Diamond cuts, and another round of high-profile high school hoops player exits from WA thanks to uncertainty regarding sports and COVID-19

Good Saturday morning. We have continuing discussion this morning for you on the impacts of the state of Washington’s COVID-19 restart on high school sports, but we first have some diamond cuts for you, and boy howdy, it was another big game last night for a Mount Si High School sophomore-to-be baseball player, as he continues to establish himself as a likely candidate to emerge as a varsity player next spring.

Tristan Aasland had a night to remember with his bat for Bellevue-based Boys of Summer’s 15U baseball team. He went 4-4, headlined by a double, scoring a run and driving in six more, as he led his BoS squad to an 11-7 win in a scrimmage game over Bellevue-area rival Stods’ Shockers. Aasland, who also has pitched a couple of gems this summer in the limited action for the team due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, is very much establishing himself as a name to watch for next spring’s Mount Si squad. As a freshman, he likely would have ended up this spring on Mount Si’s “C” team had there been a season, but his emergence this summer may see him with a possibility of cracking the varsity lineup in 2021, so we’ll see what happens on that front.

Also from youth action:

Mount Si’s Freudenberg gets a chance to compete: The day was a busy one, too, for one of Aasland’s potential teammates next year on the Wildcat baseball team, Josh Freudenberg. He played in two games yesterday with his Northwest Naturals 16U squad.

In the first game, bright and early yesterday morning, the Nats beat the Bellevue Dragons 4-3 with the Mount Si player showing his versatility. On the mound, he worked two innings of relief, allowing two runs on five hits, walking two, striking out five and receiving no decision. He also served as a courtesy runner in the game and scored a run. In the second game, Freudenberg was 0-2 with a walk offensively, but no matter for NWN as the Sammamish team blanked Maple Valley-based Rock Creek 9-0.

Good stuff for sure as he gets a chance to test his skills, an opportunity that has been hard to come by this summer for sure.

Continuing uncertainty about high school sports results in another round of hoops exits
The opportunities for youth athletes in multiple sports in Washington to play have been as we noted hard to come by, and that has resulted in several athletes leaving the state. The number of high-profile high school hoopsters from Washington making that decision to exit our state to play elsewhere nearly doubled yesterday with three making that announcement.

One of those was from Kingco 4A. A source told both us and Prep Girls Hoops Washington that North Creek High School’s Kyra Mickey has chosen to depart and will be playing this winter for the girls’ basketball team at IMG Academy in Florida. Mickey, who will be a senior this fall, was expected, based on last season’s MaxPreps stats of the Jaguars, to be the team’s top returner this winter for a team who finished 12-9 on the season but were eliminated by Mount Si in the first round of the Kingco 4A playoffs. She averaged a little more than nine points and eight rebounds for North Creek during the 2019-20 season. With IMG an elite national program, she will likely need to put in a lot of work in order to get a significant opportunity down there, but the likelihood they’ll actually be playing may be enough for her and her family with everything being equal right now in this world of COVID-19.

The other two were boys’ players from the Yakima Valley. Sunnyside’s Ethan Copeland and Zillah’s Mason Landdeck became the first known hoops exits from eastern Washington schools with their announcements yesterday. Both, according to Prep Hoops Washington, indicated uncertainty with whether a season would happen here in Washington was a huge factor in their decisions. The two will be playing for separate schools in Utah – Landdeck at Desert Hills in St. George, in the southwest corner of the state, and Copeland at Lone Peak High School in Highland, which is between Provo and Salt Lake City along I-15. Utah, as we have been telling you, is expected to have a regular high school sports season this fall, and has received now three high-profile high school boys’ players from Washington by way of transfer in recent weeks, joining former Eastside Catholic player Nolan Hickman, who last month announced his move to the Wasatch Academy in the central part of the state.

Mickey’s departure becomes the fourth such one for girls’ players from Washington as well this summer, joining the Huard sisters – former Eastlake star Haley and her sister Macey, who played for Bear Creek School, both of whom along with their family moved to Colorado – and former EC’er Mjracle Sheppard, who transferred to a different Florida academy.

Basketball, while it has received the most news on this front, has not been the only sport affected by exits of top athletes in Washington. SBLiveWA has reported the exit of Wenatchee football QB Camden Sirmon. Sirmon, who played against Mount Si last season as the Panthers’ signal-caller in their season opener, won by the Wildcats, has transferred to Montana, where he will be playing for Sentinel High School in Missoula.

The WIAA as you know has set a calendar for high school sports to start in January of 2021 with the normal winter sports season, but this calendar is predicated on a return to full in-person instruction at schools in Washington, which likely will only be achievable at this point with the release and subsequent mass distribution of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Work continues on getting that vaccine to market, but it is not known yet whether vaccine manufacturers will be able to meet a presumed December time-frame for approval and release of the drug to market.

It is expected there may be additional transfers announced over the next few days as schools in some open states are expected to start over the next couple of weeks. Desert Hills, for one, is set to start in-person classes next week so Landdeck needed to bolt now in order to get down there on time to start his senior year. Again, as we have noted, if any involve Mount Si or Cedarcrest, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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Another issue rearing its head as high school sports delays its restart in some states, and some Friday diamond cuts…..

Good Friday morning. We’ll have our diamond cuts shortly, but we wanted to spend some time this morning discussing another issue that appears to be popping up around the country as states push their high school sports seasons back into January, and that is the issue of conflicts for high school athletes with out-of-school club teams. We have discussed this issue before here in the Journal in our coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on high school sports, but the issue has received increased attention in the past 24 hours due to a couple of things – one, a series of tweets from a prominent Denver-area high school girls’ club basketball coach questioning the legality of various states’ high school sports rules on the subject and a separate story by a Denver television station regarding this issue.

First, the tweets. Coach Keith Van Horn, who coaches Colorado Premier, the AAU club basketball team which former Eastlake High School star Haley Huard now plays for after she and her family moved to Colorado a few weeks ago, posted a series of Tweets on his Twitter feed Wednesday morning regarding the question of legality of rules by state high school sports organizations banning athletes from playing club sports while the high school season in that sport takes place. He wrote in his opening Tweet on the subject, “Has anyone actually determined if high school coaches, principles (sic), or state associations even have the legal authority to dictate what players can and can’t do in terms of extracurricular or club participation? I am not even sure that is legal!!!!” The coach followed it up with several additional Tweets, which you can find at his Twitter handle, @Coach_Keith44.

Among those, he added, “It’d be fun to take this one to court: State HS Athletic Associations, HS coaches & (administrators) don’t have a right to regulate players ability to play club sports in any way, even during the season & any attempt to do so potentially hurts the players opportunities for success.” Van Horn, in the series of tweets, was addressing California’s announced delay to their start of high school sports, which came prior to Washington’s announced change at the end of July, but most notably, a rule change in which the state association in California, called the California Interscholastic Federation, suspended a rule which did bar athletes from competing in club activities while their sport’s high school season took place.

On Tuesday, Van Horn’s home state of Colorado joined Washington, Oregon, California and nearly a dozen other states pushing high school sports back into next year, and that move made many athletes nervous in that state. Volleyball players, in particular, because the shift pushed the high school volleyball season back into the heart of the traditional club schedule – and Colorado, like California, has similar rules banning club play during the high school season for athletes in a particular sport. One of those players and their family, along with the director for a top club program in the Denver area, spoke to KUSA-TV, and you can see reporter Jordan Chavez’s well-done piece here.

So how does this all impact Washington, you ask? Well, we did some research, and discovered that it appears the rules are contradictory here regarding this issue. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is our state’s high school sports governing body, and rules 18.23.0 and 18.23.1 pertain directly to this issue. 18.23.0 reads as follows in their handbook, available on the WIAA’s website, “Students may participate on a non-school team or teams or in a non-school instruction program while also participating on a school team.”

But, addendum 18.23.1, which follows, says this: “Schools may not give students special treatment or privileges on a regular basis to enable them to participate in non-school athletic activities. Some examples of special treatment or privileges include reduced practice times, special workouts, late arrivals, early dismissals or missing a practice or contest. Regular is defined as being more than once.” In other words, it’s fine if you play club, but if there’s a conflict, school wins out. Which seems contradictory to us, especially now with more and more athletes playing in year-round club sports that impact their high school activities if they are multi-sport athletes at the high school level, and even more so with the potential conflicts that will arise in many sports, especially volleyball, because of the compressed schedules. Penalties are by self-report according to the WIAA.

So what conflicts could develop for athletes? In Washington, as with other states, volleyball is likely to be the big problem sport in this regard, as January-May, especially early in that portion of the year, is the traditional season for club volleyball. However, with the WIAA having pushed the fall sports back into a modified spring schedule in March and April of 2021, it’s likely the conflicts won’t be nearly as burdensome as they could have been had the fall sports started in January. The March-April time frame this year had it not been wiped out by COVID-19 basically had a couple of big events – the Pacific Northwest Qualifier tournament in Spokane along with regional championship tournaments.

Elite teams, such as Kent Juniors or Bellevue-based Sudden Impact, also had other out-of-town tournament commitments, but most teams were limited to the local and Spokane action. If such a schedule were to hold for next year, and the USA Volleyball Puget Sound Region has indicated in the past that they may be flexible on this issue, conflicts may not be a big deal. Still, though, clubs on their own could make that a rule, and that will be something to keep an eye on. Additionally, the WIAA rules, and what we see as the contradictory nature of those rules in light of the current situation and just the normal demands placed on club athletes, which has affected high school teams at both Mount Si and Cedarcrest High Schools in recent years, could invite additional scrutiny on this subject this coming school year.

But, what about the legality? Well, the short answer to that is we’re not sure. Schools in Kingco as you know have, in the past, as school policy required athletes to sign a form regarding the school’s alcohol and drug policy and acknowledgment of penalties if athletes violate the rules. Schools could presumably argue that they are monitoring kids’ off-campus activities in this fashion so they could argue these rules regarding club participation fall in that same premise. But, as Van Horn put it, it would be an interesting case to try in Washington or in any other state because the net result of that could change the fabric of high school sports as we know it now, not that it’s not going to face significant changes coming out of the pandemic.

So, something to think about and perhaps talk around the water cooler about this morning. If you have thoughts, post a direct message on our Twitter feed @snovalleysports, reply to this post or fire us an email at snovalleysports@gmail.com.

To our diamond cuts on a Friday.

College Summer Baseball: Pios fall, Marenco hitless again
In the Expedition League, the Western Nebraska Pioneers made a late rally, but fell short, falling 7-6 last night at home in Gering, NE, to North Dakota’s Badlands Big Sticks to wrap up the season series with that opposing squad. North Bend’s Spencer Marenco continued to struggle at the plate, going 0-4 and seeing his average drop to .238 on the season. The 2019 Mount Si HS grad, as recently as three weeks ago, was hitting at a good clip, better than .300, but is just 5-41 in his last 10 games, resulting in that drop.

Marenco, a freshman this fall at Yakima Valley College after his initial season was scrapped due to COVID-19 this spring, and his Pio teammates resume their season battle with in-state rival Hastings tonight. The Sodbusters and Pios go at it at 5:30 tonight with the game on TuneIn, search KOZY-FM for the broadcast.

Youth Baseball: Mount Si’s Prasad chips in for select squad in successful day at the beach
The Redmond Dudes 15U club team made a day of it down on the beach yesterday, playing a pair in Westport on the Washington Coast.

Their first game was a doozy, as they broke out to a big 5-0 lead in the first inning against New Level Extreme before the Tacoma-area team rallied with a seven-run second. The Dudes overcame that adversity and posted a 10-8 win. Mount Si’s Noah Prasad served as a so-called “courtesy runner” in the game and scored three runs for Redmond. The Dudes didn’t let up in the nightcap, getting a 9-7 win over the Snohomish Sox. Prasad contributed nicely to the efforts for the Dudes, going 1-3 with a run scored.

Good stuff for sure and a congrats to the team on their efforts yesterday. Hope they were all able to enjoy some time at the beach with their families while down there on the Coast.

Posted in Basketball, College Sports, Lacrosse, News and Comment, On the Diamond, On the Links, On the Slopes, Soccer, Tennis, Track/XC/Running, Volleyball, Water Sports, Wrestling/Gymnastics | Leave a comment

Small college fall sports playoffs canceled, affecting large number of local athletes, and diamond cuts on a Thursday

Good Thursday morning. A lot to talk about this morning, and for small college athletes yesterday all over the United States, the day proved not to be a good one.

NCAA’s Division II and III both announced the cancellation of fall sports championships yesterday. The two small-school divisions announced their decisions one after the other, with Division III doing theirs first followed by Division II. This decision affects small college sports all over the country as we noted, and in particular around 16 schools in the Northwest ranging from Pacific Lutheran and Seattle Pacific Universities in Washington to Western Oregon and George Fox Universities in Oregon.

In a statement, the head of the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Council expressed their disappointment at not being able to proceed with fall sports championships. “After reviewing and discussing the Board of Governors’ directives, the Division II Presidents Council made the difficult decision that holding fall championships in any capacity was not a viable or fiscally responsible option for Division II,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of the University of South Carolina-Aiken and chair of the council. “This decision was discussed very thoroughly, and I assure you, it was not made lightly. It is important to note that fall student-athletes will be given eligibility-related flexibility to allow them championship opportunities in the future. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on providing the best championships experience for our winter and spring student-athletes who were not afforded those opportunities at the beginning of this pandemic.” The head of the Division III council also expressed similar sentiments in a separate statement announcing their championship cancellations.

As Jordan indicated, NCAA Division II had previously allowed for athletes to retain their eligibility from this season were it to be lost. According to the NCAA, what this would entail is if a student-athlete’s team is unable to play more than half of the sport’s allotted contest dates during the 2020-21 calendar year, was eligible to play and thus were to have used a season of eligibility this year, the student-athlete would be able to apply for a waiver to retain that eligibility. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference had previously announced a suspension of fall sports with the hope they’d be able to make those up in the spring, but with this championship cancellation, it is unclear how this will affect the GNAC’s plans.

As for Division III, it is not known what will be allowed nationally, but we were informed last night by Ken Fowler, a former longtime Mount Si High School sports supporter whose daughter, Mia, a Wildcat girls’ soccer alum, plays women’s soccer for Chapman University, a D-III school in southern California, that that school indicated a similar plan to what D-II announced, but for Mia specifically, her ability to utilize it will depend on whether she can resolve some potential schedule conflicts with her academic responsibilities at the university. We will continue to check on the D-III situation for you. The Northwest Conference, the Northwest regional D-III league, too announced a cancellation of fall sports earlier this summer with the hope they would resume those next spring. Again, though, as with the GNAC, how the news yesterday impacts those efforts is not known.

The decisions yesterday affect a total of around 20 college athletes from the Valley, including Fowler, Pomona-Pitzer football player Michael Collins, also a MSHS alum, and Cedarcrest High School alums Alicia Krivanek and Ian Fay, both of whom are cross country runners, at D-III Pacific Lutheran and D-II Western Washington, respectively.

The cancellations leave the Division I playoffs as the lone ones to remain contested at this point, but it is not clear what will happen with those. With conferences looking to play at that level this fall, there is a chance those will continue but at best right now it’s a 50/50 proposition. The Big Sky Conference, which covers Division I schools in primarily Idaho, Montana and Utah but also includes Eastern Washington University, announced a delay in their decision yesterday on fall sports to later this month pending an NCAA announcement. A decision for them is expected to impact a couple of local athletes.

College Summer Baseball: Willmar doubled up at home despite efforts of Valley’s Gorrell
The Northwoods League saw the Willmar Stingers of Minnesota fall at home last night, as they were doubled up by their rivals Mankato MoonDogs 14-7. North Bend’s Gavin Gorrell got extended work on the mound last night as he saw his first action in awhile for Willmar. The free agent college pitcher pitched three innings, allowing a run on two hits walking two, striking out two and receiving no decision. Gorrell, who will be a junior this fall, is exploring his options for future college baseball after the program he was part of, Boise State, ceased operations earlier this summer in a controversial decision. Several of his former Bronco teammates have transferred to other schools and it is anticipated Gorrell, a 2017 MSHS grad, will do the same. We’ll keep you posted on where he ends up.

Youth baseball scores
Action from Gamechanger and the Gamechanger app, available on Apple IPhones and IPads in their app store.

Showtime Oregon 7, WW Sweets ’22 18U 2: Showtime held the Sammamish-based Sweets to just four hits as they took this one down at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, OR, home of the minor-league Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Mount Si’s Jake Smith was 0-2 for Sweets in this one.

Washington A’s 18U Premier 11, Rock Creek 3 (game one, doubleheader): The Sammamish-based A’s and Ravensdale-based RC traveled a good 100-plus miles down to Aberdeen and the Seattle Premier League’s home away from home for action yesterday at Pioneer Park, with Mount Si alum Troy Baunsgard helping to power a twinbill-opening win for the A’s. Baunsgard went 1-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI to pace the victors.

Woodinville Baseball Club Elite 10, Boys of Summer 15U 1: The Woodinville team rolled to a win last night despite the performance of Mount Si’s Mason Martinell for the Bellevue-based Boys. He doubled to headline a 2-2 effort, driving in his team’s lone run of the contest. Fellow Wildcat Tristan Aasland went 0-2 with a walk for BoS.

Northwest Star Academy 8, WW Sweets ’22 18U 3: Sweets opened things with a 3-0 lead after their half of the opening frame, but the suburban Portland team responded by scoring eight times over the next five innings to take the win. Smith was 0-1 for Sweets.

Rock Creek 10, Washington A’s 18U Premier 3 (game two, doubleheader): RC turned the tables in the nightcap down on the Washington Coast to get the doubleheader split. Baunsgard, who graduated from MSHS back in June, pitched an inning for the A’s and did well, allowing one hit while walking one. He received no decision and at the plate went 1-4.

Posted in College Sports, Football, On the Diamond, On the Links, Soccer, Track/XC/Running, Volleyball, Water Sports | Leave a comment

Diamond cuts, and we say goodbye this morning to a Seattle media legend

Good Wednesday morning. Even though it is your editor’s birthday today, we are up and bringing you last night’s action involving local athletes.

However, we first want to offer our condolences to the family of Seattle media legend Pat O’Day. It was announced last night by his family on social media that the longtime radio personality, who was well known for his work calling the Seafair hydroplane races for many years, passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

Those of you who are native to this area and are perhaps a little older than your editor are very familiar with O’Day’s work in local radio. He was a top disc jockey for stations in Seattle, most notably KJR back in the 1960’s, but ended up working in radio as a DJ until the 1980’s. He continued his Seafair work up until last year, and is also known by many for his radio and TV spots promoting the Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle, which treats alcohol addiction and related issues. He had been retired and living up in the San Juan Islands for many years now, but continued to commute down from there to do the Seafair races every summer. For some in our region, O’Day is as much a beloved figure as the children’s television character J.P. Patches, who was seen by generations of kids in our region on Seattle TV screens during that same time period and whose memorabilia is still being sold today.

So we offer our thoughts and prayers to Mr. O’Day’s family this morning, and want you all to know many in our Valley community, many in our region, appreciated his contributions to our civic culture and will miss him.

Now to the sports action.

We hit the college summer baseball diamond and go to Gering, NE, where the season continues to be a struggle for the Western Nebraska Pioneers. For the fifth straight night, they played the Badlands Big Sticks from North Dakota and for the fifth straight night, the Pios were on the losing end of the contest, falling to Badlands 7-3. The loss was WNP’s sixth in a row total and it dropped them to a woeful 13-25 on the season, the worst record in the Expedition League. North Bend’s Spencer Marenco led off the game in the batting order for the Pios, and got a hit, a rarity for him the past few games, finishing 1-5 with a run scored but seeing his average drop some more, now down to .247. So it does continue to be a struggle for the 2019 Mount Si HS alum, who played this spring at Yakima Valley CC.

The two teams meet for the final time this season tonight as the Pios look to avoid a season series sweep. 5:30 is the first pitch this evening in Gering and if you have TuneIn on your phone or mobile device, you’ll be able to catch the game. Use the app and search KOZY-FM for the home Pio broadcast or KDXN-FM for the visiting Badlands broadcast.

Mount Si’s Smith latest Wildcat baseball player to get a chance to compete on big stage
A couple of weekends ago, several players associated with Mount Si High School’s baseball program competed in a tournament down in Salem, OR, that saw them finish the event playing on a minor-league baseball diamond. Well, last night, another Wildcat got that opportunity.

Junior-to-be Jake Smith played in two games for his Sammamish-based WW Sweets 2022 18U club team against Oregon-based foes at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes’ field, Volcanoes Stadium, in nearby Keizer, OR. In the back end of the two-fer, Smith pitched and allowed all five runs the Sweets gave up in the contest to Northwest Star Academy on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked two, struck out nine and took the loss as the Sweets could not rally late and fell 5-4 to the Star team. Smith also hit in the contest and went 1-2 with a run scored.

In the earlier game of the pair last night, Sweets beat Showtime Oregon 8-5 and Smith also went 1-2 with a run scored in that contest. So a good night for the Wildcat two-sport athlete (he also plays football for Mount Si) despite the mixed results, but the opportunity to play on this kind of a stage – a pro baseball diamond (the Volcanoes are a minor-league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants major league team) – is one that Smith can hopefully cherish as he continues to pursue his goals and dreams in the sport.

Good stuff there and congrats to Jake on his efforts from us here.

Could a pair of Mount Si baseball alums be sharing the same pro clubhouse with top players?
That question is one we ask this morning, after a news report from New Zealand suggested such could occur.

We of course are talking about MSHS grads Max Brown and Jimmy Boyce. The natives of New Zealand play pro ball for the Auckkand Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League, and according to 1News New Zealand, the team sent out a pair of cryptic tweets yesterday, suggesting that at least one Major League Baseball slugger who is in the top 50 in career home runs and also a pitcher who is a former Cy Young Award winner for best pitcher in the big leagues are apparently showing interest in playing for the Tuatara, who fared well last season.

Hwever, the tweets stressed that the current COVID-19 pandemic needs to be taken care of and the season allowed to proceed before that turns into reality. New Zealand is one of the few bright spots of the pandemic, having successfully controlled their outbreak there before it got out of hand, but did so through a very strict lockdown regimen there which as far as we know hasn’t been lifted yet. So that, too, would have to be lifted to some degree before these players would sign there and play.

So we’ll see what happens in the coming months there, that’s for sure.

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Tuesday news from the gridiron and the diamond…..

Good Tuesday morning. We’ll have some diamond cuts in a moment, but we first have some Mount Si High School football news for you.

The Wildcats may be enjoying their summer break, but some of their top players are going to be spending some of it helping their community’s less fortunate. Tomorrow, players are scheduled to be at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in downtown Snoqualmie helping to unload trucks containing over 10,000 lbs. of fresh fruits and vegetables, all of which will be going to help familes in our community who are in need of food during the pandemic and resulting economic hardships. The produce and other food will be distributed to folks tomorrow afternoon, and the players, led by senior-to-be Andrew Edson, will be also assisting in that effort as well.

The players will be on site at 11am with the food distribution set to take place later as noted. Great opportunity for Mount Si’s program to help those less fortunate in our community and we will have photos of this tomorrow.

Also this morning:

Former Mount Si football assistant coach in hospital: A former volunteer Mount Si football assistant coach is currently in the hospital recovering from serious injuries suffered after getting involved in a motorcycle accident.

According to Indianapolis TV station WXIN, coach Howard Mudd is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after suffering pelvic and spine injuries in the wreck, which took place last week. Mudd, who served as a Wildcat football volunteer assistant coach for a couple of seasons several years ago, and worked with players such as former QB’s Harrison D’Anna and JoJo Hillel, receiver Parker Dumas and Eric Daniels, tight end Colton Swain and limenan Chris Schlicting, most of whom went on to play collegiately, spent many years as a National Football League assistant coach, most notably with the Seahawks and Indianapolis’s Colts. His opportunity to be associated with the Wildcats came about due to him having a residence within the Valley; we do not know if that is still the case, or whether the accident occurred locally.

Mudd in total was part of the NFL for over 50 seasons, either as a player or as a coach, dating back to the 1960’s.

Our best wishes to coach Mudd for a speedy recovery.

Another ex-Wildcat baseball player makes his mark in club ball
Mount Si High School’s baseball program on Sunday got a lot of ink on this blog with several current or former players making big impacts in various summer baseball games, both select high school and college. Well, that continued yesterday, as another former Wildcat got in on the fun.

This ex-Wildcat who we are making reference to here is Mason Gronewald. And boy, did he have a ball game or what. In the opener of a doubleheader for his Seattle Stars select 18U team against the Pierce County-based Diamond Sports at the Seattle Premier League’s 2020 COVID-19 home away from home in Aberdeen, he homered to highlight a 3-4 game, scoring a run and driving in three more, as the Stars won that game 7-2. They would go on to sweep the doubleheader, taking the nightcap 2-1.

Gronewald went 0-3 in that game, but the efforts in that first game were big, that’s for sure. He will be a senior this fall at Mercer Island High School, where he transferred to following his freshman year spent playing with the Wildcat program’s freshman “C” team. Gronewald, whose sister is MSHS softball alum Abby Gronewald, told us last night via social media that he, through his club team, has been talking to various colleges but has not as of yet made any decisions. Efforts, though, such as this one, will help enhance the possibilities for him to make it to the next level, so a good day for sure for Gronewald.

The league has been playing games this summer at Aberdeen’s Pioneer Park after all major Seattle-area facilities were closed due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions imposed by state and local health authorities. One other team – the Sammamish-based Washington A’s Premier – also has local representation, with MSHS grads Troy Baunsgard and Harrison Clark both playing for that team. The A’s played two on Sunday but neither player participated in those two games.

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