Pennant races red hot. Spokane perched in first. Wenatchee’s Lidyard twirls no-no

WCCBL All-Star Game co-MVP DJ Lidyard of Wenatchee tossed a complete game no-hit shutout Wednesday, July 19 at Moses Lake. Lidyard allowed only two base runners, both walks, while striking out 16 Pirates. Lidyard (pictured) improved his record to 4-1, increased his league leading strikeout total to 71, lowered his ERA to 1.70 and was named WCCBL Player of the Week.

Lidyard was selected in this year’s MLB June draft by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 43rd round out of Lower Columbia College. If he doesn’t sign, Lidyard is headed to pitch this fall for the NCAA National Champion Oregon State Beavers.

The WCCBL pennant race is heating up as five teams are in contention for the league’s two playoff spots. Spokane leads the field with Wenatchee and Bend nipping on their heels and Aloha and Kitsap within striking distance. Follow the final two weeks by visiting wccbl.com to get the latest scores and stats.

WCCBL stars compete in International tournament in Holland. Aloha Knights’ James Allan of University of Portland, Josh Keller of Lower Columbia College, Ryan Krauser of Washington State and Brooks Lindsley of Mt. Hood CC; Moses Lake Pirate Brad Tracy of Skagit CC; and Wenatchee AppleSox Marcus McKimmey of Columbia Basin College are representing the United States in Haarlem Baseball Week in Holland July 21-30. WCCBL Advisory Board Member and NWAACC Executive Director Dick McClain worked with Team USA General Manager Eric Campbell and Lower Columbia College head coach Kelly Smith to put together the team made up of current and former NWAACC All-Stars. The Honkbal International Tournament is contested every two years and is organized by the Dutch Baseball Federation and the Sport Initiative Foundation of the City of Haarlem and is sanctioned by the International Baseball Association. The six-team tourney is one of the largest in most popular baseball tournaments in Europe.

McClain’s USA team will face Chinese-Tapei, Japan, China, Cuba and the Netherlands. After losing its first tournament game 4-1 to Chinese-Tapei, USA beat Japan 4-3. For more information on the tournament visit www.honkbalweek.nl.

This Week in the WCCBL

Spokane (22-9, 5-2 last week): The first place Hawks continued to roll as Spokane captured two series including a home sweep of Kelowna to start the week. The RiverHawks took two of three at Bend before ending the week with a series opening road loss to Aloha. All-Star game top prospect Darin Holcomb of Gonzaga had another big week as Holcomb hit his league leading 5th and 6th homers. The Hawks’ power hitting third baseman and Spokane native went 7 for 23 with a double and two homeruns. Darin is fourth in the league in hitting with a .320 batting average and leads the league in HRs with 6 and RBI with 24. RiverHawk ace and All-Star Jeremy Hefner of Seminole State College tossed a complete game to open the week as the Hawks beat the Falcons 3-1. Hefner (4-2 W/L, 1.61 ERA) only allowed two hits and one earned run while striking out 9. Carl Uhl, last week’s WCCBL Player of the Week, had another outstanding week as Uhl went 8 for 24 with 5 runs scored, 4 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Uhl leads the Hawks in stolen bases with 13 and is hitting .296. Spokane leads the league in team ERA at 2.50. The first place RiverHawks enter the week with a 2 ½ game lead over second place Wenatchee and face the Sox at home Friday-Sunday, July 28-30.

Wenatchee (19-11, 5-1 last week): Wenatchee gained ground on Spokane by sweeping Kelowna at home to finish the week with a 5-game win streak. DJ Lidyard of Lower Columbia College tossed the AppleSox and WCCBL’s second no-hitter in the Sox 2-0 win at Moses Lake. Lidyard leads the league in strikeouts with 71 after punching out 16 Bucs. Clayton Mortenson of Gonzaga started the Sox winning streak by shutting out the Pirates 3-0 on 8 hits earning Wenatchee a two-game home split with Moses Lake. Mortenson improved his record to 2-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.82. The Sox opened its home series with Kelowna by beating the Falcons 5-4 in 15 innings. The extra-inning affair featured a gutsy relief performance by All-Star Nick Haughian of University Washington. The Sox closer tossed 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and struck out 8 to earn the win. Haughian lowered his ERA to 1.83 over 12 appearances and evened his record at 1-1 to go with his league leading 7 saves. Wenatchee finished the week and its series sweep of Kelowna by blowing out the Falcons 12-4 at home. All-Star catcher Dustin Colclough of Gonzaga and shortstop Brent Wyatt of Wenatchee Valley College were the hitting stars as Colclough went 3 for 5 with a double, homerun and 5 RBI and Wyatt went 4 for 6 with 4 runs scored, a homerun and 2 RBI. Wenatchee drew 3,924 fans for its three-game series with Kelowna with a series high crowd of 1,487 for its July 20 15-inning marathon that lasted 3 hours and 59 minutes.

Bend (18-12, 4-2 last week): Bend finished its nine-game home stand by sweeping Bellingham and dropping its series with first place Spokane. The Elks’ bats led the way as Bend leads the league in hitting with a .278 average and in runs scored with 153. In the team’s Bellingham series, All-Star outfielder Grant Desme of Cal Poly SLO went 5 for 10 with 4 RBI. Desme went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI in the Elks series opening 9-3 win over the Bells. Jason Erickson of University of Washington, normally a starter, saved both games in the Elks doubleheader sweep of Bellingham. In Bend’s series finale 6-4 win over the Bells, outfielder Kyle Carson of Cal Poly SLO went 2 for 5 with a double and 3 RBI. Carson blasted his first homer and went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI in the Elks 5-3 series opening loss to Spokane. The Elks lost its first two games vs. Spokane, but salvaged the finale as All-Star Brian Budrow of Oregon State tossed 6 shutout innings to earn the win as the Elks beat the Hawks 8-2. All-Star third baseman Eric Sogard of Arizona State and first baseman Dan Wentzell of George Fox led the offense going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored, a double and RBI and 2 for 3 with 3 RBI, respectively. Bend drew a league high crowd of 2,056 for its opener with the Bells and 1,719 for its doubleheader with the RiverHawks. Bend stands 3 1/2 games back of Spokane and hits the road for a six-game trip to Kelowna and Bellingham.

Aloha (17-14, 4-3 last week): Aloha dropped another road series before returning home to take its fourth straight home series with a series win vs. Bellingham. The Knights lost the rubber match of its series with Kitsap 2-1 in eleven innings at the Kitsap Fairgrounds. The one run loss was the team’s seventh of the WCCBL season. Aloha’s lone win vs. Kitsap featured another outstanding start from All-Star pitcher Marc Rzepczynski of University of California, Riverside. Rzepczynski tossed 8 1/3 innings and allowed only one run (unearned) in the Knights 4-1 victory over the Jackets. Shawn Wayt of Gonzaga pitched out of trouble in the ninth to earn his first save. Rzepczynski improved his record to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.96. Marc’s 9 strikeouts vs. Kitsap gave him a team leading 32 for the season. The Knights took two of three from Bellingham. Aloha won the series opener 11-4 as Wayt hit his first homerun and catcher Erik Ammon of Oregon State led the offense going 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. The Knights won the finale 4-2 behind an emergency start win by James Wallace of College of Southern Idaho. The All-Star reliever tossed 6 innings of two-run baseball to earn the victory. Aloha finished the week with a series opening 7-4 win over first place Spokane as Geoff Nichols of University of Washington turned in a quality start to earn the win and improve his record to 2-1 and Nick Hedgecock of George Fox University tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn his second league save.

Kitsap (16-14, 4-2 last week): The red hot BlueJackets won both its series to extend its series winning streak to five. Kitsap has won 11 out of its last 14 league games. The Jackets opened the week by taking its home series vs. Aloha. Kitsap won the opener and finale both by the score of 2-1. Both wins featured outstanding relief performances. All-Stars Mike Tachell of Missouri Valley College and Ross Humes of Washington State both picked up wins. Tachell tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in the opener and Humes, usually a starter and the team’s ace, twirled 4 1/3 inings of hitless and scoreless relief as Kitsap won the series finale in extra innings. Humes improved his record to 5-0 and leads the league in wins with 5 and ERA at 1.07. Doug Buser of San Jose City College was the series offensive star as Buser scored both runs and recorded two hits in Kitsap’s series opening 2-1 win. In the finale, Buser delivered a clutch eleventh-inning two-out walk-off RBI single to score All-Star Brett Kaluza of University of Washington from second after Kaluza had walked with two-out and stole second. The Jackets finished the week by taking its final two games vs. Moses Lake. Third baseman Danny Meier of University of Portland led the Jackets to a 9-3 win in game two of the series as Meier went 3 for 3 with a double, homerun and 3 RBI. Kitsap registered its second extra-inning win of the week in its series finale at Larson Field as the Jackets outlasted the Pirates 8-7 in 15 innings. Kitsap collected a season-high 22 hits and used 7 pitchers. Meier got the game-winning hit as he doubled in Buser. Tachell kept the Jackets in it with 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and both Kaluza and Brian Burmester of University of Iowa collected 4 hits each. Kaluza and infielder Jamie Nilsen of Central Washington are second in the league in hits with 33. Kaluza is second in the league in stolen bases with 14. Kitsap looks to climb in the standings as the BlueJackets host the second place AppleSox in a key WCCBL three-game series in Bremerton starting Tuesday. Kitsap drew 2,726 fans to its three-game series with Aloha including 1,034 Tuesday, July 18.

Bellingham (10-20, 1-5 last week): The Bells picked up one win on its six-game road trip to Bend and Aloha. Southpaw Matt Martinez of Phoenix College tossed 7 innings of three-hit ball to earn the 3-2 win in the middle contest of the Bells’ series at Aloha. All-Star Brian Anderson of Midland pitched the final two innings for the save. Martinez did not allow an earned run while walking two and striking out one. Anderson made two appearances in the Aloha series. Over 4 innings, Anderson struck out 7 batters. In 10 appearances, Anderson has logged 17 2/3 innings, registered 4 saves, struck out 19 and posted an impressive 1.02 ERA. Kevin Sandberg of Northern Colorado blasted his second homerun of the season in the Bells series opening 11-4 loss to the Knights. Sandberg homered earlier in the week at Bend and collected a single RBI in four games on the trip to increase his team leading RBI total to 10. The Bells have struggled offensively as Bellingham is last in the league in hitting with a .201 team batting average.

Moses Lake (10-20, 2-4 last week): The Pirates took the opening game of both its three-game series, but lost the final two games vs. Wenatchee and Kitsap to drop both series. Moses Lake beat the AppleSox at Wenatchee 2-1 as Derek Shoemaker of Wenatchee Valley College pitched three innings of scoreless relief to the earn the win and All-Star Dale Reneau of Seminole State College pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save. Catcher Brad Tracy of Skagit CC went 2 for 4 with the game-winning RBI single breaking a 1-1 tie in the sixth. The Pirates were blanked in its final two games with the Sox and no-hit in the finale at Larson Field. Moses Lake rebounded with a 3-2 home win over Kitsap. Reneau registered his team leading fourth save. Over 14 appearances, Reneau has logged 17 2/3 innings, struck out 22 and posted a 2.04 ERA. Future Oregon State Beaver Jorge Reyes turned in a quality start tossing five shutout innings. Shortstop Brett Munster of University of California, Berkeley led the offense going 3 for 3 with a double and RBI. The Pirates lost the series rubber match as the Jackets outlasted the Bucs 8-7 in 15 innings. Jordan Moore took his second loss in as many days as Moore started the night before in the Pirates 9-3 loss to Kitsap. The southpaw from Community Colleges of Spokane was called upon to pitch the 15th when Coach Boruff ran out of relief pitching. Moore was the sixth Pirate pitcher to appear. Moses Lake has lost all four of its extra-inning contests. The Pirates continue to field well as Moses Lake leads the league in team fielding percentage at .972. All-Star catcher Ryan Fobert of George Fox University leads Moses Lake in hitting with a .347 batting average and in RBI with 13.

Kelowna (9-21, 0-6 last week): The hard luck Falcons were swept at Spokane and Wenatchee to wrap a winless 9-game road trip. The team’s 9-game losing streak includes 4 one-run losses and a heartbreaking 15-inning series opening loss at Wenatchee. The Falcons have dropped 9 one-run losses on the season. Kelowna looks to turn things around at home vs. Bend as the Falcons begin a 9-game home stand. All-Star catcher Kyle Paul of Vernon College (TX) registered two 3-hit games including a 3 for 3 day with 2 runs and 2 RBI vs. Wenatchee in the Falcons 12-4 end of the week loss at Paul Thomas Sr. Stadium. Paul was selected in this year’s June MLB draft by Cleveland in the 41st round.

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