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Cougar Baseball ends on a high note

WSU swept Arizona State to end the season

Washington State Cougars Baseball Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good morning. Your Washington State Cougars baseball team did something over the weekend that it had never done in its storied history, sweeping a three-game series over the Arizona State Sun Devils with a resounding 10-3 victory. Over the course of Thursday/Friday/Saturday, WSU - playing its best baseball of the season - outscored ASU 22-9, and hung double digits up in each of the final two games.

In the process, WSU’s seven seniors went out on as high a note as could be expected around midseason, when WSU was mired in last place with a 2-10 Pac-12 record. Instead of folding and concentrating on their next steps, Jack Smith, Owen Leonard, Will Sierra, Kodie Kolden, Collin Montez, Justin Van de Brake and Jake Meyer led Cougar Baseball out of the cellar. After a 12-0 loss to Gonzaga on April 5, WSU won 17 of its final 25 games (five over ranked teams, including a win over Gonzaga), going 10-8 in Pac-12 play and taking four of the final six series over Pac-12 foes.

Unfortunately, we’re left to think about what might have been. The Cougars finished with a 12-18 conference record, one game behind ASU for the final tournament spot, and two games out of sixth place. One win here or there and WSU nabs that final Pac-12 Tournament berth. Three defeats that particularly stung were an 8-7 loss to the Stanford Cardinal after WSU took a 7-5 lead into the ninth inning, a late inning 8-7 loss at the UCLA Bruins, and an 8-7 loss at Oregon in which WSU led 7-2 in the ninth inning. Win any one of those, and WSU is probably still playing.

On Saturday, the Cougars left no doubt, scoring eight runs between the 3rd and 5th innings and cruising to a win. Kyle Russell led the way with a home run, three total hits and three runs batted in. On the mound, the bullpen was lights-out. After starter McKabe Cottrell could only get through 4 and one-third innings, relievers Cam Liss, Chase Grillo and Owen Leonard shut down the ASU bats, allowing only four hits throughout the rest of the game.

All in all, it was a decent-if-disappointing season for WSU, which finished above .500 with a record of 27-26 (a .509 winning percentage, which is funny). Here’s hoping Brian Green and the 2023 edition of Cougar Baseball are able to avoid the midseason swoon that ultimately kept WSU from the postseason.

Baseball

Cougars Send Seniors Out With First Series Sweep of Arizona State - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State closed out the season with its first series sweep of Arizona State in program history after a 10-3 win at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon.

Football

2022 college football coach rankings: Bryan Harsin, Herm Edwards plummet among Power Five coaches ranked 65-26 - CBSSports.com
These rankings are final and irrefutable ... until the season begins. (Also, if you don't like where a particular coach is ranked, remember this: I agree with you. It's all my fellow voters who are wrong.)

The Ian Furness Show | iHeart
WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun joins Ian Furness.

Basketball

College basketball transfer rankings for 2022-23 season
If you thought last spring’s transfer portal was overwhelming, this spring likely hasn’t improved matters. The roster changes have continued at a furious pace.

This Week in Husband-ing

Married guys, I assume nearly all of you will identify with an episode I had with Mrs. Kendall this week, so I figured I’d write about it. On Thursday evening, she told me that she could not get our printer to work (a printer that she has already sold since we can’t take it to the U.S. with us). She went through the litany of troubleshooting steps that she undertook, such as cleaning everything out, changing the cartridge, uninstalling/re-installing the profile etc.

“Did you unplug in and plug it back in?” I asked. That’s the first thing I always do (like most of you, I assume). In the Gunship, we called that the “Lockheed fix” and it solved the problem nearly all of the time. She had not, but explained that the printer was operating, just pixelating things so that the product was not recognizable. I left it at that.

A little while later, she walks in with a shipping label she had printed and practically throws it at me. After a moment of confusion and a few curse words thrown my way, I inferred the the unplug/re-plug fix had worked. But was she thankful that I’d helped solve the problem? OF COURSE NOT! Instead, she was pissed at me because my simple suggestion resulted in success, after her several minutes of troubleshooting didn’t help anything. Next time, I think I’ll just secretly try and fix it myself, and then if that works, tell her that whatever she had done was the cure. It’ll just make things easier.

This Week in Parenting meets Stranger in a Strange Land

The 2.67 regular readers of this space are likely aware that I’m somewhat of a beer fan. Over the course of nearly four years spent living in Europe, I’ve developed an incredible affection for Belgium in general, and Belgian beer in particular. So as our time overseas draws to a close, I’ve been planning to make a run northwest to secure the good stuff before the packers arrive in early June.

Atop the wish list was the famed Westvleteren 12, made by the Trappist monks of Saint-Sixtus Abbey. You can’t find it most places, and when you do find it, the price is very high because it is not produced at nearly the rate of other Trappist beers such as Chimay and La Trappe. It’s also been rated several times as the best beer in the world. That’s obviously a subjective matter, but man do I love it. The process by which to secure this liquid greatness isn’t simple. You have to create an account, then log on at precisely 6 p.m. Wednesday evening in hopes of winning the right to purchase three cases (only two of a certain kind), then schedule a pickup time.

After striking out twice in the past, luck was on my side on May 11, and I purchased two cases of 12 and one case of 8 (their version of a Dubbel). Then it was time to figure out a pickup window. With Mrs. Kendall’s help in working through the kid calendar for the week, I settled on this past Thursday between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Roughly 10 seconds after hitting “submit”, I was “re”minded that our 13 year-old had an awards ceremony Thursday afternoon, and Westvleteren is about 5.5 hours away from home.

I spent the next week stressing about how I might thread the needle, because this ceremony was for his recognition as a member of National Junior Honors Society, which the plague has precluded for the last two years. I didn’t want to miss it, especially because he had a speaking part. But given the fact that I’ve been to several awards-type ceremonies over the years, I wasn’t going to back out on my only shot at Belgium’s finest export.

I headed north on Wednesday morning, stopping at Grimbergen Abbey for some fine beer and food, then at a Belgian beer wholesaler (another 1,000 word tale in and of itself), then spent the night in Brussels, about two hours from beer Mecca. Then, after a night in what had clearly been a smoking room, it was time. After hitting the café for a morning beer, I arrived in line promptly at 11:00.

It’s a pretty slick operation, as you pull up into the overhang (there’s a stop light that tells you when, seriously), pop your trunk, show the warehouse guy your QR code and load the cases into your trunk. I was out of there in no time flat, and after traversing a hellish thunderstorm for nearly an hour, made it back to police up the family and head for the school.

The kiddo performed his speaking role nearly flawlessly, and the post-ceremony baked goods were enjoyed by all. During the ceremony, there were a few kid speeches about volunteer projects. Three of the four were just fine (meaning they lasted fewer than two minutes and got to the point of what it means to volunteer). The last one, though, was a doozy, as the young lady spent what felt like three hours extolling her own virtues and making sure everyone knows how great she is and how much money she and her mom spent on clothing to donate. As always, none of this was her fault, and I’d love a few minutes for a one-way conversation with her parents.

Thankfully, we were mostly spared from a weekend of endless baseball, with only one game on the schedule. And even though that one game started half-an-hour late, and even though the mighty Dirt Devils got beat, the 10 year-old got to pitch a couple innings, and he did rather well. Call me selfish, but I couldn’t care less about the team’s results or whatever, so long as my kiddo has a bright spot or two. I suspect I’m far from alone.

Oh, and as far as the beer run, things ended well despite the wholesaler in Brussels not having a couple of my top-ranked selections.

Belgium will always be the best.

Non-Sports

I’ve Always Struggled With My Weight. Losing It Didn’t Mean Winning. - The New York Times A diet app helped me shed my extra Covid pounds — and reminded me that I’m still the same old me.

How Politics Poisoned the Evangelical Church - The Atlantic
The movement spent 40 years at war with secular America. Now it’s at war with itself.