The 2019 H1 Unlimited season started out better for Jimmy Shane and the U-6 Miss HomeStreet on Sunday.
Shane pulled away from J. Michael Kelly in the U-12 Graham Trucking on the last lap of the five-lap final to win Sunday’s Southern Cup in Guntersville, Ala.
It was the first race of the 2019 hydroplane season.
Last year, in the season opener in Alabama, Shane lost in the final to Andrew Tate in the Jones Racing boat.
It was the start of a tough season for Shane and HomeStreet, which failed to win the national high points title.
Instead, Tate and Jones Racing ended up being national champs. That snapped a four-year streak for the Miss Madison Racing team (which is the U-6) as national champs; and it stopped a five-year winning streak for Shane.
But Jones Racing wasn’t ready this season to race in Alabama.
The team, now sporting the champion’s U-1 designation, has already announced it will be in Madison, Ind., this coming week for the APBA Gold Cup.
After the Gold Cup, the fleet comes out west to the Tri-Cities for the HAPO Columbia Cup, set for July 26-28.
Alabama had just six race boats compete, and race officials used a different format in which teams were drawn out of a hat for each heat race so that four boats competed each time out.
Each team raced in three heats over the weekend. Because of that, a race team had to be ready to go because it might have to race in Heat 1A, then turn around to possibly run in Heat 1B.
That allowed fans on the shoreline to at least watch four boats in each race.
All six boats made the final. Kelly and the U-12 finished second, while Bert Henderson and the U-7 Spirit of Detroit placed third.
Dustin Echols and the U-440 Bucket List Racing team placed fourth, and Corey Peabody in the U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream finished fifth.
Tom Thompson and the U-11 J&D’s presented by Reliable Diamond Tools boat failed to make the start of the final.
• It’s possible that the H1 fleet numbers could get up to 10 by the time the Tri-Cities race is run. In addition to the six teams racing in Alabama, the U-1 Jones Racing team will be here, as well as Ed Cooper’s U-3 piston-powered boat.
Greg and Brian O’Farrell will be ready to unveil their new U-99.9 unlimited boat, and Dave Bartush — the owner of the U-7 Spirit of Detroit — may have a second boat to run in the Tri-Cities.
Dust Devils are hot
The Tri-City Dust Devils have won five of their last six games going into Monday night’s series opener against the visiting Eugene Emeralds.
In fact, Tri-City is just one game back of North Division leading Spokane (10-7) in the standings with a 9-8 record.
Included in that hot streak was a rare four-pitcher no-hitter the Dust Devils had in a 5-0 win over Everett on Saturday night at Gesa Stadium.
Starter Jason Blanchard pitched two innings, was followed by Ramon Perez with four innings, an inning from Dom DiSabatino, and finally closer Deacon Medders tossed the last two innings of shutout ball.
Perez was especially impressive, striking out four batters in his four innings against just one walk. It was the first no-hitter in the Northwest League since 2015, and the 43rd in league history.
If there is a no-hitter, it’s usually done with multiple pitchers because Major League Baseball teams put pitch-count limits on their prospects.
Fire finishes season
The Tri-Cities Fire completed its inaugural season in the first-year American West Football Conference on Friday night with a 68-34 loss to host Wenatchee Valley.
That made the Fire 0-12 in AWFC play. The team’s June 15 game against the visiting Reno Fire was canceled when the dasherboards failed to arrive.
The league made it clear it wasn’t the Fire’s fault, as the trucking company delivered them to the wrong city (Nampa, Idaho).
Wenatchee Valley and Tri-City share dasherboards, as do the AWFC’s other two teams, Idaho and Reno.
But with little time to make up the game, the league awarded Reno a 1-0 forfeit win.
The Fire did host a game in the Toyota Center last week against a team put together of Tri-City Rage semipro players, giving Fire fans another home game.
However, it didn’t count in the league standings. The Idaho Horsemen finished the season with a 12-0 record, while both the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks and Reno Express ended up 6-6, and the Fire at 0-12.
Wenatchee Valley will meet Reno in the first round of the playoffs, with the winner going to Idaho for the championship.
• The host Bellingham United shut out the Tri-Cities Alliance FC 3-0 on Sunday to clinch a playoff spot in the Evergreen Premier League. The loss drops the Alliance to 0-4-3 on the season. Tri-Cities has two games this coming weekend.
First, the Alliance plays the Oly Town Artesians at 6 p.m., Saturday (July 6) at Black Hills High School. Then the Alliance plays host to the Yakima United at 5 p.m., Sunday (July 7) at Edgar Brown Stadium. It will be the Alliance’s last home game of the season.
• Three Mid-Columbians were part of this past weekend’s Northwest Recruitment Showcase basketball tournament at Bellevue College. Haden Hicks of Prosser and Kobe Young of Chiawana played together on Team Dean Nicholson, while Kamiakin’s Kyson Rose played on Team Chuck Randall.
The event, sponsored by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association and the WIAA, featured 16 teams and totaled 120 players from eight states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Players are from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. An estimated 100 college basketball coaches were in attendance to watch.
• Tri-City Americans standout Parker AuCoin will play this fall for Carleton University in Ontario.
• Chiawana High School graduate Brayde Hirai has signed a letter of intent to play for the Central Washington University baseball team next year. Hirai just completed two years of pitching for Walla Walla Community College, and he is currently playing summer ball for the Walla Walla Sweets of the West Coast League.
• Matt Hirai has just been named the new softball coach at Chiawana High School.