walla CC) for Idaho State. ... Former Walla Walla CC standout Justine Jones was named to the Frontier Conference all-conference team. Jones, a senior forward for Westminster College in Utah, was third on the Griffins (12-5-1) in scoring with five goals and five assists. Teammate Margo Hickman (Walla Walla CC) was second on the team in scoring with five goals and eight assists. ... Senior midfielder Teresa Lopez (Walla Walla CC) started 10 matches for Evergreen State (2-11-1). ... Freshman Kristyn Bohlander (Kamiakin) had two goals and two assists this fall for the Carroll College women’s team (12-2-3).


Defensive lineman Doug Karmowski (Hanford) finished his college career at Rocky Mountain by compiling 36 tackles (4.5 sacks). Receiver Matt Concienne (Grandview) also completed his eligibility, catching seven passes for 40 yards as the Battlin’ Bears finished 6-5. Southridge grad Chandler Mertens is listed as a redshirt kicker and punter.

Women’s basketball

The Tri-Cities has two athletes on the Eastern Washington University women’s team this season — junior center Laura Hughes from Hanford, and redshirt freshman guard-forward Hayley Hodgins from Chiawana. ... Trishi Williams, a senior wing who played at Mabton High School and at Columbia Basin College, is a Great Northwest Athletic Conference pre-season all-conference choice. Williams is in her second and final season with Western Washington University. Center Kayla Bernsen, from Moses Lake, is back at Western for her sophomore season. Western is favored to win the conference title this season, according to the GNAC coaches’ poll. ... Junior guard Leslie Stillar, who averaged 13.5 points at Walla Walla Community College, is now playing at Central Washington University. She’ll be joining sophomore guard Melanie Valdez, who prepped at Chiawana. ... Kamiakin grad Jori Skorpik returns for her sophomore season at St. Martins.

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