Cox Reaches Another Milestone

DeSales head baseball coach Kim Cox and his program have achieved much in nearly three decades.
Numerous state championships.
Frequent league titles.
Induction into the Washington Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
And now: 600 wins.
Cox became just the third Washington high school baseball coach to reach the latter milestone on Saturday when his Irish downed Asotin,13-6, in the first game of a Southeast 2B District Nine league doubleheader.
DeSales also took the nightcap, 6-0, to earn another league championship.
Cox will be the first to credit others and shy away from the spotlight. Regardless, what happened in Asotin on Saturday had all Irish eyes smiling.

Warriors in Mourning

The area athletic scene suffered a loss this week with the passing of Jack Smiley.
Smiley, most recently the athletic director at Dayton High School, died of cancer on Tuesday at the age of 69.
He also served as A.D. at Waitsburg-Prescott and Prescott over the past decade or so.
I remember the joy of keeping baseball statistics at Walla Walla Community College from the 1990 postseason through the 2000 campaign.
Smiley was an assistant coach at Walla Walla under Ken Johnson from 1990-94. During that time, the Warriors finished second in the NWAACC Championships twice (1990, 1994) and won or shared the Eastern Region title four times (1991-94).
Ryan Blair and Chad Smith, who played at WWCC during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, e-mailed me earlier this week to share their thoughts.
“He was a really phenomenal person who had a positive impact on my life,” said Blair, who currently has his own dental practice in Portland, Ore.
“He was such a gentleman and a great role model,” said Smith, who works for Spokane Hoopfest. “I loved not only his passion for the game of baseball, but also his leadership, caring and patience.”
There’s no doubt that Jack Smiley will be missed, but his positive contributions to the local athletic arena will not be soon forgotten.

Warriors Back in a Groove

A couple of weeks ago, Walla Walla Community College’s softball team dropped out of first place in the NWAACC Eastern Region standings after losing a league doubleheader to Wenatchee.
The Warriors are still in the No. 2 spot in the league, but they have to be feeling better about themselves.
WWCC went 4-0 at an NWAACC crossover tournament in Yakima last weekend, and extended their winning streak to eight games while improving to 19-3 in league, 31-5 overall, after sweeping league foes Spokane and Big Bend at Warrior Field this past Friday and Saturday.
When Walla Walla embarked on the Spokane-Big Bend road trip during the first round of league play, it treated the hosts rather rudely – outscoring them 55-3 in four games.
This past weekend, the Warriors scored 49 runs compared to a combined seven for the Sasquatch and Vikings.
WWCC will look to continue the momentum when it ends the home portion of its schedule this week when it hosts Treasure Valley Friday and Blue Mountain on Saturday.

Bobcat Futility

The National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats have lost 22 straight games – a streak that is the fourth longest in NBA history.
Their record is 7-58.
A loss in their regular-season finale with the New York Knicks on Thursday will guarantee Charlotte the lowest regular-season winning percentage in NBA history.
This, my friends, epitomizes futility.
I began watching NBA basketball before my 10th birthday. I recall falling in love with the Los Angeles Lakers – led by the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich – during their run to the league championship in 1971-72.
One team at the other end of the spectrum at that time was the Philadelphia 76ers. I remember their atrocious season in the early 70s that produced just nine wins in 82 games.
If there is a bright side for the Bobcats, it is that their season ends Thursday after their 66th game.
It could have been worse. The campaign could have been 82 games.

Flyers Can’t Stand Prosperity

Philadelphia entered game four of its National Hockey League playoff series with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night up three games to none.
They had a chance to close the the best-of-seven series out in front of their home fans.
Instead, the Penguins kept the series and their season alive with an unthinkable 10-3 victory.
It is obvious that Philadelphia did not bring the right attitude to the contest. Perhaps it expected Pittsburgh to cash it in and go into wait-until-next-year mode.
Whatever the reason, the Flyers have given the Penguins hope as the series goes back to Pittsburgh for game five.

Warriors Need to Regroup

I spoke to Walla Walla Community College softball coach Mike Staudenmaier by phone on Saturday night, and he was disappointed to say the least.
His Warriors had been swept by Wenatchee Valley in an NWAACC Eastern Region doubleheader earlier in the day.
To make matters worse, WWCC dropped one game behind WVC in the race for the league championship with 10 East Region games left.
Walla Walla had a chance to take control of the East. A sweep on Saturday would have meant a three-game cushion over Wenatchee. A split would have kept a one-game advantage intact.
The Warriors will now need help to claim the league title. But the last thing they need to do is worry about what other teams are doing. They need to finish the season on a strong note, then let the chips fall where they may.
This is a team that is capable of making a season-ending run. WWCC had won 18 of 19 games before its losses on Saturday.
Before returning to league play, Walla Walla will play in an NWAACC cross-over tournament in Yakima Saturday and Sunday. It would be a good time for the Warriors to recharge their battery, and get back to the ball they are capable of prior to resuming league play at the end of the month.

Anxious for BMGSA kick-off

I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again: One of the events I look forward to every year is being the public address announcer for the opening ceremonies that begin the Blue Mountain Girls Softball Association season.
The event is scheduled for Saturday morning at the Mill Creek Sports Complex.
My enthusiasm for the event is as strong as it was when I was first approached to perform the P.A. duties.
It’s a chance to reunite with so many great people who help make this thing go.
It’s a chance to get caught up in the excitement that is generated by the participating youngsters as they form the human tunnel for their fellow players to pass through.
It’s a chance to enjoy, smile, and get a warm feeling inside.
I have no doubt that Saturday’s happening will be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get started!!

Track Meet a True Carnival

I had the honor to be public address announcer for the 76th annual Carnival of Speed track and field meet Friday at Shockman Field in Milton-Freewater.
I’ve also covered it the past several years for the Union-Bulletin.
There are many aspects of the meet to appreciate – the number of schools participating, the splendid athletes, and the displays of team unity, just to name a few.
Something else worth marveling about is the outstanding support shown by numerous sections of the community in terms of volunteerism. Mac-Hi coach John Milleson told me afterward that 40-60 volunteers were on hand to contribute to a smoothly-run meet. All roles are important, from starters to those who set up hurdles, from concession workers to those who run final results to the announcers’ booth.
Let this serve as a shout out to all of the volunteers who were on hand Friday. Your efforts helped contribute to the success of the 76th Carnival of Speed.

Williams Worse Off

Just when you thought things could not get any worse for former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams, they did on Thursday.
A tape surfaced with comments made by Williams in a team meeting prior to the Saints’ NFC playoff game with San Francisco.
The remarks included Williams encouraging his defenders to rough up the likes of running back Frank Gore.
Talk about bringing further shame to you and your team.

UK Fans Behavior Disgraceful

There are many ways to celebrate when a team you are rooting for achieves a great victory in the athletic arena.
Perhaps high-fives, hugs, kisses, or maybe a trip to a local pizza joint or other eatery are ways to go.
Going out into the streets in a rowdy fashion, turning cars, and setting couches on fire, on the other hand, are unwise things to do.
That, unfortunately, is what happened Saturday night in Lexington, Kentucky just hours after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team defeated in-state rival Louisville in the first of two NCAA tournament semifinal games played in New Orleans.
This is not the first such case of fans going wild. Alot of us have seen this routine many times before. I continue to be astonished by the behavior of people who celebrate triumph or mourn defeat in incredibly bizarre ways.
Ten months ago, Vancouver hockey fans rioted after the Canucks lost the seventh game of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins and brought disgrace to their city.
These Kentucky “fans” should be ashamed of themselves. Let’s hope a similar happening does not occur after Monday’s chamipionship game, regardless of the outcome.