LC wins 2016

Members of the 2016 Lewis-Clark State baseball team celebrate beating Faulkner for the Avista NAIA World Series title. The school recently replayed that game on its athletics website as part of its monthlong celebration of the annual event.

The Avista NAIA World Series is part of the community’s DNA. So, although there won’t be fans in the stands at Harris Field and teams from across the nation on the diamond this week — as well as the aroma of fries and tunes of Creedence Clearwater Revival — there’ll at least be some sort of commemoration.

Lewis-Clark State College’s athletics operations team put together a monthlong calendar of activities for May, shouting out Warriors Athletics supporters, posting nostalgic sports memories, and attempting to fill the void left empty by the Series’ cancellation in March because of concerns with the spread of the coronavirus.

The highpoint of the month will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday with the “Opening Day drive-by” at Harris Field. Valley baseball fans are encouraged to hop in their vehicles, and take a ride around the block near the ballpark. The school will play the national anthem, and everyone will have to abide by physical-distancing guidelines.

“We’ll have some goodies to pass out, and we’ll have our masks and gloves on,” athletics operations coordinator Melissa Weitz said. “We might have a game playing on the video board, and hang some sponsor banners up to show some appreciation.”

There will be signs directing attendees and perhaps an open parking area to soak in the past games.

The Warriors’ athletics social-media team also has been busy on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging followers to reminisce daily. Today’s instructions are to “share your favorite Avista NAIA World Series day.”

Every Friday, LCSC Series classics have been streamed online through links on the aforementioned social-media platforms, directed to lcwarriors.com/watch. Voting will open today on which game will air this Friday and next — the runner-up and champion, in terms of memorable Warriors titles. The contenders are L-C’s 9-2 win against Spring Arbor in 2007, and its 10-7 comeback defeat of St. Thomas in 2015.

Most recently streamed was the Warriors’ home-run-heavy 12-11 championship win, claimed against Faulkner in 2016.

Next week, the events are as follows: Support an Avista NAIA World Series sponsor online on Monday; on Tuesday, post a photo of yourself at a Series game; on Wednesday, share your favorite Series memory; on Thursday, thank any of the Series’ hundreds of volunteers; on Friday, tune into a tournament classic.

“We’ve had a pretty good response this week,” Weitz said. “Sharing memories, it was really nostalgic. Going back to what some of them wrote — their favorite experiences and events that impacted them — that learning from the past helps what we do for the future.”

Weitz said the idea originated from the department to show appreciation to those who make the Series work every year — the approximately 600 volunteers, dozens of sponsors and those people who were kind enough to donate their tickets to help offset some of the financial harm that’s come from the loss of an event that’s become more than just an annual tradition in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.

“It’s definitely strange,” said LCSC athletic director and World Series director Brooke Henze, who noted that a handful of Series sponsors have honored their sponsorship agreements. “We’re missing our student-athletes, our fans and volunteers, our sponsors and also definitely the visitors and fans from out of town. ... We want to keep (the Series). It’s very important to our athletic department, the college and our community.”

Clark may be reached at cclark@lmtribune.com, on Twitter @ClarkTrib, or by phone at (208) 627-3209.

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