Alman on Blackhawks baseball’s 2016 campaign

SPTS - Chance Gleave 1 - 03312016

Chance Gleave slides into second base

Baseball season came to an end surprisingly early.

The Cheney Blackhawks lost to East Valley in round two of the Great Northern League playoffs, thus getting eliminated in the postseason. They finished the year in fourth place (6-10 league and 9-13 overall) and failed to qualify for regionals for the first time since coach Mike Cagle took over the program in 2014.

Since I started working for the Free Press, baseball has been one of my favorite sports to cover and one of the many bright spots in the spring.

As a reporter, you have to be unbias when you cover a team – unless you’re writing a column then you can be as bias as you want – and you can’t cheer for that group. But as my friend Madison McCored likes to say “it’s not fun writing that your team lost.”

And it wasn’t like this year’s team was horrible, there were plenty of bright spots in the season.

Players like Harrison King, Cameron Wiseman, Riley Jones, Chance Gleave and Cade VanWormer were lights out at the plate. Many of those aforementioned names made big plays in the infield and on the mound. Younger players like Jack Peabody, Dylan Arthur and Jackson Shaw stepped up into their roles in their first year on varsity. Jacob Lauber and Matthew Riggs, who I wrote about during summer baseball, moved to varsity from JV and got some time on the mound.

Sure there were times when the team made errors or wasn’t consistent at the plate, or couldn’t rally after being down 6-8 runs. But that’s sports, especially in baseball. There are times when teams at all levels – Little League, high school, college and the Major League – when teams get beat. Baseball is one of those games.

The nice thing about the season being over is the Blackhawks – mainly the coaches – have time to work toward next year. Part of that start with the 15U and 17U summer baseball teams.

Like last year, the 17U team will have an independent schedule with a few games and a couple of big tournaments. They won’t be hosting a pod at the Wood Bat Classic during the July 4 weekend.

The 15U team will once again play in the Spokane Indians Youth Baseball league. Other than a few scheduling issues with umpires, I say it worked pretty well for them.

The summer baseball programs will help, but I also think players who are coming back for spring ball will need to work on things on their own time. It’s going to take some discipline and time management – some of these players are involved in other sports – but if they can pull it off they’ll be a step ahead next year.

So with spring baseball over, I will raise my coffee mug to the Blackhawks for their effort this year and wish them the best for next season.


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