The addition of a precocious freshman has Clarkston thinking big.
Michael Baldeck has joined returning top-10 State 2A finisher Tyler Carlson in giving the Bantams a legitimate shot at a state team title two weeks from now.
“We have Michael and Tyler together and both have the kind of game that can win a state championship individually,” coach Brian Frazier said. “Beyond that, a couple of other guys are pretty solid and realistically, if three or four make the second day with those two anchoring, it’s a very realistic goal for us.”
Clarkston finished fourth, three strokes back of Mt. Spokane, at last Monday’s Inland Empire tournament. Baldeck shared second at 74 and Carlson tied for fifth with 75 at Spokane Country Club.
In his two Great Northern League matches before leaving for DECA Nationals in Orlando, Fla., Carlson shot rounds of 68 and 69. Baldeck won seven of Clarkston’s 10 events this spring with an average score of just more than 71 in four league contests.
Each has his own style, Frazier said.
“They have two different swings, that’s for sure,” he said. “Michael has a faster tempo than Tyler. Both are real long off the tee and are just kind of solid all-around. They hit the fairways and the days when their short game is on, they go low.”
“Personally, I’ve been playing pretty much my whole life,” Carlson said. “My family is in the golf business.”
Taylor is son of Quail Ridge golf pro Rod Carlson. His older brother played at Washington State and is an assistant pro in Helena.
The Clarkston junior is seeking a third straight state trip and last summer finished second in the U.S. Junior Amateur at Manito to qualify for nationals in Grand Rapids, Mich. A week later he played for the Washington team at the Junior America’s Cup in Albuquerque, N.M.
“Last summer I got my name out there,” he said. “I’m following in (the family’s) footsteps and hoping to get to the next level.”
Baldeck is the oldest of three brothers who have game and will eventually get to play together at Clarkston. He said he had a club in his hand before age 2 and began playing tournament golf at 8.
“Going into this year I was a little worried,” he said of his rookie high school season. “Last year was a real struggle over the ball and I was going through some swing changes with Tyler’s dad. I spent some time with the putter and things clicked. I feel very confident right now.”
Coeur d’Alene expects to contend in the Idaho State 5A tournament at Shadow Valley Golf Club in Eagle. Lakeland freshman Derek Bayley will vie for the 4A crown at Centennial GC in Nampa. Sophomore Kaceelyn Pouttu is favored to defend at Scotch Pines in Payette the 3A title she won by 60 strokes last year. All three tourneys are Monday and Tuesday.
The Washington 2A regional is Monday at Palouse Ridge in Pullman at 10 a.m, qualifying 21 boys and girls each to state. The District 8 4A at Indian Canyon and the 3A at MeadowWood, are both 1 p.m. Tuesday. Seven boys and girls will advance out of the 4A match and and five boys and girls from 3A to state tourneys, which are on Spokane courses May 24-25. Also Tuesday, the 1A Bi-district is in Chewelah, advancing 17 boys and five girls. The 2B/1B District 7 at Deer Park is Wednesday and qualifies 17 boys and nine girls to state.
In a word, IE ‘loaded’
For Greater Spokane League golfers accustomed to shooting in the low-to-mid 70s in league, scores may have seemed high at the annual Inland Empire tournament hosted by the Spokane Country Club.
It was an illusion. A tough course, fast greens and stern competition were the culprits that had them chasing the field.
“The greens had just been rolled, mowed and were lightning fast,” Mt. Spokane coach Greg Schultz said via email. “Three-putts abounded. (But) from our perspective it was a great day for Wildcat golf.”
The highest local individual finisher was Mt. Spokane sophomore Nick Thurston, who shared 10th at 76. But the Wildcats were team victors by a stroke over Southridge with a four-player score of 310. Their five entrants scored between 76 and 80.
Schultz estimated that between 25 and 30 players in the tourney were state veterans.
Inland Empire winner Sampson Martinez, at 72, is a Pasco state vet, along with defending 3A champion Scott Kim and fourth-placer Tanner Martin from state runner-up Hanford. Thurston and Wildcats teammate Austin Billeter finished tied with or ahead of the pair at the IE.
“The field at the IE is second to none in Eastern Washington,” Schultz said Schultz.
University girls tennis coach Julene Osborn knew the move to Class 3A would benefit her Titans.
This week’s District 8 tourney performance exceeded expectations.
U-Hi swept all four berths to regionals next Saturday at Richland’s Hanford High and had one of two alternate spots while winning district 58-28 over Mt. Spokane.
Regular-season No. 2 singles player Hannah Nichols upset No. 1 teammate Caylee Lamm 7-6, 7-5.
“They played for three hours. It was a super match,” Osborn said. “Hannah had only one loss all season, including the Inland Empire tournament and Tri-Cities Invitational. The hardest part was having to watch them play each other.”
Titans No. 1 doubles Lauren Archibald and Jessi Barth beat teammates Maddie Walsh, who typically played singles, and Stephany Le.
Mt. Spokane won boys district 44-34 over Shadle Park, getting both singles regional berths while the Highlanders had both doubles teams. (Friday’s prep roundup didn’t have Shadle’s advancers in boys doubles, but they were champions Chris Lee and Enrico Pani, and runners-up Brandon Clement and Michael Parker.)
The 4A regional is in Wenatchee.
Gonzaga Prep boys edged Ferris and Mead 60-58-54, for the district boys title. each with two regional qualifiers. Central Valley won 4A girls 62-58-54 over Mead and Lewis and Clark, the latter two schools with two regional event qualifiers each.