Columns & Blogs

Big Friday: Hydroplanes, Eastern and WSU athletics here in Tri-Cities

The WIAA state high school championships aren’t the only thing going on this weekend around the Tri-Cities.

Interested in hydroplanes? We got you covered.

An Eastern Washington University athletics fan? The coaches are in town today.

A big Wazzu Cougs fan? They at the Southridge Athletic Complex tonight for the annual Tailgate Party.

The Tri-City Channel Cats have their big meet in Pasco over the next three days too.

I need to clone myself.

But first, about those hydroplanes.

Four unlimited teams and five drivers will be down in Lampson Pits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday for the annual spring training.

The U- 9 Jones Racing with Scott Liddycoat; the U-96 Ellstrom Racing with Jean Theoret; the U-12 Centurion Racing team with rookie driver Patrick Sankuer; and U-7 Team Porter Racing II with drivers Jesse Robertson and J. Michael Kelly taking turns driving the boat, will be down in the pits in an event free to the public.

It’ll give fans a chance to whet their appetites as the area prepares for the HAPO Gold Cup, set for July 24-26.

It’s one of the few good things happening in the sport right now. Last week, the Doha, Qatar, race was cancelled by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation as new officials came in and cancelled the contract with H1. Add to it the fact that Coeur d’Alene was cancelled this season, and H1 is down to just four races this season, at this point: Madison, Ind., Tri-Cities, Seattle and San Diego.

H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David is still hopeful that a race can happen in Detroit in August.

But what this does do is give the four teams here on the Columbia River that much of an advantage over the rest of the field. Points from the start of the season will be extremely important for the national championship with just four races on the schedule.

EWU Golf

Eastern Washington University’s athletic department has such a good time last year visiting the Tri-Cities and trying to raise money for the program, that they’re doing it again.

The group had a dinner Thursday night at Rich Gentz’ home, and are golfing this morning out at Horn Rapids Golf Course.

Eastern fans who didn’t sign up, might at least get to visit the coaches and officials in the afternoon at the golf course.

WSU Tailgate

The 18th annual Tri-Cities Cougar Tailgate party starts at 5 p.m. Friday at the Southridge Athletic Complex.

Athletic Director Bill Moos is expected to be there, as will all the big coaches: football coach Mike Leach, men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent, and women’s basketball coach June Daugherty.

Donnie Marbut was fired early this week as baseball coach.

There will also be a live and silent auction.

Doors open at 5 p.m.

Tri-City Open

The Tri-City Channel Cats’ one major home meet starts at 8:30 a.m. Friday and each day Saturday and Sunday at Memorial Pool in Pasco.

Over 500 athletes from the Northwest are expected to compete.

Radio change

On Monday, KALE 960 AM will change its format from classic country music to ESPN Deportes Radio.

“We are excited to offer ESPN Deportes Radio to Tri Cities’ large Hispanic sports audience. It’s the home of the best “futbol” play by play properties in the world with top talent and quality shows 24/7,” said David Fabian, program director for ESPN Deportes 960 said in a release. “We worked hard to be on air for the June 6th UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Juventus.”

College update

Southridge graduate Ty Jackson pitched one of the better games of his life Wednesday night at the NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston. Pitching for host Lewis-Clark State, which had already had one loss, Jackson tossed seven-plus shutout innings in a 2-0 win over Embry-Riddle in a loser-out contest.

Not only that, Jackson hit a home run to help his own cause. Jackson stranded eight runners, and allowed just six hits and two walks while recording seven strikeouts. He is now 8-1.

“When Ty locks in, he’ll put a charge in that baseball,” said LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins. “And he locked in that last at-bat of his. What an effort by him on the mound and at the plate. He helped his own cause.”

The Warriors (44-12) were playing Faulker of Alabama late Thursday.

Serkowski hit .335 this season for the 40-14 Tigers, with 30 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.