The 2014 softball season opens tomorrow and this is the 36th season of the program at WHS. And back for his 20th season as coach is Brent Grothe. The long-time head man managed the girls from 1991 to ’95, took a four year break and has been back on the job since the turn of the century.
The game Wednesday with Cascade of Leavenworth is both the season and home opener. In 35 years Wenatchee has an 18-17 record in season openers and a 20-15 mark in home openers.
Wednesday, Cascade home.
A pattern is being set. This is the sixth straight season Wenatchee has opened at home with Cascade. Like last year, the two teams will meet again next month. In a half dozen games the series is tied at 3-3, with the Kodiaks having a two-game win streak after sweeping both contests last spring.
Friday, Mount Si, home.
Wenatchee’s history with Mount Si goes back goes back 32 seasons. In 1983 the Wildcats came to town and the host squad took both ends of a doubleheader. The Snoqualmie school has also been here four of the past five years, with the visitors winning all four games.
Friday, Wenatchee Valley Invitational.
The Panthers play in a tournament Friday at the Highlander Golf Course in East Wenatchee. This will be Wenatchee’s third tournament in eight days. Last Friday they placed sixth in a field of 17 teams at the Hanford Invite at Horn Rapids Golf Course in Richland, and yesterday they were fourth of 15 teams in the Moses Lake Invite at the Moses Lake Golf Club.
A busy six days for the Panther golfers with three tournaments between Wednesday and Monday. Tomorrow is the Canyon Lakes Invitational in Kennewick at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course, Friday the Central Washington Invitational at Apple Tree Golf Course in Yakima and Monday the Jack Barnes Invitational at Three Lakes.
To date the boys have had two tournaments. They began the season with a fifth place finish among 13 teams at the Pasco Invite at the Sun Willows Golf Course, and Friday they were eighth of 21 schools at the Tri-Cities Country Club in Kennewick.
Jack Barnes Invite. One of the oldest boys’ prep tournaments in the state is the Jack Barnes Invite. Started in 1966, Monday’s event will be the 48th. It has been played every year except 2008 when rain forced cancelation. It started as the Wenatchee Invitational and after 25 years was renamed the Jack Barnes Memorial in 1991 in memory of Jack Barnes who coached the program for 20 years. More recently it is called the Jack Barnes Invitational. Every tournament has been played at Three Lakes Golf Club except 2010 when it moved to the Highlander Golf Course.
BOYS and GIRLS TENNIS
The Panthers begin another season of tennis as both teams swing into action Saturday. This season, like last year, the two teams have identical schedules. Norm Armstrong is back for his 15th season coaching the girls, and so far through 14 years he has never had a losing season. For the boys Jared Vidano returns for his second year as coach. Last season they were 10-0 and league champs.
Saturday, Coke Classic, Yakima.
This is an event the Panthers have taken part in several times the past dozen years. Last spring the boys tied for first among eight teams, and the girls placed fourth in their eight-team event.
BOYS SOCCER (0-1)
The soccer squad is a traveling bunch this week. Tuesday the bus points west and they head for Sammamish for a game with Skyline. By the end of the week they are off in the opposite direction to the Lilac City for contests with Central Valley Friday and Shadle Park Saturday. It’s payback time. Last March all three of those schools came to the Apple Capital.
Tuesday, Skyline (0-0-1) away.
This is the fourth straight year the Panthers have faced the Spartans. Skyline has been the victor in the first three. The Spartans compete in the KingCo 4A Conference. They have played one game so far that ended in a 1-1 tie with Camas.
Friday, Central Valley (1-0) away.
A year ago in the Apple Bowl Wenatchee shutout the Bears 1-0. That evened the series with the Spokane school at one win apiece. In the 2005 state tournament CV topped the Panthers 4-0. Central Valley opened their season with a 3-0 win over Kamiakin.
Saturday, Shadle Park (0-2) away.
This is only the second meeting with Shadle Park. A year ago Wenatchee stopped the Highlanders 3-2. SPHS has played two games and lost to Kennewick 6-0- and Toppenish 1-0.
The season opener last week against Chiawana was Dennis Tronson’s 250th as coach of the Panthers. His first game was a 2-1 victory at Mount Spokane in March 1999. In 15-plus seasons Tronson’s record is 135-113-2.
This is at least the 80th season for baseball at Wenatchee. Records are really hard to come by before the 1930s, and they are sketchy from the 30s to the 50s. I’m fairly certain I have complete season records for the past 51 seasons (since 1963). Jeff Zehnder returns for his third season as coach of the Panthers, and his first couple of campaigns have had very positive results – two league championships.
Saturday, Sumner home.
It will be Purple and Gold all over the diamond Saturday as Sumner comes over the mountains for the season opener. The Pierce County school has the same colors as Wenatchee. This will be the second consecutive season that the Panthers and Spartans have opened against each other. Last March WHS won 5-0 on their way to a 19-win season. Sumner is a member of the South Puget Sound 2A League, but with an increase in enrollment, will move up to 3A next fall. By the time SHS gets here for the 6 p.m. game Saturday they will have already played three games (weather permitting). Their schedule shows games Wednesday with Bethel, Friday with Steilacoom and Saturday afternoon with Eastmont.
One More Thing on Basketball
Someone popped off following the boys’ victory over Moses Lake to win the district championship, and claimed this was the first district title in the history of the school. The word got to the Wenatchee World and twice it was published. Also, I was told it was heard around the school “multiple times.” And I received a phone call from the school for clarification because they heard it and couldn’t believe it.
NO, NO, NO! As I stated in my report on February 25 after it was first mentioned in the World, this “first ever” claim is far, far from the truth. Between 1928 and 1963 Wenatchee won 10 district championships.