Diamond notes, and an update on fall high school sports and how decisions both locally and nationally at high school and college levels could impact Washington athletes

Good Friday morning.

Busy morning for you and we start on the college baseball summer circuit for you and it was another strong night for North Bend’s Spencer Marenco last night. Coming off his 3-4 effort in Wednesday night’s game for his Western Nebraska Pioneers in their win over the opposing Hastings Sodbusters, Marenco was on the field again last night for the Pios as they opened an eastern Nebraska weekend road swing against the Fremont Moo. Well, the 2019 Mount Si High School grad offered up an encore.

The Yakima Valley CC player went 3-5 with two runs scored and an RBI as Western Nebraska took a 9-0 fifth-inning lead after scoring six runs in that frame, then needed a couple of stellar plays from Marenco defensively later in the game to help hold off the host Moo 12-9 in front of slightly over 300 fans at Moller Field in Fremont, NE, located just northwest of Omaha. As we have noted in past Pios coverage, fans are permitted to attend games in the state as per Nebraska’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

The win was the Pios’ second straight after a six-game losing streak dropped them to under .500 on the season, and Marenco’s strong performance the last two nights has lifted his batting average, which had been as low as .200 just a few days ago, up to a crisp .379. So perhaps with a hot bat, Mount Si fans supporting Marenco from afar will get to catch him in action again tonight as the two teams continue their series this evening. It’s a 5:00 first pitch and you can find it on the TuneIn app on your phone or tablet, search KOZY-FM.

Also of note from last night’s game were two other items. First, Spencer’s father Jose tells us that former Valley resident Cooper Morrison is playing for the Moo, and he saw action last night, going 2-5 and he is hitting .273 this summer for Fremont. We’re checking, but we believe Morrison played this spring for UC Davis in California, and was a graduate of a high school in the San Francisco Bay area. Morrison resided in the Valley as a youngster. Also, Spencer’s teammate Josh Davis, he a Bothell HS alum, left the game midway through after getting hit by a pitch, the first of three straight hit batsmen for Western Nebraska that were factors in that six-run fifth. Davis hurt his wrist and we are checking on his status now for you Cougar faithful. Davis finished the game 0-2. Our best to him for a speedy recovery.

CHS alum Davenport set for summer debut, after academic recognition by college conference: This summer was expected to be one of rest and relaxation for Cedarcrest High School alum Aaron Davenport. Davenport, set to be a sophomore again this fall at the University of Hawaii after his sophomore season this spring was wiped out due to the NCAA’s cancellation of spring sports following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, was slated to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League before that summer college league became one of many to cancel their seasons due to the continued outbreak. So he has been home taking care of his parents, but an opportunity for him opened up and he will be playing this season after all.

The Portland Pickles offered him that opportunity, and Davenport told us last night he is slated to start their season opener tomorrow. The Pickles are part of the West Coast League, a separate college summer circuit, but the WCL, like the Cape Cod league, canceled its season due to COVID-19. So the Pickles banded together with several other Portland-area teams to form a league for this summer called the Wild West League and they will be playing starting tomorrow. The Pickles will be playing another Portland team, the Gherkins, in the game tomorrow night, which will be held at a Salem-area high school and have fans present – health officials are permitting a cap of 200 attendees at games. YouTube and Facebook Live will also have the game online for free for those here in the Valley who want to cheer on the 2018 CHS’er. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.

Valley fans will want to tune in to support Davenport, not only because he is getting it done on the field, but he is getting it done in the classroom and repping his high school alma mater very well in the process. Davenport was announced yesterday as one of nine Warriors baseball players to receive the Big West conference’s All-Academic honor, awarded to athletes earning better than a 3.0 grade point average in classroom studies at the UH campus in Honolulu, studies that for the majority of this spring semester were done all-online due to campus closures caused by the pandemic. So good work by Aaron, and we wish him luck tomorrow.

Fall high school sports plans nationally come into focus, potentially affecting Washington
There were several developments yesterday at both the high school and college levels both locally and nationally regarding plans for fall sports that could potentially have an impact here in Washington.

As you know, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced earlier this week the delay of the fall high school sports season in Washington until at least September 5 due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the Evergreen State, a rise which has put on hold the state’s reopening plans. The move has fueled continued uncertainty about whether a season will actually occur this fall, and that has left families perhaps looking for options outside of Washington.

Well, an option came open yesterday for those families. The state of Utah’s high school athletic association voted to proceed with a normal fall sports season in that state, despite continued concerns about a rise of cases in that state; to that end, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that some areas, such as around Salt Lake City, are at a higher risk level as per state reopening plans, so seasons at those schools may not start on time. This is important as families from Washington and other states that may contact Utah officials about potentially transferring into that state for high school sports opportunities for their kids this fall will likely look at schools around Salt Lake and other urban areas around the I-15 core. Gov. Gary Herbert announced a full mask requirement for schools in the state if they do reopen on time this fall, as is currently slated.

Other states also are making decisions – New Mexico announced a shift of their fall sports to the spring of 2021 and there was also national play of comments made by the Dallas, TX, school superintendent in which he suggested that Texas high school football may not have a season this fall, comments which are likely to cause a major uproar in the state and also reverberate nationally, as Texas is a likely destination for top players from so-called “closed” states wanting to transfer to play this fall.

Back here in Washington, a clue about a possible decision may have come from the Northwest Athletic Conference, the regional conference covering community colleges in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. They announced a suspension of sports except for cross country until after the start of 2021, with cross country expected to occur as normal this fall with restrictions. There has been conjecture we have heard in some quarters the WIAA may lean in this direction as well, but issues such as how you deal with multi-sport athletes at schools eligibility-wise, an issue likely to be a bigger factor for a school such as Cedarcrest as opposed to Mount Si, and this transfer question as we’ve discussed above. And if you think the idea of kids and their families leaving the state for high school sports is crazy, think again.

The issue has, as you know, received attention from us over the past few weeks, and got some airtime on Wednesday during an interview KJR radio hosts Chris Egan and Jason Puckett did with Eastlake High School football coach Don Bartel, an interview and subsequent post-interview segment you can listen to here with the appropriate IHeart Radio login. Additionally, this issue may have played a factor in the recent exit of the Huard sisters, Macey and Haley, along with their parents, former UW Husky QB Brock and his wife Molly, also a former UW athlete, from the Seattle area to Colorado, where the two girls will play basketball for a private school in the Denver area. So it is out there, and while most families likely will not exercise this option, as it would require a complete physical exit from Washington to the other state for residence and employment purposes, that it is out there means it’s something schools, coaches and fans need to keep an eye on. If we hear of any high-profile exits of Valley athletes due to the pandemic and the season start delay, we’ll let you know.

The WIAA is scheduled to announce further guidance on the subject July 22, and it is after that date that families looking to exit may do so.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
This entry was posted in Basketball, College Sports, Football, News and Comment, On the Diamond, On the Links, Soccer, Tennis, Track/XC/Running, Volleyball, Water Sports, Wrestling/Gymnastics. Bookmark the permalink.