Mariners Caravan highlights busy week locally

January 14, 2014 

I realize everyone has the Seattle Seahawks on their minds this week, and for a good reason.

The roads in the Tri-Cities around 3:30 p.m. Sunday should be empty, I’d expect.

But there are a few other things going on sports-wise that fans should be aware of this weekend.

For starters, the annual Seattle Mariners Caravan takes place Thursday and Friday in the Mid-Columbia.

The lineup includes pitchers Brandon Maurer and Charlie Furbush, broadcaster Mike Blowers and the Mariner Moose.

On Thursday, the crew visits the main gym at the Sherwood Center at Whitman College.

On Friday, they’ll be at the Gjerde Center at Columbia Basin College.

On both days, their appearances are from 4:15-5:45 p.m.

Also happening Friday through Sunday is the 21st Annual Tri-Cities Sportsmen Show at TRAC in Pasco.

The show opens at 1 p.m. Friday and runs until 7 p.m. Hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

General admission tickets per day are $9 for adults, $4.50 for children ages 6-12; and children under the age of 6 are admitted for free.

There are also special prices for families, senior citizens and military.

I’m not much of an outdoorsman, but I still find there are plenty of things to do at the event.

There is an indoor 3D archery shoot, an outdoor cooking camp featuring former TV star Cee Dub Welch, and plenty of exhibitions.

There are 17 seminars that pertain mostly to fishing and some hunting over the course of the weekend.

Kids can fish at Lunker Lake Fishing Pond, build wood duck boxes, or shoot at an air rifle range.

So you see, there is something besides football going on this coming weekend — although I’ll be watching football too.

More athlete updates

Junior defensive end Austin Graves (Southridge) had a great fall for the Idaho State University football team.

Graves was named the team’s best defender, earning the program’s Jared Allen Award.

In 12 games for the 3-9 Bengals, Graves had 64 tackles — 14 1/2 for losses and five of them quarterback sacks. That was enough to put Graves as an honorable mention choice on the All-Big Sky Conference team.

As good as he was on the football field, Graves may have been better in the classroom. He was named to the District 7 Academic All-District team, carrying a 3.94 grade point average whjile majoring in Philiosophy.

Tight end Clayton Homme (Southridge) started five games for Idaho (1-11) this season, catching three passes for 46 yards. Basketball

Roman Pruneda-Garza (CBC) has started seven games for the 9-7 Montana Tech men’s team, averaging 3.3 points while dishing off 41 assists.

Jamie Weisner, a former Walla Walla High standout, leads the 10-6 Oregon State women’s team in scoring at 15.4 points a game. She’s also the team’s third-leading rebounder at 5.6. Khadidja Toure (Kamiakin) has come off the bench in 13 games and is averaging 3.7 points.

College soccer

Brady Espinoza (Pasco/Walla Walla CC) was named a second-team defender on the Cascade Collegiate Conference men’s all-star team. Espinoza, playing for Evergreen State College started 17 of 18 matches for the 7-8-3 Geoducks.

Defender LaQuilla Upton (Southridge) was named to the NCAA Division II All-East Region team while playing for College of St. Rose (20-1-2). Upton was part of a Golden Knights defensive unit that allowed just five goals and posted the nation's second lowest team goals-against-average of 0.21 while surrendering a mere 48 corner kicks.

Volleyball

Senior middle blocker Bethany Huston (Kamiakin) was named second-team All-Northwest Conference playing for Pacific Lutheran. Huston was also named honorable mention to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America team. Huston finished the season averaging 2.28 kills per set with a team-leading .303 hitting percentage and 92 blocks. Last season, she was named to the 2012 AVCA All-America second team.

“Bethany has grown leaps and bounds since her freshman year,” said PLU coach Kevin Aoki said. “In the 18 years since assistant coach Tim Templin and I have been here, she is one of the top athletes as far as improvement goes.”

Baseball notes

Southridge grad Shawn O’Malley, an eight-year minor-league veteran, was released in late October by the Tampa Bay Rays. But the infielder, 26, has found a new organization, signing last week with the Los Angeles Angels. O’Malley has been invited to the Angels’ major-league camp. ... Travis Mattair, another Southridge grad, is still with the Cincinnati Reds organization. In fact, Mattair played for the Reds in the prestigious Arizona Fall League a few months ago. While he has been a third baseman most of his minor-league career, Mattair played 20 games in the AFL at first base. He hit .236 (17 for 72) with two home runs and seven RBIs.

Early warning

CBC’s annual Follow Your Dreams banquet is set for Jan. 23 at the Gjerde Center on campus. All of the proceeds go towards athletic scholarships for CBC athletes. Former CBC coach Larry Hattemer and official CJ Mitchell will be inducted that night into the school’s Wall of Fame. Tickets for the event cost $75 per individual, or $500 for a table. ... National letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 5. ... The annual Night with WSU Cougar Football is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, and the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Register for that event on the WSU athletics site. ... Tri-Cities Fever training camp is set to open on Feb. 9. ... The Spokane Golf Show at the Spokane Convention Center is set for Feb. 15-16.

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