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EAST WENATCHEE — At the start of this season, Wenatchee Valley Rams head coach Mickey White wasn’t optimistic that his team would have a chance to defend its 2012 Washington Football League championship. “We thought this was going to be a rebuilding year,” White said. “At our coaches’ meeting three weeks before the season started, we looked at each other and told ourselves, ‘If we go .500, we’ve had a hell of a season.’ ”
WENATCHEE — Dustin Willis coaching the Apple Valley Packers makes sense on a number of levels. Willis, the Wenatchee Valley College baseball coach, spent last summer as an assistant for the Twin City Titans, a Central Washington American Legion Baseball League rival of the Packers. When the Packers job opened up earlier this year, however, Willis couldn’t turn it down.
RICHLAND — Teams aren't supposed to do what the Cashmere baseball squad did this season. They just aren't.
Two weeks ago, Alex Ludeman, 16 of Waterville, set the course record at Hermiston’s super oval in Oregon. The car he is racing in the above photo is to a 5/8 scale, runs on a Yamaha 1200cc motorcycle engine and takes the form of a 1934 Ford coupe, according to his dad Joe.
When Juan Garcia, Julio Vera, Danny Mendoza and Juan Galvez came into the Chelan boys soccer program as freshmen, they had virtually no experience playing the defender position. Several years later, the group is one of the main reasons why the Goats are playing in the 1A state semifinals for the second straight season.
It was their time. It was just their time. If a program can consistently generate elite teams year after year after year, as the WVC softball program has done during the course of the past decade, statistical probabilities will indicate that one of those elite squads is bound to navigate the quirks and unpredictable nature of postseason play and win a championship.
PORTLAND — Before the Wenatchee Valley College softball team held its first practice, Knights head coach Shelly Pflugrath gathered her players and told them that she believed that they would win the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament this season. Pflugrath has coached many great teams during her tenure at WVC, but she never told any of her previous squads before the season that they were going to win a title.
The Cashmere and Cascade baseball teams have played three drama-filled games against each other so far this season. The Bulldogs won all three games, but two of those victories came by one run, and the third came as the result of a flurry of seventh-inning runs to break a tie. Because Cashmere has been the Caribou Trail League’s dominant program during the past several years (the Bulldogs won state titles in 2010 and 2012), an emerging Cascade team has known that it would need to beat Cashmere at least once in order to consider itself a legimiate contender.
CHELAN — It’s not a surprise that Saturday’s 1A boys soccer state tournament quarterfinal contest between Chelan and Manson was so physical. Both teams were playing with as much passion as they’ve played with all season long because a victory would represent a milestone for both squads — for the Goats, a win would send them to the state semifinals for a second consecutive year. For the Trojans, a 2B school, a win would earn them their first-ever semifinals berth. But the game meant something else to the two teams, something that transcends simply surviving and advancing. The two towns are, of course, just miles apart from one another, and as such, the Goats and Trojans players know each other well. They grew up playing together. Some players had relatives sitting on both sides of the two rooting sections.
The Cashmere baseball team won the 1A state championship last year, and the Bulldogs enter their Saturday first-round state playoff game with a gaudy 20-2 record in 2013. But Cashmere still prefers to see itself as somewhat of a dark horse. Last year, the Bulldogs were loaded with all-leaguers and were expected to win the state title. This season, coach Jeff Carlson’s team featured eight new starters, and the Bulldogs didn’t feel as much external pressure to succeed as they did a year ago, although they certainly retained high expectations for themselves.