Kennewick High School basketball star is back with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury

Former Kennewick High School standout Leilani Mitchell.
Former Kennewick High School standout Leilani Mitchell. Associated Press

Former Kennewick High star Leilani Mitchell was a victim of the WNBA salary cap when the season began May 23.

The Phoenix Mercury needed to cut the veteran guard to get under that $996,100 cap.

But things change in professional sports.

Mitchell has signed again with Phoenix.

With star Diana Taurasi still recovering from back surgery, Phoenix needs veteran help.

Mitchell is 33 and has played in the WNBA for 10 seasons, including previous stints with Phoenix in 2015 and 2017-18.

In 2010, Mitchell was the WNBA’s most improved player.

Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman told the Arizona Republic on Monday that the team had to cut Mitchell, but it didn’t have an option coming out of training camp.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we were,” Pitman told the Republic. “If we can get her back, we will. We need the depth, and a veteran mixed with our rookies is what we’re after. … We told her we really liked her and would like to have her back at some point during the season if we could work it out.”

That point came Wednesday.

Phoenix plays at the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday.

Carlo scores in Game 4

How about former Tri-City American Brandon Carlo?

The defenseman scored a short-handed goal for the Boston Bruins in Game 4 on Monday in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

The Bruins lost the game 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues, and the series is tied at 2-2, but it’s still pretty cool to think he was playing in the Toyota Center just a few years ago.

Game 5 is at 5 p.m. Thursday in Boston, on NBC.

Kennewick grad Plew drafted

Kennewick High grad Dillon Plew was selected by the Houston Astros in the 40th and final round Wednesday in the MLB Draft.

Dillon Plew baseball
Kennewick shortstop Dillon Plew, right, has emerged as a leader in each of the three sports he plays — football, basketball and baseball. Sarah Gordon Tri-City Herald

Plew, the second-to-last-pick of the draft, is a junior at Washington State University.

He, by all accounts of perusing the entire three-day draft results, looks to be the only Mid-Columbian selected in this year’s draft.

Plew hit .270 this season for a struggling Cougars team. He was ranked first on the team in runs scored (34), home runs (4), and walks (30). He was second on the team in doubles (12) and RBIs (29).

As a junior, Plew can either sign with the Astros or come back for his senior season and improve his stock for next year.

More baseball

• Congrats to Southridge High grad Mason Martin, who was selected to play in the South Atlantic League All-Star game.

Martin is hitting .261 for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor-league club. Martin leads the SALLY League in home runs with 16, and he also has 56 RBIs.

The All-Star game is set for June 18.

• Othello grad Alix Garcia had two hits, including the game-tying homer, in Monday’s 3-1 Oklahoma State victory over UConn in the NCAA Regionals.

The victory gives Oklahoma State a berth in the NCAA Super Regionals, where the Cowboys (39-19) will visit Texas Tech (44-19) in a best-of-3 weekend series June 7-9, with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

Garcia is batting .301 for the Cowboys.

• Three of the region’s high school seniors have been selected to play in this coming weekend’s All-State Baseball Series in Yakima.

The event, put on by the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association, includes four teams of all-stars playing in a total of four games.

Playing for Team Baker will be Southridge shortstop/third baseman Nik Grade, who is committed to Columbia Basin College this fall.

Team Rainier will have two Tri-Citians on its team: Richland pitcher/outfielder Taylor Johnson, who is committed to Spokane Community College; and Kamiakin pitcher Trystan Vrieling, who is headed to Gonzaga University.

Chiawana, Pasco signings

A number of our area schools held signing ceremonies for their athletes, giving them some recognition for moving on to either four-year universities or community colleges.

Chiawana and Pasco high schools recently held theirs.

Here is Chiawana’s list of signees at the ceremony:

Jason Aragon, men’s soccer, St. Martin’s University; Hailey Bullis, women’s cross country and track, Central Washington University; Mykila Burton, women’s basketball, Blue Mountain Community College; Lyndsey Ellingsen, women’s soccer, Walla Walla Community College; Erick Enriquez, men’s soccer, Columbia Basin College; Clare Eubanks, women’s basketball, Northwest Nazarene University; Yaneli Garcia, volleyball, Bellevue College; McKenna Kaelber, volleyball, Montana Tech; Matthew Kroner, men’s basketball, Edmonds Community College; Marissa Logozzo, volleyball, Montana State University Billings; Felix Mendoza, men’s soccer, CBC; Macey Morales, women’s basketball, Whitworth University; Alexa Neff, women’s cross country and track, CWU; Jean Nyabenda, men’s soccer, CBC; Elijah Perez, football, Alabama A&M; Alaina Scott, volleyball, Walla Walla CC; Nick Steltenphol, men’s soccer, CBC; Sydnee Suarez, women’s soccer, Spokane Community College; and JuliaAnna Ventura, women’s soccer, Walla Walla CC.

Here is Pasco’s list of signees at their ceremony:

Edwin Aquino, men’s soccer, Seattle University; Eduardo Garcia, men’s soccer, CBC; Diego Gutierrez, men’s basketball, Whatcom Community College; Marcus Hernandez, men’s cross country and track, Clark College; Leo Llamas, men’s cross country and track, Clark College; Danny Puga, men’s soccer, CBC; Alejandro Vega, men’s soccer, CBC.

Von Oelhoffen honored

We usually seem to write about Talia von Oelhoffen. But this time, it’s older sister Kamri von Oelhoffen that we want to talk about.

The sophomore was just named the Yakima Valley Community College Female Athlete of the Year, chosen by the YVC athletic department.

Von Oelhoffen was given the Mary Sherar award after the Richland High grad finished her two-year women’s basketball career for the Yaks with 1,001 total points. She averaged 19.7 points a game her freshman season and 18.1 this past season.

Von Oelhoffen is weighing offers from Humboldt State, Eastern Oregon University, Montana Northern, Multnomah University, and Canadian college St. Mary’s.