The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 17, 2019, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 8, Image 8

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THE ASTORIAN • SATuRdAy, AuguST 17, 2019
Gary Henley | Sports Reporter
Locals enjoy big summer with Lower Columbia club
The Astorian
Jacob Morrow,
Dylan Rush,
Ethan Lindstrom,
Clatsop County had two
representatives on the Lower
Columbia Baseball Club
this summer, and both fin-
ished among the top hitters
and pitchers on the Triple A
Legion team.
Based in Longview, Wash-
ington and sponsored by
Highlander Dental, the club
is comprised of players from
the lower Columbia region
— from Astoria, Warrenton
and Clatskanie on the Oregon
side, to Naselle, Wahkiakum,
Mark Morris, R.A. Long and
Toutle Lake in Washington.
Astoria’s Dylan Rush
and Warrenton’s Jake Mor-
row were regular starters for
Lower Columbia, which fin-
ished the season late last
month at a tournament in
A pitcher/infielder, Rush
finished with the third-low-
est earned run average (2.97)
among Lower Columbia
pitchers, and sported a 3-5
record with four saves. He
struck out a team-high 39 bat-
ters and walked 15.
Rush started six games,
pitched a team-high 54
innings, and threw four of
Lower Columbia’s five com-
plete games on the mound.
A senior-to-be at Asto-
ria, Rush batted .250 (16-for-
64) with a double and 14 runs
batted in, and drew 12 walks
in 22 games played.
A senior-to-be at War-
renton, Morrow was Lower
Columbia’s starting catcher
and third-leading hitter
among the regulars, batting
.353 (18-for-51), with three
doubles and 17 runs batted in.
He drew eight walks and was
hit by pitch a team-high seven
times, for a .500 on-base
Naselle’s Ethan Lindstrom
also saw action at shortstop
and pitcher for Lower Colum-
bia. He started five games on
the mound and went 1-1, with
24 walks and 13 strikeouts.
At the plate, he batted .236
and drove in 12 runs.
Lower Columbia won its
first four games of the sum-
mer and finished 13-20.
Pac-12 has no
clear favorite,
but plenty of
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The Pac-12’s
national championship drought hits 15
years this winter, and there are few signs of
a respite. Several of the conference’s tradi-
tional powers are in states of rebuilding or
disarray heading into a season that’s murk-
ier than a Mike Leach metaphor.
Even the preseason media poll couldn’t
identify a clear favorite, with plucky Utah
barely emerging on top after several schools
essentially split the vote.
But to the coaches entrusted with return-
ing the West Coast’s conference to national
competitiveness, this seeming parity only
underlines the overall strength of a league
on the rise again. Elite talent is easy to find
around the Pac-12, and several programs
are in a position to potentially put it all
Still, the Pac-12 doesn’t have a tradi-
tional power in peak form after graduation
losses at defending champion Washington
and Stanford, Southern California’s mis-
erable 2018 season and the questions still
looming around resurgent Oregon and its
5-4 conference mark.
Into the gap stepped Utah, the (rela-
tive) conference newcomer with numer-
ous returning starters, an elite defense and
promising quarterback Tyler Huntley.
Whether the Utes live up to their hype
or another power emerges, Huskies coach
Chris Petersen is confident this league is on
its way up again.
“Five or six years ago, the Pac-12 could
do no wrong,” Petersen said. “We were
in the greatest position ever, and we were
going to do this and that. And five years
later, (people think) we don’t even know
how to play football anymore. It’s always
somewhere in between. I know we’ve got
good players out here, and good coaches
and programs. I think it’s all cyclical.”
Here are more things to watch during the
Pac-12 football season:
Utes up front
Utah is the preseason favorite, but it’s
not going to anybody’s head in Salt Lake
City, according to coach Kyle Whitting-
ham. In fact, he wants his Utes thinking
not about national championships, but only
about achieving Pac-12 supremacy, largely
because the league’s South Division teams
are 1-7 in the league championship game.
“We felt like we were going to have some
preseason hype, and so we wanted to make
sure that we got out ahead of it and talked
to our players about just ignoring the noise
and staying focused,” Whittingham said.
“We all know that the Pac-12 champion-
ship is our goal, as I’m sure is every team in
the Pac-12, so the focus is not on the goal.
It’s (on) how we are going to achieve that
Trojan hot seat
Coach Clay Helton clearly needs a swift
rebound with his Trojans coming off their
first losing season since 2000, including
five losses in their last six. USC finished
91st in scoring in the FBS despite a tal-
ent-studded offensive roster, and Helton
addressed the problem by hiring blue chip
coordinators Kliff Kingsbury and then Gra-
ham Harrell, who brings his version of the
Air Raid offense to Tailback U. The Tro-
jans’ brutal early season schedule is an
obstacle to a quick turnaround, but Helton
knows what’s expected — or else.
See Pac-12, Page A7
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth
Chris Carson, left, and Rashaad Penny.
Seahawks hope Carson, Penny
can form potent running duo
Carson ran for
more than 1,100
yards last year
Associated Press
ENTON, Wash. — After an
injury-shortened rookie year,
running back Chris Carson
spent his second season with the Seat-
tle Seahawks proving he is a legit-
imate bruiser who can be a primary
ball carrier.
Despite rushing for more than
1,100 yards, however, there is a good
chance Carson will find himself shar-
ing the workload this season with sec-
ond-year back Rashaad Penny. And
Carson sounds just fine with that.
“We got a lot of guys that can do a
lot of different things,” Carson said.
“We complement each other really
well so it’s just great to have that kind
of depth.”
Carson is still going to be the head-
liner in an offense that is expected to
run the ball as much as any team in
the league, if not more. But last year’s
first-round pick, Penny, appears
primed for a potential breakout sea-
son as Carson’s complement.
A year ago, Seattle averaged 160
yards per game on the ground to lead
the NFL, going against a league-wide
“You can say that the running back
position and the running game have
been devalued,” Carson said. “I’m
just glad it’s not here, you know what
I’m saying? I’m glad that they really
utilize the running game a lot.”
Carson rushed for 1,151 yards and
nine touchdowns last season. His 247
rushing attempts were seventh in the
league, but he missed two games with
minor injuries, highlighting the need
for depth.
That’s where Penny could get his
chance, and he appears to have put
in the work during the offseason to
deserve additional carries. His rookie
season hit a bump early when he broke
a finger during training camp and the
recovery seemed to stunt much of his
development. It was the first signifi-
cant injury Penny had suffered.
Chris Carson | Seahawks running back
“It messed me up mentally. It took
a toll on me,” Penny said. “I think it
was a huge step of my rookie year
— getting hurt, not participating in
practice, losing that speed, losing
that edge, losing that aggressiveness
and attack on how I was presenting
myself last year.”
It wasn’t until the second half of
the season — including a memorable
game in a loss to the Rams where he
rushed for 108 yards — that Penny
finally started to become a factor.
The game against the Rams was a
brief glimpse of what the Seahawks
believe they will see out of him.
“Rashaad came back with his
weight in a place, where his body
fat was way down from what it was
before,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He
had a great offseason, he’s stronger
and faster than he’s been. He looks
really, really good right now. We are
really excited about it.”
One area where Seattle would
like to see more production from
Carson and Penny is in the pass-
ing game. Carson had 20 receptions
and Penny had just nine last season,
while now departed third-down back
Mike Davis got most of the recep-
tions among the running backs. The
Seahawks believe the combo of Car-
son and Penny can make up for the
34 receptions Davis had last season.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schot-
tenheimer said roughly 50 targets for
Carson would be a reasonable goal.
“People are understanding that
getting the ball to your backs in space
in the passing game is a good thing,”
Schottenheimer said. “They’re still as
elusive as they are running the ball,
so when you get them the ball out
in space in the passing game it’s the
same problem for the defense. They
have to make those plays out in space
on really good athletes.”
NOTES: Seattle held its final pub-
lic practice Thursday. Among those
returning to action after sitting out
due to minor injuries were TE Jacob
Hollister (groin), RB Travis Homer
(quad), RB C.J. Prosise (hip) and RB/
WR J.D. McKissic (foot).