NCAA Division III Northwest Conference: 2019 Preview

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George Fox University – Newberg, OR

Head Coach Marty Hunter (12th year)
Assistants Kevin Kopple, Taylor Hunter, Brent Trask, Seth Anderson, Jon Strohmaier
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://athletics.georgefox.edu/
2018 Record 25-19 overall, 13-11 (4th in conference)
Top Returning Players Matt Voelzke, JR, INF/RHP, 1st Team All-Conference (RHP), 1st Team West Region (UTL) (10 saves, 1.69 ERA, 64 K, 42.2 IP, .288 avg, only 8 errors at SS in 158 chances)
Kyler Brudwick, SR, OF, 2nd Team All-Conference (.380 avg, 30 RBI, 3rd leading hitter in conference)
Sam Swenson, JR, 1B, 2nd Team All-Conference (..333 avg, 8 HR, 49 RBI)
SR Jerred Seamons, SR, 3B, All-Conference Honorable Mention (.311 avg, 28 RBI)
Top New Players Christopher Stone, JR, RHP, Mt. Hood CC
Trevor Nannini, JR, UTL, Mt. Hood CC
Jason Garcia, JR, OF, Mt. Hood CC
Bradley Emmens, FR, RHP, Lincoln HS (OR)
Jayce Lien, FR, UTL, West Albany HS (OR)
Head Coach Commentary
“We have 6 of our regular position players back off of a team that hit .298 and averaged 6.93 runs per game.  There is also a contingent of players that have been in the program and now have an opportunity to play more regularly.  The addition of three junior college players add to the experience of this team. Pitching staff is improved and will be more competitive. Our success will be determined on an improved pitching staff and defense.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program?
“George Fox is a student-centered university that has done a great job of building facilities for our entire student body.  This year we added a new student center and tennis bubble, and a new dorm is in construction. Our baseball field has just completed permanent bleachers and now has a stadium feel to the park.  It is a good time to come to our school and have a great college experience.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Hunter is the dean of the Northwest Conference coaches, beginning his 12th year with the Bruins. He led George Fox to the championship game of the conference tournament in 2018, after a 4th place regular season finish. The Bruins return 5 players with All-Conference recognition last year, making them one of the favorites in 2019. Voelzke is a very unique player with strong production on both sides of the ball. He had 10 saves, two wins, and a 1.69 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 42 innings. He also hit .288 with 4 HR and 32 RBI. Brudwick, Swenson, Seamons, and Baek were top contributors to the team being 2nd in home runs and batting average in 2018. Atherton and Jack return with 22 starts on the mound.

The Tucson Invitational draws the Bruins south (and then to Georgia) before the league opener on February 23rd at PLU. George Fox comes home to Curtis and Margaret Morse Field on Saturday, March 2nd vs. Puget Sound. Good luck Bruins!

BBNW Alumni on the Roster  18

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Lewis & Clark College – Portland, OR

Head Coach Matt Kosderka (2nd year)
Assistants Brandon Rupp, Nate Wilson-Traisman, Bill Allen
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.lcpioneers.com/
2018 Record 9-30 overall, 5-19 (9th in conference)
Top Returning Players Matt Donovan, SR, CF (.335 avg, 17 2B, 2 HR)
Ryan Ericksen, SR, C (17 RBI)
Austin Conniff, SR, RHP (3.75 ERA, 4 saves, 19/9 K to BB ratio)
Top New Players Jack Thomson, FR, 3B, St. Ignatius HS (CA)
Dylan Moore, FR, OF/RHP, Aliso Niguel HS (CA)
Jordan Gonzalez, SO, RHP, Chandler HS (AZ)
Head Coach Commentary “We are excited to see how our guys perform with a full year under our coaching staff.  We have some solid returners and some promising newcomers.  We are hoping to continue to progress and make some noise in the NWC this season.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Lewis & Clark offers you the complete college experience.  From a world class education to a baseball program that is 100% committed to helping our players reach their full potential, both on and off the field, we provide the opportunity to get the absolute most out of the college experience.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Kosderka is in his second year at the helm of the Pioneers. He is a former Willamette University player and assistant coach, as well as a Wilsonville High School head coach. Donovan should ignite the offense having hit .335 including 17 doubles to lead the conference last year. Robert Reaser and Andrew Yarak bring good experience from a combined 22 starts on the mound in 2018. Conniff was solid out of the bullpen with 4 saves. LC was the only Northwest Conference team to win the ABCA Academic Excellence Award for 2018.

The Pioneers head to Claremont, CA for their season opening games beginning February 8th. LC returns to the Huston Sports Complex on February 23rd to begin conference play vs. Pacific. Good luck Pioneers!

BBNW Alumni on the Roster  2

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Linfield College – McMinnville, OR

Head Coach Stan Manley (2nd year)
Assistants Jarvis Gomes, Jordan Harlow, David Cunningham, Josh Rapacz, Brian Valentine
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://golinfieldwildcats.com/
2018 Record 24-18 overall, 16-8 (2nd in conference)
Top Returning Players Cason Cunningham, SR, LHP, 1st Team All- Conference (4.15 ERA, 65 IP, 90 K)
Colton Robinson, JR, INF (.339 avg, .422 OBP)
Alec Cook, SR, INF (.295 avg, 31 H)
Liam Herlihy, SR, RHP (1.46 ERA, 24.2 IP, 31 K)
Top New Players Brian Cromwell, JR, INF,  Santa Ana JC
Colton Meyer, FR, P,  Silverton HS (OR)
Head Coach Commentary “While we are replacing several seniors, many of the guys in our line-up have played significant innings in the Northwest Conference.  We expect to play well and compete at the top of an outstanding conference.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “The Linfield experience is more than just baseball.   If you’re ready to compete at the highest level, get involved in the many opportunities afforded to you in class, around campus, and quite possibly around the world, you will be setting yourself up for life-long success.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Manley’s first year at the helm of the Wildcats resulted in a second place finish in the regular season, but an early out in the conference tournament. Now in his second season, the former player and assistant coach will lead the storied Wildcat program with many new faces in 2019. Linfield’s history includes 16 championships in the last 31 seasons, including 6 of the last 11. Assistant Coach Jarvis Gomez, also a former Wildcat, is in his 16th year at Linfield. Seniors Cunningham, Cook, Fox and junior Robinson will be key veterans to build around. Cunningham was 2nd in wins and 1st in conference strikeouts a year ago. Herlihy was solid out of the bullpen last year. The return to the post-season may depend on the development of many underclassmen.

Grand Prairie, Texas is the Wildcats’ spring trip destination to begin the 2019 season on February 8th. Whitman comes to McMinnville to open conference play on February 23rd. Good luck Wildcats!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  20

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Pacific Lutheran University – Tacoma, WA

Head Coach Nolan Soete (4th year)
Assistants Sean Taunt, Scott Richards, Landon Packard, Mike Williams
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.golutes.com/
2018 Record 25-17 overall, 18-7 (1st in conference)
Top Returning Players Jacob Bockelie, SR, 1B/OF, 2018 NWC Player of the Year, 1st Team All-West
Region by D3baseball.com, 2nd Team All-West Region by ABCA (.389 avg, 8 HR, 49 RBI)
Alex Gregory, SO, RHP, 2nd Team All-Conference (5-2 W/L, 5 saves, 2.59 ERA, 55 IP)
Justin Armbruester, SO, RHP, 2nd Team All-Conference (5-3 W/L, 5.02 ERA, 66 IP)
Marques Carlson, SR, OF,  All-Conference Honorable Mention  (.304 avg, 1 HR, 25 RBI)
Max Cummings, SR, DH/1B, All-Conference Honorable Mention  (.326 avg, 1 HR, 15 RBI)
Jacob Mortensen, JR, RHP/INF, 4-1 W/L, 2 saves, 3.86 ERA, 49 IP)
Top New Players Justin Tucker, FR, RHP, Hazen HS (WA)
Jordan Haworth, FR, INF, Gig Harbor HS (WA)
Andy Schmitz, FR, INF/OF, North Marion HS (OR)
Michael Cesar, FR, C, Juneau-Douglas HS (AK)
Head Coach Commentary “Our 2019 team is a good mix of youth and experience. The Northwest Conference is
always a great challenge. We are looking forward to another chance at competing for a
conference title.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program?
“PLU provides you with the opportunity to receive a great education. We focus on the holistic development of the student-athlete while competing at a very high level.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Soete begins his 4th season at the helm of the Lutes coming off a regular season conference championship—their second in four years. The former PLU player and assistant coach has an experienced and successful group returning to make another championship run. The 2019 offense should revolve around three returning .300+ hitters—Carlson, Cummings, and Bockelie who was Northwest Conference Player of the Year. PLU was 3rd in the conference in pitching a year ago and return good young depth to the staff. Gideon and Armbruester combined to start 23 games. Gregory (5 wins, 5 saves) and Mortenson (4 wins, 2 saves) produced mostly out of the bullpen.

The Lutes follow the sun to Arizona and Georgia beginning February 7th before heading home for the NWC debut vs. George Fox on February 23rd . Good luck Lutes!

BBNW Alumni on the Roster  20

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Pacific University – Forest Grove, OR

Head Coach Brian Billings (5th year)
Assistants Kyle Treadway, Scott Dalrymple, Aaron Svarthumle, Mitch Thomas
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.goboxers.com/
2018 Record 16-24 overall, 9-15 (8th in conference)
Top Returning Players

Casey Brown, SR, LHP, All-Conference Honorable Mention (3-4 W/L, 3.82 ERA, 70.2 IP)

Sam Lawrence, SR, LHP (5-5 W/L, 4.60 ERA, 62.2 IP)

Derek Legeza, SO, OF (.291 avg, .404 OBP)

Chase Anderson, SO, INF (.300 AVG, .418 OBP)

Top New Players

Tyler Oscarson, JR, RHP, Clackamas CC

Jacob Igawa, FR, C, Waiakea HS (HI)

Jordan Hara, FR, UTL, Iolani HS (HI)

Head Coach Commentary “The Boxers are excited to see how their young but talented squad will fare in the Northwest Conference!”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program?

“We are creating a system that is focused on individual development while balancing a highly competitive group. We aim to holistically develop young men to be great on and off the field. We have an incredible academic reputation as well as exceptional facilities to aid us in this mission, along with a hard working coaching staff.”

BBNW Analysis Coach Billings begins his 5th season as head of the Boxers and only the third Pacific coach since 1964. He previously spent 12 seasons at the helm of in-conference member University of Puget Sound. Anderson returns as the only .300 hitter a year ago. Legeza adds speed and defense to a good group of young players with valuable experience last year. The pitching staff will be led by Brown and Lawrence who were proven starting pitchers in 2018.

The Boxers have scheduled two weekend trips to Redlands, CA, and Tucson, AZ, to begin the season before the league opener at Lewis & Clark on February 23rd and home opener at Bafaro Stadium vs. Linfield on March 2nd. Good luck Boxers!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  16

University of Puget Sound – Tacoma, WA

Head Coach Jeff Halstead (5th year)
Assistants Bob Walz, Cam Duvall, Cam McMullen, Justin Gabriel, Jake Nelson
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.loggerathletics.com/
2018 Record 17-23 overall, 10-15 (7th in conference)
Top Returning Players Kyle Strash, SO, 2B, 1st Team All-Conference, NWC Rookie of the Year and D3 Baseball West Region Freshman of the Year (.391 avg, .524 OBP)
  Mason Quinlan, JR, 1B (.343 avg, 3 HR, 5 2B, 1 3B, 19 RBI, only played half the season due to injury)
  Jack Gries, SR, OF, 2nd Team All-Conference (.348 avg, 12 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR)
  Nick Ultsch, SR, DH (.297 avg, 10 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI)
  Hunter Riley, JR, 3B, All-Conference Honorable Mention (.313 avg, 8 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR)
  Michael Warnick, SR, RHP (6-2 W/L, 52 IP, 3.81 ERA, 43 K)
Top New Players Robert Weaver, FR, RHP, Mercer Island HS (WA)
  Chris Pullen, FR, RHP, Albuquerque Academy (NM)
  Jackson Bolitho, FR, OF, Scripps Ranch HS (CA)
  Davis Miller, FR, RHP/1B, Willow Glenn HS (CA)
Head Coach Commentary  “We are excited with the amount of experience returning with this group that now contains 2 and 3 year starters at almost every position. That experience combined with some dynamic incoming freshmen, our goal is to take that next step forward as a program.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Puget Sound is a program that a recruit should choose if they are looking for an outstanding mixture of academic and athletic excellence. This is a place that can get you into your top choice medical school while the expectation on the athletic side is to compete for a NWC title. On top of that, we have some of the best small college facilities in the country that include a brand new indoor hitting facility along with a $20 million dollar weight room that is only 3 years old.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Halstead begins his 5th season with a strong offensive nucleus. The 2018 Loggers were as good as any at the plate and are looking for Strash, Quinlan, Gries, Ultsch, and Riley to be even better. They were 3rd in on-base percentage and the toughest to strike out. The young pitching got a lot of experience a year ago and should help UPS move up the NWC standings.

February 8th begins the 2019 season at Pamona Pitzer in southern Cal for a long weekend series. The league and home opener at Logger Field is February 23rd vs. Willamette. Good luck Loggers!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  17

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Whitman College – Walla Walla, WA

Head Coach Brian Kitamura (4th year)
Assistants Tommy Richards, Nolan Parks, Blake Treinen, Peter Fowler
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://athletics.whitman.edu/
2018 Record 18-20 overall, 12-12 (5th in conference)
Top Returning Players
Lucas Thrun, SR, 1B, 1st-Team All-Conference, (.371 avg, .447 OBP, .568 SLG, 4 HR, 37 RBI, .992 FP)
Kyle Reisman, SR, DH (.289 avg, .402 OBP, .433 SLG, 3 HR, 24 RBI)
Brett Williams, JR, SS (.254 avg, .383 OBP, 8 SB, .961 FP)
Eric Ma, SO, RHP, 2017 NWC Freshman of the Year
Top New Players Drew Vannaman, FR, OF, West Linn HS (OR)
Leo Rivera, FR, INF, O’Dea HS (WA)
Jake Larson, JR, RHP/INF, Valparaiso University
Head Coach Commentary “We have a great group of guys this year led by a senior class that has helped to transform our culture over the past three seasons.  We are excited to build on last spring and play one of the strongest schedules we have ever had here at Whitman.  I have no doubt that our players will continue to get better with every opportunity we get this year.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “We are looking for the best players and the best student-athletes to join us.  Whitman is the best academic institution in the Pacific Northwest and provides an incredible opportunity to be an outstanding student-athlete putting 100% in on the field and in the classroom.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Kitamura begins his 4th year directing the Blues after being an assistant for 5 years. He has the program moving in the right direction with 17 wins in 2017 and 18 wins in 2018. Those are the 2nd and third best seasons since 1982. It was a young group a year ago that came within one game of the conference tournament. Thrun’s .371 average was 5th in the league and he also had team highs in doubles, RBIs, slugging, and on base percentage. A lot of solid defense returns as the Blues were 2nd in fielding a year ago. Henry returns from a strong freshman year with 4 wins and 4 saves. Oakland A’s closer Blake Treinen has been an assistant coach since 2015 and lives in Walla Walla in the off-season.

A Tucson, Arizona tournament kicks off the 2019 season February 8th. The league opener is at Linfield February 23rd and Whitworth comes to Borleske Stadium on March 2nd for their home opener. Good luck Blues!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  10

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Whitworth University – Spokane, WA

Head Coach CJ Perry (2nd year)
Assistants Ryan Cooney, Kelly Fitzpatrick
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.whitworthpirates.com/
2018 Record 17-20 overall, 11-13 (6th in conference)
Top Returning Players Tyler Bailey, SR, 3B, All-Conference Honorable Mention (.306 avg. 2 HR, 22 RBI)
Spencer Locati, SR, 1B (.298 avg, 2 HR, 16 RBI, .405 OBP)
Taylor Poffenroth, SR, CF (.289 avg, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Ryan Kingma, SR, LHP (1.35 ERA, 20 IP)
Darren Crosby, SR, RHP (2.66 ERA, 17 K)
Top New Players Jaxsen Sweum, FR, OF, Glacier Peak HS (WA)
  JJ Fahnlander, FR, OF, Emerald Ridge HS (WA)
  Luke Bruno, FR, OF, Camas HS (WA)
  Lukas Seeley, FR, INF, Ballard HS (WA)
  Ethan Schulte, FR, INF, Bainbridge Island HS (WA)
  Connor Grytdal, RHP, Community Colleges of Spokane
Head Coach Commentary “I am really excited about the freshmen and transfer class that we brought in. All of them are talented, hungry, and come from programs that have a winning tradition. I think we mix that dynamic with a lot of veteran starters who have played a lot of meaningful innings and can provide some solid leadership on the field and in the dugout. We return the middle of our order and some arms that have a lot of game experience. Combine that with our new class with some exciting young bats, and I think we have a great chance of being very successful.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Our baseball team is a microcosm of what our university offers a college student. We are a coaching staff that leans in to relationships and we strive to actively seek out opportunities to find, strengthen, and develop the God-given gifts and skills that our players possess. It is an incredibly active and vibrant Christian campus that allows students to develop academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually. We have a winning tradition at Whitworth with our most recent regional appearances in 2012, 2015, and 2016. In 2018, we had two pitchers selected in the MLB draft, Hugh Smith (6th Rd. Detroit Tigers) and Joel Condreay (31st. Rd. Colorado Rockies).”
BBNW Analysis Coach Perry, a BBNW alumni, is in his second season leading the Pirates after being a former player and assistant coach. Pitching and defense has always been a strength for Whitworth. They were 3rd in team pitching and 1st in team defense last year. A solid group of defenders and pitchers return to set the stage for their return to the post season. Bailey, Poffenroth, and Locati return as 3 of the top 4 hitters for average. Whitworth will rely on Young, Kingma, and Crosby for a lot of productive innings to show the way for the young pitching staff.

February 8th begins the season for the Pirates at College of Idaho before adventuring to Georgia and southern California for weekend series’. League play begins March 2nd at Whitman. The Pirates debut at home at Merkel Field the following weekend vs. Pacific. Good luck Pirates!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  19

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Willamette University – Salem, OR

Head Coach Aaron Swick (11th year)
Assistants Bert Hunter, David Dennis, Mikey Nantze
Affiliation NCAA Division III
Conference Northwest
Website http://www.wubearcats.com/
2018 Record 31-19 overall, 15-9 (3rd in conference)
Top Returning Players Connor Bailey, SR, OF, 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team West Region (.339 avg, .418 OBP, .683 SLG, 48 R, 15 HR, 55 RBI)
Matt Steindorf, SR, RHP, 1st Team All-Conference, 2nd Team West Region (11-3 W/L, 109.2 IP, 2.87 ERA, 4:1 K to BB)
Tyler Janitz, SR, INF, All-Conference Honorable Mention (.313 avg, .404 OBP, 21 R, 21 RBI)
Brandon Murillo, SO, RHP (2-0 W/L, 7 saves, 1.88 ERA)
Top New Players Justin Scanlon, JR, INF, West Valley College
Ethan Fischel, FR, INF, Eureka HS (CA)
Matt Pisacane, FR, RHP, San Dieguito HS (CA)
Eric Waldichuk, FR, 1B/RHP, University City HS (CA)
Head Coach Commentary
“Winning the NWC Tournament and playing in the NCAA Regional title game were great experiences for our players in 2018. There are several position battles after graduating 6 seniors from the starting lineup. The pitching depth will be one of the strengths of the team. Our pre-season games will be key in learning about the 2019 team.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program?
“Our program is comprised of baseball rats who are great students. We strive for excellence on and off the field. Our goal is to provide the best student-athlete experience possible for each of our players.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Swick is in his 11th year and coming off the Bobcats’ best season. The 2018 season included tying a program record of 31 wins, a Northwest conference tournament championship, being the runner-up in the West Regional, and an 18th national ranking by HERO Sports. Bailey should anchor the offense and is coming off a season of leading the NWC in home runs, slugging percentage, and second in RBIs. A lot of offense was lost to graduation, but pitching could be the strength in 2019. Willamette returns all pitchers but one who had starts in 2018; Steindorf led the conference in starts. Murillo is a proven closer.

The 2019 season begins in southern California at Whittier on February 8th before the conference opener on the road at Puget Sound on February 23rd. The Bearcats return to John Lewis Stadium on March 2nd to host
Lewis and Clark. Good luck Bearcats!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  2

 These season previews were compiled by Jeff McKay and Josh Warner.

View other season previews here:
NAIA West
GNAC (NCAA Division II)
Monday, February 11: NCAA Division I
Monday-Friday, February 18-22: NWAC Week, including ID/MT Junior Colleges