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Tri-City Posse

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Representing the cities of Kennewick, WA, Pasco, WA and Richland, WA, the Tri-City Posse were charter members of the new Western Baseball League in 1995. After finishing last in the north division in the first half at 18-27, the Posse improved to 26-19 in the second half to tie the Bend Bandits for first, then beat Bend 9-5 in a one-game playoff. They beat the Surrey Glaciers in the playoffs but lost to the Long Beach Riptide 3 games to 1 in the finals. Shawn Scott led the league with 42 steals, while P John Weglarz (11-5, 1.87, 162 K in 149 IP) was named pitcher of the year after leading the circuit in ERA, shutouts (5), complete games (10) and strikeouts and tying for third in wins.

In 1996 the Posse again were last in the first half (20-25) and first in the second half (25-20). They again won in the semifinals (beating the Reno Chukars 2 games to 0) and again lost to the Riptide in the championship series by the same 3-1 margin. OF Scott (.305) again led in steals (43) and was third with 119 hits; he made the All-Star team, as did SS Ryan Rutz (.293). They led the league with a 3.83 team ERA - Weglarz fell to 0-1, 5.73 but Chris Sheehan (8-8, 3.87) led the WL with 135 Ks, Rich Graham (2-5, 2.93) was third with 18 saves and Jose Salcedo (7-3, 2.11) led the loop in ERA.

The Tri-City team started poorly once more in 1997 (18-27, beating Bend by one game to avoid last) but did worse as the year progressed, going 16-29 in the second half. They again had the best ERA (4.47) but scored the fewest runs (376, 81 less than any other team) in presumably a pitcher-friendly environment. Ruben Niebla (8-6, 3.05) was third in the Western League in ERA.

For the third time in four years, the Posse were last in the north in the first half (18-27) - they finished two games behind the Western Warriors in the second half with a 21-24 record. Ned Darley (5-1, 0.82, 17 Sv) was third in saves, the highest ranking by a team player on the league leader list.

In 1999 the Tri-City Posse finished second in the consolidated one-division league at 48-42, 15 games behind the Chico Heat. In the playoffs they beat the Sonoma County Crushers in a 3-game sweep then stunned the Heat by taking 3 of 4 games for their first title. Managed by Wally Backman, the team had two All-Stars - OF Kevin Ellis and utility man Raul Rodarte. Ellis (.366) led the league in average, tied for second in doubles (27) and was third in hits (121) while Rodarte hit .352 and was third in RBI (79) and slugging (.610). Nelson Simmons (.296, 13 HR in the regular season) was the championship series MVP.

Backman's club was far worse in 2000 with a 21-24 first half and a 16-29 second half. SS James Lofton (.303, a league-high 44 SB) and P Scott Baker (5-3, 3.69, sixth in ERA) were All-Stars, OF Chris Powell was sixth in average (.334) and Ray Ricken (6-3, 3.70, 7th in ERA) and Salcedo (5-7, tied for 8th at 3.71) were among the ERA leaders.

The Posse vanished from the dwindling league after the 2000 season.

Source: The Western League by W.C. Madden and Patrick Stewart, 2001 Baseball Almanac

[edit] Year-by-Year Record

Year League Affiliation Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1995 Western Baseball League none 45-46 2nd North Division Tom Trebelhorn lost to Long Beach 1-3 in championship
1996 Western Baseball League none 44-45 2nd North Division Bobo Brayton lost to Long Beach 1-3 in championship
1997 Western Baseball League none 34-56 4th North Division Jamie Nelson
1998 Western Baseball League none 39-51 4th North Division Jamie Nelson / Derrel Thomas
1999 Western Baseball League none 48-42 2nd overall Wally Backman defeated Chico 3-0 in championship
2000 Western Baseball League none 40-50 4th North Division Wally Backman
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