College conferences locally cancel fall sports amidst COVID-19, potentially impacting decision on high school sports this fall, plus the Saturday cuts…..

Good Saturday morning. We start again with an update on COVID-19 and its impact on high school and college sports.

As we all wait to see what the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association decides to do about high school sports in Washington as the pandemic continues, actions yesterday by two regional college conferences may significantly influence that decision-making process for the WIAA.

Both the NCAA Great Northwest Athletic Conference and NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference announced the cancellation of fall sports activities at their member schools. The Cascade announced their conference sports would be shut down through November 1, while the GNAC’s shutdown will last through November 30. This impacts a large number of smaller colleges in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, California and western Canada, and follows a similar move announced last week by the community college-oriented Northwest Athletic Conference, which covers two-year schools in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The moves by the college conferences, which will impact a sizable number of Valley college athletes competing in the sports of football, soccer, volleyball, golf and cross country, could impact the WIAA’s decision on its fall high school sports plan. As we have been telling you, this week, it was revealed at a Kennewick School District board meeting the association which governs Washington’s high school sports has been exploring a plan that would see sports start in January of 2021 with winter, then fall, then spring sports in two-month increments thereafter to the end of school in June of next year. While it is not believed the association wants to do this, these college conference moves combined with the announcement Thursday by Washington Governor Jay Inslee to roll back large gathering caps in so-called “phase three” counties under the state’s COVID-19 restart plan may force the WIAA’s hand.

The association is expected to make its announcement on Wednesday about how it will proceed, and they also are in addition to exploring the above-mentioned plan also looking at a plan that involves maintaining the existing delayed start to the fall sports season with no other changes. The WIAA earlier this month announced a delay in the start of fall sports for high schools in the state back to September 5-7.

As to whether the college athletes will lose a year of eligibility as a result of the announcement, that is unknown. Both leagues will attempt to do some form of spring scheduling to make up for the canceled fall sports season, and it will be likely based on whether that happens or not whether athletes will lose that eligibility.

The decisions yesterday leave the Northwest Conference of the NCAA Division III as the only regional college conference outside of the Pac-12 to not announce a decision on fall sports, but the decisions of the other college leagues likely will result in a similar move for the NWC. They are expected to announce their decision soon.

Time now for yesterday’s scoreboard.

Baseball
For a change, we have a full plate of youth baseball featuring top Mount Si High School players. Action from Gamechanger and the Gamechanger app, available on Apple IPhones and IPads in their app store.

Redmond Dudes 15U 12, Grangeville Bulldogs 0: Mount Si’s Noah Prasad and teammate Noah Kimura combined on a no-hitter for the Dudes as they blanked the Idaho-based team at a tournament in Nampa. Prasad worked three innings walking four and striking out three, and helped himself with his offensive efforts, going 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.

Northwest Naturals 17U 6, Kirkland Merchants 16U 2: At Colfax in the Palouse Summer Series, the Sammamish-based Nats picked up a win over their Eastside rivals. Mount Si’s Jack Phillips was 0-3 with a walk for NWN in this one, while fellow Wildcat Hayden Weaver worked two perfect innings of relief on the mound, striking out four and picking up the save for the Nats.

Spokane Expos 16U 9, Bellevue Dragons 18U 2: Also over at the Series in Colfax, the Spokane-based squad easily handled the Bellevue team. Mount Si’s Anthony Gilden was 0-2 with a walk for the Dragons.

New Level Kings 3, Northwest Naturals 16U 2: The Pierce County team handled the Sammamish-based Nats at an event in the Tri-Cities, being held despite Franklin and Benton Counties, which the Tri-Cities area is located in, only being at phase 1.5 of the current Washington COVID restart plan. Mount Si’s Parker Norah started the game on the hill for NWN, allowing a run on one hit in three innings with a walk and three strikeouts. He received no decision. Fellow Wildcat Josh Freudenberg was 0-1 also for NWN in this one.

WW Sweets ’22 18U 12, Mercedes-Benz Prep 4: To Nampa, ID, for this one and it was a blowout for the Sammamish-based Sweets aided by Mount Si’s Jake Smith, who was 1-4 with two runs scored as they took care of business to open their action yesterday.

Northwest Naturals 17U 4, Crew Athletics 1: Mount Si’s Dawson Schneider doubled, walked and scored two runs to pace the Nats to a win to close out opening day at the Palouse event last night in Whitman County. Weaver was 0-2 with an RBI and fellow Wildcat Tyler Disch was 0-2 with a walk and RBI for NWN.

Bellevue Dragons 18U 11, Northwest Reign 3: Gilden and his Bellevue teammates took the frustrations of their earlier loss out on the Pierce County-based team, and the Wildcat was very much part of the onslaught for the Dragons. A double, walk, three runs scored and three RBI’s for Gilden, as Bellevue finished the day with a split of their two games.

Northwest Naturals 16U 9, Columbia Basin Riverdogs 5: Freudenberg doubled, walked twice, scored a run and drove in another for the Nats as they held off the Tri-Cities based team over in eastern Washington.

New Level Prep 5, WW Sweets ’22 18U 4: Sweets held a 4-1 lead in the sixth but could not hold on as NLP rallied to stun the Eastside squad at Rodeo Field in downtown Nampa, ruining a great outing on the hill for Smith, who went 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out one. Smith received no decision and also was 0-2 at the plate with a walk.

Softball
Action at the USA Preps tournament continued featuring local athletes yesterday. Scores and highlights from Gamechanger and the Gamechanger app, available on Apple IPhones and IPads in their app store.

Washington Ladyhawks 16U Seeley 11, All-American Softball 3: At the Canyons Complex in St. George, UT, a pair of homers from Gig Harbor HS’s Riley Peschek powered the Puyallup-based Hawks to their first win of the weekend at the USA Preps tournament. Cedarcrest HS’s Riley Warden was 1-2 with a run scored for Seeley.

Easton Ventura 11, Absolute Blast Miller 16U 0: An early wake-up call for AbB also at Canyons and the bats were ice cold in their Utah opener yesterday, limited to just two hits in the loss to the southern California team. One of those two hits was by Mount Si’s Madison Bonham. Teammate and fellow Wildcat Jackalyn Gates was 0-1 for AbB.

California Cruisers 11, Washington Ladyhawks 16U Seeley 3: The nearly 100-degree heat perhaps sapped the energy from the Hawks, and it showed as they fell in their St. George nightcap. Warden was 0-2 for WLH.

Ohana Tigers 11, Absolute Blast Miller 16U 3: Bonham doubled for one of the Blast’s three hits in this loss to the California team which dropped AbB to 0-4 at the USA Preps event in southern Utah.

College Summer Baseball
Pios roll aided by Marenco: North Bend’s Spencer Marenco got the job done last night, going 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBI’s to pace the Western Nebraska Pioneers to a 12-4 win over the Hastings Sodbusters in an Expedition League clash in Hastings, NE. The win was the Pios’ 10th of the season in 22 outings thus far, and Marenco’s average rose to .327 on the season. He is a 2019 MSHS grad and is playing collegiately for Yakima Valley Community College. The two teams play again tonight.

Football
Mount Si player to show his skills off this weekend: Mount Si High School senior-to-be Cole Norah has accepted an invite to participate in a major college recruiting event. The Northwest Best Showcase will be taking place tomorrow in Portland and the Wildcat star running back and defensive back, who remains uncommitted at this point , will be among those participating. “Can’t wait to get out there and compete,” Norah wrote on Twitter in making the announcement yesterday. Ivy League colleges have been among those to contact Norah, but the NCAA’s recruiting shutdown, in which coaches and prospective recruits can’t talk to one another in person, has severely affected Norah’s recruitment. It is anticipated the player will verbally commit soon, but the fall sports situation as outlined above could also impact that. So we’ll keep you posted.

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.
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