Goodbye, McEuen

Coeur d'Alene sends off longtime home by earning top seed to state

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Chad Nyquist of the Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen runs to first base as Prairie pitcher Dylan Charbonneau throws to second Sunday at McEuen Field.

COEUR d'ALENE - When Coeur d'Alene pitcher Colin Comack struck out Prairie designated hitter Zack Reeder to wrap up the class AA Area A (district) championship for the Lumbermen on Sunday afternoon, only one thing was left to be said.

And after Green Day's "Time of Your Life" played as the teams shook hands, it was time.

Goodbye.

"Farewell to McEuen Field," P.A. announcer Jim Benson said following the game. "She's been a wonderful home."

Coeur d'Alene is slated to move to a new home at Ramsey Park near the Kroc Center for the start of next season, leaving the program's home since 1967.

"It was a little tough today," Coeur d'Alene coach Lloyd Duman said. "When you think of all the people that were walking around talking about the memories they have, it was tough. To not have any more is going to be a really tough thing."

Last season, Comack hit a walk-off homer in what he believed was the final game at McEuen.

"It's nice we actually won it," Comack said. "It's sad to see the field go because there's so many memories on this field."

Prairie coach Dustin Frank, who played for the Cardinal program and at Lakeland High, felt the same way.

"It's always been one of my favorite fields," Frank said. "I remember playing them in high school and going back and forth with them in Legion. It's going to be a lot different next year. When you think about the Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen and program - you think about McEuen Field. It's a special site around here and unique field, and it's going to be missed. But we're excited to play Coeur d'Alene wherever we end up playing them."

As for the game, Coeur d'Alene jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings and beat Prairie 7-5 in front of a larger-than-normal crowd estimated at 450 to earn Area A's top seed to state. Prairie is the No. 2 seed. Both had state berths locked up by Saturday afternoon.

see LEGION, B2

"It's kind of special," Duman said. "Our goal was to have Jake (Gonzales) throw five or six innings, then come with Colin to finish up."

Coeur d'Alene (42-9) will open the state AA tournament at Harris Field in Lewiston on Thursday at 10 a.m. against the third-place team from Area B (Boise area). Prairie (25-20) will face the Boise Gems at 4 p.m. and tournament host and Area A third seed Lewis-Clark - which received an automatic bid to state as host - will face Twin Falls at 7.

Gonzales struck out two and allowed four runs for Coeur d'Alene.

"At the beginning of the season, he came in without playing a high school season," said Duman of Gonzales. "He's been a tremendous pickup for us and has became our fourth starter."

Coeur d'Alene took a 3-0 lead after the first inning, keyed by a two-run single by Grant Curtis.

Darnell Metcalf of Prairie scored on a double play in the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Chad Nyquist and Nick Nyquist had RBIs in the fourth to extend the advantage to 6-1 for Coeur d'Alene.

Prairie scored three runs in the fifth inning, keyed by RBI doubles from Eric Cooper and Metcalf. With a chance to cut into the lead, Metcalf was caught between second and third. Taylor Valente singled to score Nathan Collier to make it 7-5 in the eighth.

"I think this was more special because it was our last game on this field," Duman said. "We're tired, but we played well. I thought (Dylan) Charbonneau pitched fantastic - but we really wanted to end on a good note."

Charbonneau struck out five in eight innings for Prairie.

"I thought he did a great job today," Frank said. "He's been our darkhorse all season and overlooked by a lot of teams. He executed very well, but defensively we had a couple of mental lapses."

Coeur d'Alene beat Prairie all four times in the North Idaho League, as well as twice in the tournament.

"We left a lot of base runners on today, and you can't afford to do that against teams like Coeur d'Alene," Frank said. "I think we played a little tight still. After the game, we really challenged our guys to get rid of that fear when we go to state. We had a lack of execution on the bases and in the field and we're really going to challenge those guys in the next couple of days to fix it."

Prairie 000 130 010 - 5 11 2

Coeur d'Alene 301 200 10x - 7 9 1

Dylan Charbonneau and James Prockish; Jacob Gonzales, Colin Comack (6) and Kolby DeHaas. W - Gonzales (6-3). L - Charbonneau (4-4). S - Comack (5).

HITS: Pra - Shaffer, Metcalf 3, Schwalbach 2, McKinney, Cooper, Prockish 2, Valente. Cd'A - Comack 2, Roletto 3, Curtis 2, N. Nyquist, C. Nyquist. 2B - Metcalf 2, McKinney, Cooper, Roletto.

Coach Lloyd Duman, right, and assistant coach Cory Bridges, middle, of the Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen shares a toast with Coeur d'Alene American Legion Baseball President Jamie Duman, left, and vice president, Phil Robbins (obscured) after the game against the Prairie Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. The game is likely to be the last ever played by the Lumbermen at McEuen Field.

 

Darnell Metcalf of the Cardinals gets stuck between second baseman Jesse O'Hagen of the Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen and third during a play at McEuen field Sunday afternoon.

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