NCAA Division III Northwest Conference: 2018 Preview

hunterhfox logobruins

George Fox University – Newberg, OR

Head Coach Marty Hunter (11 years)
Assistants Kevin Kopple, Trey Watt, Brent Trask, Taylor Hunter, Seth Anderson, Jon Strohmaier
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 18-20 overall, 12-12 (Tied for 4th in conference)
Top Returning Players Matt Voelzke, Sophomore, SS/RHP, West Region Rookie of Year (.288 avg, 36 H, 23 RBI/2.77 ERA, 26 IP, 32 Ks, 5 saves)
Sam Swenson, Sophomore, 1B (.262 avg, 33 H, 22 RBI)
Alex Jondal, Senior, RHP (14 appearances, 11 starts, 56 IP, 36 Ks)
Top New Players Cameron Jack, Junior, RHP, Mt. Hood CC
Kyler Brudwick, Junior, 3B/OF, Yakima Valley CC
Jerred Seamons, Junior, 3B, Treasure Valley CC
Austin Baek, Freshman, C/OF, Bothell HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “After a slow start last year, we played much better the second half of the season. We had a good fall and our younger players have picked up where they left off last spring. We have improved in all facets of the game and have more depth than the past few years. Our players are excited and are looking forward to the upcoming season.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Hunter has averaged nearly 25 wins a season in his 10 years at George Fox. He is now the longest tenured Northwest Conference coach and has continued a good baseball tradition at George Fox previously established by Pat Casey and Pat Bailey of Oregon State. The Bruins missed the post-season by one game last year and are poised to return in 2018. They will be led by two way player Matt Voelzke who had a very impressive freshman year. The young players gained much experience last year. Swenson has as much upside offensively as anyone in the league. After a trip to Texas to open the season, the Bruins will be one of the hosts for the NWC pre-season tournament.
BBNW Alumni on the Roster 24

koslc logobaseball_alumni

Lewis & Clark College – Portland, OR

Head Coach Matt Kosderka (1st year)
Assistants Brandon Rupp, Nate Traisman, Garet Luebbert & Bill Allen
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 7-31 overall, 5-19 (9th in conference)
Top Returning Players Sean Shepherd, Senior, OF, 2nd Team All NWC
Matt Donovan, Junior, OF
Connor Eggleston, Senior, 1B/RHP
Robert Reaser, Junior, RHP, Honorable Mention NWC
Top New Players Dom Monozon, Freshman, 3B/RHP, San Mateo HS (CA)
Jacob Serafini, Freshman, SS, – Rancho Buena Vista HS (CA)
Kevin Jacobs, Freshman, UTL, San Mateo HS (CA)
Nick Kennison, Freshman, RHP, Tamalpais HS (CA)
Head Coach Commentary “It’s always tough for players when a new coach comes in, but our players have done a great job of buying into our program philosophies and have made huge strides as individuals and as a group since the fall. We are excited to see how they stack up against a loaded Northwest Conference this spring.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Kosderka is prepared to take the Pioneer program up in the conference standings. Matt will bring a new attitude and enthusiasm to the program. The former professional pitcher is a 10 year successful high school coach at nearby Wilsonville HS, and a 4 year assistant at his alma mater Willamette University.  Look for LC to be improved in pitching and defense. New assistants Coach Rupp and Coach Luebbert will help a lot; Rupp was the pitching coach a few years ago at league rival George Fox. The core of returning players have had solid individual success. An improvement in depth will go a long way in competing in the very tough Northwest Conference.
BBNW Alumni on the Roster  2

stanmanleylinfield logo linfield

Linfield College – McMinnville, OR

Head Coach Stan Manley (1st year)
Assistants Jarvis Gomes, Jordan Harlow, Dave Cunningham, Josh Rapacz, Brian Valentine
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 30-15 overall, 19-5 (1st in conference)
Top Returning Players Cason Cunningham, Junior, LHP, NWC Pitcher of Year, 1st Team All Region (2.13 ERA, 5-1, 84 1/3 IP, 104 Ks, in 15 starts)
Cal Neely, Senior, RHP, 1st team All-Conference (3.00 ERA, 6-1, 60 IP, 40 Ks, 13 appearances)
Brady Rediger, Senior, INF, Honorable Mention NWC (.361 avg, 3rd in conference, 69 H, 8 doubles, 4 HR)
Levi Horner-Villa, Sophomore, INF, Honorable Mention NWC (.286 avg, 24 H)
Top New Players Liam Herlihy, Junior, RHP, Wenatchee Valley College
Wyatt Smith, Freshman, UTL, McMinnville HS (OR)
Head Coach Commentary “We should compete at a high level this spring. With two returning All-Conference Pitchers returning and nine position players that started at least 23 games, we have some experience. Keeping pitchers and players healthy is always a key, and we’ll need to replace some run production in the middle of the order. Our conference and region are among the best in the nation and we need to be better every day.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Manley is a former Wildcat player and a two time state champion coach at Sheldon High School in Eugene. He is poised to continue the very strong Linfield baseball tradition. Linfield has won the conference 6 of the last 10 years including a national championship in 2013. Linfield has a good chance to defend their 2017 conference title. Linfield was first in the conference in hitting and first in pitching last year. Pitching should lead the way with Cunningham and Neely arguably being the best one/two combination on the mound entering the 2018 season. Two key NWC series’ that will go a long way to determine the champion will be on the road for the Wildcats. Those are at Willamette February 1718 to open up conference play and at Whitworth on April 78.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 25

soeteplu logoplu field

Pacific Lutheran University – Tacoma, WA

Head Coach Nolan Soete (3 years)
Assistants Sean Taunt, Aaron Roetcisoender, Scott Richards, Landon Packard
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 25-14 overall, 17-7 (3rd in conference)
Top Returning Players Cole Johnson, Senior, 1B/LHP, Honorable Mention All Northwest Conference, All Western Region (.333 avg, 31 RBI, 4,82 ERA, 12 starts, 65 innings)
Anthony Gosline, Senior, 3B, 2nd Team All NWC, (.357 avg,  46 H, 22 RBI, 16 doubles, 3 HRs)
Chad Gideon, Sophomore, RHP (2.97 era, 69 2/3 IP, 5-2, 2 saves in 14 appearances)
Andrew Curran, Sophomore, RHP, 2nd Team All NWC (2.87 era, 5 wins, 31 1/3 IP in 15 relief appearances)
Top New Players Justin Armbruester, Freshman, RHP, Eastside Catholic HS (WA)
Alex Gregory, Freshman, RHP, Garfield HS (WA)
Tori Doten, Freshman, INF, South Salem HS (OR)
Head Coach Commentary “After graduating a very successful 2017 senior class, we are moving forward with many new faces to the program. The 2018 senior class will need to perform well and many newcomers will need to contribute along the way. The Northwest Conference is one of the most talented D3 conferences in the country. As always, our goal is to play meaningful games in April and May.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Soete has continued the strong success began by Geoff Loomis who moved on to the University of Portland 3 years ago. The former 4-year Lute letterman and 5-year assistant coach won the NWC title in his first year as head coach and went to the D3 West Region final game. The Lutes are typically good defensively and led the nation in fielding percentage (.985) last year. A few core offensive players return from a team that was second in league batting (.299), but new pitching might be the key to return to the post season. Johnson is as good of a two way player as any in Northwest college baseball. A Texas trip and the NWC pre-season tournament will get PLU ready for three straight home league series’ to open NWC play.
BBNW Alumni on the Roster  18

billings pacific logo pacific

Pacific University – Forest Grove, OR

Head Coach Brian Billings (4th year)
Assistants Aaron Svarthumle, Kyle Treadway, Ian Buckles , Scott Dalrymple, Mitch Thomas
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 15-23 overall, 7-17 (7th in conference)
Top Returning Players Dylan Wright, Senior, OF (.279 avg, 39 H, 22 RBIs, 8-8 stolen bases)
Paul Wolfram, Senior, RHP (5 wins, 75 IP, 3.00 ERA)
Cole Kanazawa Senior, RHP (18 games, 3.86 ERA, 35 IP, 25 Ks)
Dustin Meyer, Junior, INF
Top New Players Derek Ridgway, Junior, 1B, Southwestern Oregon CC
Derek Legeza, Freshman, CF, Liberty HS (AZ)
Chase Anderson, Freshman, SS, Fife HS (WA)
Casey Brown, Junior, LHP, Glendale CC (AZ)
Head Coach Commentary “We’re looking to bounce back in 2018 after a difficult 2017 season in which we experienced several key injuries. With several key players returning to health, the addition of a new synthetic turf infield and some exciting coaching changes, there is a lot of excitement about Boxer Baseball and the future of our program.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Billings has had a big impact on the Boxer program since taking over in 2014. He is only the 3rd head coach in Pacific history since 1964. Chuck Bafaro (whom the stadium is named after) and Greg Bradley previously led Pacific. Brian came from league member University of Puget Sound where he amassed 201 wins. The installation of infield turf makes Bafaro Stadium one of the best facilities in the Northwest. Pacific was third in the conference in pitching a year ago and Wolfram appears to be the No.1 starter after a excellent 2017 season. The Boxers open the season in Louisiana before being one of the hosts for the NWC pre-season tournament.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 22

kitamura whitman logowhitman team

Whitman College – Walla Walla, WA

Head Coach Brian Kitamura (3rd year)
Assistants Tommy Richards, Bill Sizemore, Blake Treinen
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 17-20 overall, 11-13 (6th in conference)
Top Returning Players Joseph Zimmer, Senior, UTL, 2017 Pre-Season All-American, 2017 1st Team All-NWC (.397 avg, 58 H, 6 HR,  28 RBIs)
Lucas Thrun, Junior, INF/OF, 2017 2nd Team All-NWC (.354 avg, 46 H, .995 fielding percentage)
Jake Wishart, Junior, OF (.301 avg, 31 H, 8-10 stolen bases)
Brett Williams, Sophomore, INF (.273 avg, 36 H, 9 stolen bases)
Top New Players Matthew Sox, Freshman, INF/RHP, La Canada HS (CA)
Brendan Henry, Freshman, RHP, Hart HS (CA)
Charlie Carmichael, Junior, RHP, Skagit Valley College
Head Coach Commentary “Whitman College Baseball has been on the rise the last two years, significantly increasing win totals. The 2017 team posted the second most wins in school history in the last 35 years. With a young nucleus of talent returning, plus a large senior class, Whitman is poised to continue climbing with a roster comprised of top student-athletes. This is a special group that has helped establish our foundation and culture for years to come. The leadership of our seniors has been instrumental in making this the best off-season we have had in my time here at Whitman College and the depth our club has is the best it’s ever been. We are excited to step on the field and take the next step with our program.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Kitamura is a former Whitman player and 5 year assistant. A lot of pieces are in place to make a run up the NWC standings. Whitman was 3rd in fielding and 3rd in hitting last year which shows their competitive performance in the league. Zimmer had a special season in 2017, leading the conference in hitting. The Blues were also the second toughest team to strikeout in the league. The team will play their opening games in Southern California and the Blues will also play in the NWC pre-season tournament before opening conference play on February 17-18 at home vs. Pacific.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 12

perryWhitworth-University-logo whitworth

Whitworth University – Spokane, WA

Head Coach CJ Perry (1st year)
Assistants Ryan Cooney, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Scott Hilpert, Chris Gradoville
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 24-17 overall, 12-12 (4th in league)
Top Returning Players Hugh Smith, Junior, RHP, 1st Team All NWC, 2016 All-West Region
Matthew Young, Sophomore, RHP, 2017 2nd Team All-NWC (5 wins, 3.06, 79 innings)
Joel Condreay, Senior, SS, 2017 2nd Team All-NWC (.328 avg.)
JT Phelan, Senior, OF, three year starter, (.278 avg.)
Top New Players Taylor Poffenroth, Junior, OF, Edmonds CC
Austin Rice, Freshman, LHP, Irrigon HS (OR)
Jake Briones, Freshman, RHP, Mater Dei HS (CA)
Head Coach Commentary “Our line-up is well balanced, versatile, and athletic. We have a nice mix of guys with different strengths including speed, power, and the ability to string together some really gritty at-bats. I think we have a great combination of returners with significant and high leverage playing experience in the field and on the mound. In my six years coaching at Whitworth, we have never had this kind of competitive depth on the mound. We have a number of pitchers who can be used in a variety of different roles due to their stamina, experience levels, and ability to fill up the strike zone. This team retains a good number of players that helped to break Whitworth’s fielding percentage records in back to back years. I would expect the stellar defense to continue. We play a tough pre-season schedule in Texas and Louisiana, which will be a welcomed test. Based on our fall season and watching a couple of practices, it is evident that we have a strong group of individuals who prioritize hustle, selflessness, and hard work. Should be a fun year of Whitworth baseball!”
BBNW Analysis Interim Coach Perry (BBNW alumni) takes over for Dan Ramsey who left for professional coaching after nine years. CJ has been an assistant for 4 years and pitched in the NCAA D3 National Championship for the Pirates. The league coaches’ pre-season poll picked Whitworth 2nd. They have a history of being a contender each year. The Pirates were 3rd in home runs, 2nd in stolen bases and 1st in walks a year ago. Smith and Young should eat a lot of quality innings on the mound. Merkel Field is a very nice facility with a turf infield in a beautiful campus setting. The league home opener is February 24 versus Whitman.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 23

swick willamette logoBaseball: Willamette University plays Lewis & Clark College at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Oregon on February 07, 2016 (Photo: Christopher Oertell/Willamette Athletics)

Willamette University – Salem, OR

Head Coach Aaron Swick (10 years)
Assistants Mike Doran, Mikey Nantze, David Dennis
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 28-14 overall, 18-6 (2nd in conference)
Top Returning Players Matt Steindorf, Junior, RHP, 1st team All-NWC 2017 (8 wins, 88 1/3 IP, 3.87 ERA, 59 Ks)
Mason Fessler, Senior, INF, 1st team All-NWC 2017 (.275 avg, 39 H, 5 doubles, 5 HRs, 28 RBI)
Eric Del Prado, Senior, INF (.294 avg, 47 H, 10 doubles, 3 HRs, 32 RBI)
Connor Bailey, Junior, OF (.351 avg, 54 H, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 6 HRs, 28 RBIs)
Top New Players Jason Snare, Freshman, LHP, Bainbridge Island HS (WA)
Michael Nelsen, Freshman, UTL, Vista Del Lago HS (CA)
Sean Little, Freshman, 2B, Crescent Valley HS (OR)
Ben Setlak, Redshirt Freshman, OF, Evergreen HS (CO)
Head Coach Commentary “We played in the NWC Tournament Championship game in 2017 without a single senior. The team is experienced, driven, and talented enough to have a special season.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Swick should reach the 200 win plateau at Willamette in his 10th season. He led them all the way to the tournament championship game last year and returns the league’s deepest returning roster. Last year’s team performed the highest winning percentage since the 1998 season.  The middle of the offensive order returns and also returning is the No. 1 starter, so expectations are high for the Bearcats. A California and Texas trip precede a big NWC opening weekend series versus defending champion Linfield.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 3

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University of Puget Sound – Tacoma, WA

Head Coach Jeff Halstead (4 years)
Assistants Justin Gabriel, Joel Pedretti, Josh Kalalau, Bob Walz
Affiliation NCAA Divison III
Conference Northwest
2017 Record 14-24 overall, 7-17 (8th in conference)
Top Returning Players Ricardo Barraza, Sophomore, C, 2nd Team All-NWC (.305 avg, .406 OBP)
Mason Quinlan, Sophomore, 1B (.310 avg, 27 H)
Hunter Riley, Sophomore, 2B (.278 avg)
Merle Rowan-Kennedy, Senior, RHP (3.82 ERA, 4 wins, 68 1/3 IP, 59 K’s)
Top New Players Kyle Strash, Freshman, INF, Skyline HS (WA)
Jet Bond, Freshman, RHP, Newbury Park HS (CA)
Jake Brady, Freshman, INF, Mount Si HS (WA)
Jesse Awa, Freshman, INF/RHP, Kamehameha Schools (HI)
Head Coach Commentary “We are very excited about the upcoming 2018 season. 2017 was a very inconsistent year for the program but that was to be expected as we replaced 8 of our 9 position player starters from 2016. The experience we gained in 2017 was a great foundation moving forward. We will be returning all 9 position players and all 3 starting pitchers. When you add the talented freshmen class that brought us athletes from 10 different states, we feel like we have the talent, experience and depth to be a very good baseball team in 2018.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Halstead is in his 4th year at the helm after 14 years as an assistant. He is a Logger legend being an 8-time letter winner in baseball and football. Jeff was also selected eight times to the NWC All-Stars. He holds many program records including hits in a season. Barazza leads a large group of young players who gained good experience in 2017. Freshman got over 400 at-bats. UPS can build off 8 wins vs the top 4 in the conference a year ago. The Loggers broke their program record for fielding percentage (.986) in 2017. The NWC preseason tournament will get them ready for the conference opener February 17th at rival PLU. The Lutes will also be their opponent for a non-league game right down the street at Cheney Stadium on April 26th.
BBNW Alumni on Roster 15