NWAC East Region: 2019 Preview

Big Bend Community College – Moses Lake, WA

Head Coach Jameson Lange (2nd year)
Assistants Ryan Doumit, Craig Carter, Reign Letkeman, Aaron Vaughn, Mitchell Darlington, Steve Keller
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website www.bbccvikings.com
2018 Record 31-20, 16-13 (3rd in conference)
Top Returning Players Trevor Luckey, SO, 1B, 2nd Team All-Region  (.340 avg, 10 2B, 3 HR, 34 RBI)
Samuel Fagerness, SO, UTL (.309 avg, 8 2B, 3 HR, 36 RBI)
Derek Almanza, SO, DH/OF (.288 avg, 10 2B, 4 HR, 33 RBI)
Benjamin Albrecht, SO, 2B (.301 avg, 8 2B, 23 RBI)
Jordan Moreno, SO, RHP, starter (58.2 IP, 49 K, 3.37 ERA)
Noah Soltero, SO, RHP, reliever (38.1 IP, 39 K, 9 BB, 3.52 ERA)
Hayden Knight, RS-SO, RHP, closer (47.1 IP, 39 K, 17 BB, 3.61 ERA)
Top New Players Matthew Plato, FR, OF, Montesano HS (WA)
Tanner Van Lith, RS-FR, RHP, Cashmere HS (WA)
Colin Cortez, FR, RHP, Knight HS (CA)
Ryan Shipley, FR, RHP, Tahoma HS (WA)
Nainoa Ka’ahanui, FR, DH/1B, Molokai HS (HI)
Tyler Henry, FR, 1B, Burlington-Edison HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “We are excited with the depth of our pitching staff and the maturity of the starting nine. We return 6 starters with a number of guys who saw a considerable amount of innings as freshmen. We look to compete as a top contender in a tough EastRegion.”
What would you want a prospective student athlete to know about your program? “Relentless excellence in the classroom, on the field, and off the field.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Lange in his first year at the helm of the Vikings guided them to a 31-win season, and a super-regional win that punched a ticket to the NWAC Championships. The former Big Bend assistant coach will lead a deep and experienced sophomore class into a very competitive 2019 East Region battle. Former Major Leaguer Ryan Doumit is an assistant.

The Vikings were 6th in the NWAC in hitting and return three .300+ hitters in Luckey, Fagerness, and Albrecht. Luckey, Fagerness, and Almanza were second, third, and fourth in RBIs. Moreno has No. 1 pitcher experience with 11 starts, 4 wins, and a team-leading 3.61 ERA. Knight led the bullpen in 2018 with 4 saves and 4 wins.

The non-league schedule begins at East Region contender Spokane for four, followed by a trip west to Edmonds and Centralia that include games vs. Lane and Everett. Eight home games follow vs. Wenatchee Valley, Everett, Grays Harbor and Calgary, before opening up league at Wenatchee Valley. Good luck Vikings!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  11

Blue Mountain Community College – Pendleton, OR

Head Coach Brad Baker (6th year)
Assistants Chris Henke, Derek Bettinson
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website http://www.bluecc.edu/athletics/
2018 Record 20-28, 9-19 (7th in conference)
Top Returning Players Alex Salsman, SO, UTL (.309 avg, 18 2B, 3 HR, 37 RBI, 6 SB)
Hunter Hughes, SO, 3B (.302 avg, 9 2B, 26 RBI, 7 SB)
Brooks Juhasz, SO, RHP (23 IP, 16 K)
Top New Players Dylan Grogan, SO, RHP, Stanfield HS (OR)
Nate Smith, SO, RHP, Centennial HS (OR)
Wyatt Hull, FR, RHP, Southridge HS (WA)
Carsten Manderbach, FR, SS, Hanford HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “We have a hardworking group of quality student-athletes that continue to get better every day.   We look forward to competing in the NWAC East this season!”
What would you want a prospective student athlete to know about your program? “We have a quality program at Blue Mountain CC.  We are a program that continues to improve every year and has stability with the longest tenured Head Coach in the East region.  BMCC has moved 34 players on to four year programs in the last five years and we have a high retention and graduation rates within our program.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Baker, a former Wolves player himself, enters his sixth season and has improved Blue Mountain’s winning percentage and their East Region win total each year. He has his team poised for high sites in 2019. Salsman led all Wolves in RBI’s and extra base hits in 2018 and Hughes was one of four .300+ hitters last year. Four sophomores and nine freshmen new to the roster will need to produce quickly for another 20 plus win season.

The Wolves open on the road with two vs. Pacific JV’s, and at Clark CC followed by a 16-game home pre-league schedule with Prairie Baseball Academy (twice), Southwestern Oregon, Green River, Linn-Benton, Mt. Hood, Shoreline, and Olympic. Treasure Valley comes to Pendleton for the East Region opener. Good luck Wolves!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  17

Columbia Basin College – Pasco, WA

Head Coach Brent Wyatt (3rd year)
Assistants Steve Schultz, Anthony Murillo, Matt Minnich, Kris Ulmer, Jonathan Schlender, Troy Farley
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website http://cbchawks.com/
2018 Record 27-21, 15-13 (4th in conference)
Top Returning Players
Xander Orejudos, SO, SS,  1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-Conference, 2nd Team All-American (.356 avg, 55 RBI-2nd in NWAC)
Troy Simpkins, SO, OF, 1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-Conference (.388 avg- 3rd in NWAC, 23 SB)
Top New Players
Adrian Crain, FR, INF, Columbia HS (ID)
Chris Powell, FR, OF, Lewiston HS (ID)
Caleb Carlson, FR, INF, Nampa HS (ID)
Jacob Bacon, FR, INF/P, Tahoma HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “This is the most talented group I have seen at CBC since I’ve been here. We are so excited to get out and compete!”
What would you want a prospective student athlete to know about your program? “At CBC, we feel that we do a good job teaching our guys how to be a winner, on and off the field! After all, nobody likes losing. GO HAWKS!!!”
BBNW Analysis Coach Wyatt begins his third year as head coach at CBC with two years of post-season appearances to build on. He was a member of two National Championship teams at Lewis-Clark State before playing in the Detroit Tigers organization.

Four sophomores return with impressive 2018 stats led by Orejudos who maybe as talented as any player in the NWAC this year. Three outfielders return with plus production numbers—Troy Simpkins, Ryan Dearing (.300 avg), and Dawson Pate (.296, 5 HR). The pitching begins with RHP Robert Voortmeyer and LHP Jonah Callaghan, each making 11 starts in 2018 with 6 and 4 wins respectively. Gavin Patterson anchored the bullpen with 3 wins and 3 saves. Hunter Mulderig had a 1.10 ERA in 32 innings in 2017. He has committed to Indiana Tech for 2020.

A very challenging 16 game homestand begins the season with Southwestern Oregon, Linn-Benton, Edmonds, Lower Columbia, Mt. Hood, Olympic, and Bellevue coming to Pasco. The Hawks open East Region play vs. defending East champions on the road at Yakima Valley. Good luck Hawks!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  19

Community Colleges of Spokane – Spokane, WA

Head Coach Bryan Winston (2nd year)
Assistants Seth Heckel, Ryne Webb
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website http://athletics.spokane.edu/
2018 Record 37-16, 21-10 (2nd in conference)
Top Returning Players Reed Harrington, SO, RHP, 1st Team All-Region, Boise State Commit (10 saves, 1.32 ERA)
Marcus Cain, SO, LHP, 2nd Team All-Region (6 wins, 45 K, 2.36 ERA)
Christian Padilla, SO, OF, 2nd Team All-Region, Boise State Commit (8 HR, 20 SB)
Mitch Dean, SO, 3B, 2nd Team All-Region (12 2B, 6 HR)
Jadan Vandervert, SO, CF, East Region Gold Glove Winner (.321 avg, 17 2B)
Justin Lutz, SO, C (10 2B, 5 HR)
Top New Players Jase Edwards, FR, SS, Central Valley HS (WA)
McKabe Cottrell, FR, LHP, Gonzaga University
Cameron Liss, FR, LHP, Ferris HS (WA)
Colton Charnholm, FR, LHP, Belgrade HS (MT)
Head Coach Commentary “Our sophomores have done a tremendous job of leading by example and again our freshmen have stepped in right away and made our practices and overall environment competitive. We return 14 players who played for us last year and their overall experience makes us one of the older teams in the region. We know the East Region is always competitive and we are excited to get started.”
What would you want a prospective student athlete to know about your program? “The Community Colleges of Spokane is one athletic department split between two campuses, Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College. Together we offer 15 varsity sports and we believe it gives our student-athletes a true college feel. In the fall of 2018, we completed an $18.5 million dollar gym renovation. We have a brand new weight room, fitness center, batting cage area with turf, bullpen area, three classrooms, and athletic department offices. We believe strength and conditioning is a huge part of our players developing to their untapped potential. Every one of our players has an individual workout plan specifically designed for them based off their body movements. Players are also given corrective exercises to help with mobility and injury risk. Competition plays a huge part for us on a daily basis. Our overall competitiveness at practice and in the classroom should help us come spring time. Academically, we graduated 12 players last year and posted a fall team GPA of 3.31. We currently have former players playing at D1, D2, D3 and NAIA schools. Our belief is that community college baseball is a great route for a number of reasons. In fact, our four coaches all played in the NWAC and all moved on to play at four year universities. (Gonzaga, Whitworth, Midland)
BBNW Analysis Coach Winston in his first season coached Spokane to one of its best seasons ever in 2018. 37 wins, a 2nd place East Region finish, and a tie for 3rd at the NWAC Tournament set the sights high for 2019. He is a former Spokane player and a Gonzaga graduate.

The pre-season coaches’ poll have the Sasquatch ranked 7th. The strong core of returning offense of Padilla, Dean, Vandervert, and Lutz return 20 of the NWAC leading 39 home runs from Spokane a year ago. On the pitching side, Harrington and Cain have the top 1-2 combination of returning 2018 ERA for a staff that was 5th in NWAC team pitching last year.

Sixteen pre-league games take the Sasquatch to the west side twice for two against Everett and Edmonds, and four against Centralia. Sandwiched between those are home games vs. Skagit Valley and Pierce. East Region play begins at Walla Walla on March 27th. Good luck Sasquatch!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  27

Treasure Valley Community College – Ontario, OR

Head Coach Steve Luby (2nd year)
Assistants Brady Baker
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website www.Gochuks.com
2018 Record 13-30, 7-21 (8th in conference)
Top Returning Players Tyler Strickland, SO, P
Casey Rodriguez, SO, P
Payton Higgins, SO, OF
Wyatt Bleskin, SO, UTL
Top New Players Chris Sabin, FR, SS, Bonners Ferry HS (ID)
Nic Rasmussen, FR, P, Bear River HS (UT)
Bridger Vorwaller, FR, P, Weber HS (UT)
Cody Johnson, FR, INF, Roseburg HS (OR)
Payson Mills, FR, RHP, Blackfoot HS (ID)
Payton Hamilton, FR, INF, Capital HS (ID)
Head Coach Commentary “I think we have a great group of young men returning and an outstanding group of freshmen that will come to compete every day”.
What would you want a prospective student athlete to know about your program? “Our program is built on hard work, discipline, and being fundamentally sound.  We believe in competing every day, and challenging each other to be the best player and teammate they can be.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Luby is beginning his second year at the head of TVCC after serving as an assistant the previous 5 years. He had been a high school head coach in Oregon for 20 years and was named Oregon High School Coach of the Year in 1991. Sophomore leadership should come from Bleskin whose .267 batting average is best of the returners; Higgins led the 2018 Chukars with 24 RBI. On the pitching side, Strickland won 6 games in 9 starts while Rodriquez returns after starting 7 games. A move up the East standings may rest on the quick development of a strong and deep freshmen class.

A 20 game pre-league schedule sends the Chukars south to Salt Lake CC before coming home for eight games vs Skagit Valley and Grays Harbor. An Oregon swing to Chemeketa and Mt. Hood follows to prepare TVCC for East Region play beginning at Blue Mountain March 27th. Good luck Chukars!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  10

Walla Walla Community College – Walla Walla, WA

Head Coach Justin Speer (1st year)
Assistants Marcus Blackmon, Ceaser Lopez, Shane Mings, Steve Barker
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website http://warriors.wwcc.edu/baseball/
2018 Record 21-21, 12-16 (5th in conference)
Top Returning Players Brandon Wagstaff, SO, C
Brayde Hirai, SO, LHP/OF
Michael Peterson, SO, RHP
Cooper Larson, OF
Danny Robinson, OF
Top New Players Caleb Ephan, FR, C, Lewis-Clark State
Braden Guerrero, FR, OF, Palomar JC
Head Coach Commentary “We as a program have set high standards for the 2019 season and are working to establish ourselves as one of the top competitive teams in the East Region. Our players have trained all fall and winter and are up to the challenge of accomplishing their goals this year.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “We are a hard-nose competitive program with great culture. We pride ourselves in developing our guys and getting them opportunities at the next level. With that said, Walla Walla Community College was recently ranked the #1 community college in the nation for campus and academics. Also, in 2016-2017, Walla Walla CC was named the Presidential Cup Award winner which is given to the top academic community college in the NWAC. We are confident as a student athlete here you will be set-up for success.”

https://thebestschools.org/50-community-colleges-united-states/
http://www.nwacsports.org/index.php?id=14354&cat=0

BBNW Analysis Coach Speer takes over the Warrior program in 2019 after having been the Walla Walla CC softball coach the last three seasons. The BBNW alum spent one year as a baseball assistant prior. His wife Chelsie is the head women’s volleyball coach for the Warriors.

Robinson (.306 avg) leads the returning Warrior hitters, with his 22 RBI, 2nd on the club last year. Wagstaff hit .295 with 32 RBI in 2017. On the pitching side, Peterson returns with two wins and 3 saves while Hirai had six starts producing two wins. The 23 freshmen will be the foundation of the new Coach Speer program and may go a long way to making the post-season.

Walla Walla opens the season with sixteen straight home games over four weekends vs. Linn-Benton, Prairie Baseball Academy (twice), Lower Columbia, Green River, Edmonds, Shoreline, and Bellevue. The East Region opener is March 27th vs. Spokane. Good luck Warriors

BBNW Alumni on Roster  26

Wenatchee Valley College – Wenatchee, WA

Head Coach Zach Clanton (3rd year)
Assistants CJ Ketron, Beau Kearns, Dustin Kearns, Bryan Widener
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website https://www.wvc.edu/athletics/
2018 Record 23-23, 10-18 (6th in conference)
Top Returning Players Austin Earl, SO, RF, 1st Team All-Region, Gold Glove winner, University of West Virgina commit (.325 avg, 7 2B, 13 HR, 52 RBI, .598 SLG%, 1.045 OPS)
Benny McKay, SO, SS, 1st Team All-Region, NWAC Gold Glove winner (.328 avg, 13 2B, 9 3B, 2HR, 35 RBI, 12 SB, .598 SLG%, .930 OPS, .989 FLD%, 6 errors)
Dirk Wilson, SO, C (.260 avg, 6 2B, 1 HR, 13 RBI)
Dalton Stamper, SO, LHP (48.1 IP, 4-6 W/L, 4.09 ERA, 57 K)
Top New Players Josh Moore, SO, OF/DH, Lewis-Clark State
Edgar Harrell, SO, INF, Yakima Valley College
Keenan Milligan, SO, OF, Yakima Valley College
Head Coach Commentary “I expect us to improve on a solid offensive season from last year while making the next step on the mound as well. We have a great group of sophomores who want to build off last season and make a playoff push. If the pitchers can match or come close to the level of production of our hitters. I am optimistic about our chances.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “I believe our program puts more money and time into development than most at this level. Our purchases and time is put into the players development, and getting them to the next level. Our tracking of data, our weight room development, our throwing program, and our offensive output is what we sell to each and every one of our recruits. We went from winning 4 games to 23 in the course of a year and sent on 4 players to Division 1 schools last year. That was due to the time they put in on the field and in the weight room.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Clanton begins his 3rd year leading the Knights and has them moving in the right direction, with 4 wins in 2017 to 23 last year. He moved up from the pitching coach to head coach in the fall of 2016. He was a member of four National Title rosters at Lewis-Clark State ending his career with the 2nd most appearances in program history. CJ Ketron was added as Associate Head Coach this year for the Knights. Brothers Beau (pitching), and Dustin (hitting) are staff members.

Player of the Year candidate Austin Earl leads an offense that was 7th in hitting last year and first in home runs. A projected improvement to the  pitching rotation will be anchored by Stamper. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Graves had 9 starts a year ago with 4 wins and will add additional experience on the mound. The 15 freshmen pitchers on the roster will need to contribute. The defense finished 7th in the NWAC in 2018.

Wenatchee Valley’s five weekend pre-league schedule includes home series’ with University of Calgary, Tacoma, Shoreline, and Green River with a fourth weekend series trip to Clark. Big Bend comes to Wenatchee March 27th for the East Region opener. Good luck Knights!

BBNW Alumni on Roster  23

 Yakima Valley Community College – Yakima, WA

Head Coach Kyle Krustangel (4th year)
Assistants Cash Ulrich, Tyler VonDracek, Ryan Sires
Affiliation NWAC
Conference East Region
Website www.goyaks.com
2018 Record 44-11 overall, (1st in conference)
Top Returning Players Alec Gomez, SO, RHP, 2nd Team All-Region (44IP, 46 K, 1.62 ERA, 2-0 W/L, 3 saves)
  Logan Chase, SO, RHP, Signed to Northern Colorado (39 IP, 36 K, 2.97 ERA, 4-1 W/L, 5 saves)
Mason Shaw, SO,  RHP (50 IP, 36 K, 2.34 ERA, 5-0 W/L)
Tylor Nixon, SO, SS
Top New Players Matt James, SO, C, Notre Dame, signed to East Carolina
Connor Coballes, FR, INF, Gonzaga Prep (WA)
Donald Saltiban, FR, RHP/INF, Hilo HS (HI)
Head Coach Commentary “We are excited about the depth and sophomore leadership we have on the mound this year. We have lots of freshmen, position player wise, but it is one of the most talented classes we have had here.  We look to make our 3rd title game in four years.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Yakima Valley College has a rich baseball history with an NWAC leading 21 titles. We are blessed to have had a multi-million dollar renovation in the last few years which includes a new locker room, weight room, and several field upgrades. The campus as a whole has had over 50 million dollars put in, in the last 10 years. We strive to better our guys on the field, classroom, and in the community. We are looking to develop our guys in many ways and get them ready for baseball at the 4 year level. We have had over 35 guys sign letter of intents out of Yakima Valley College in the last 3 years.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Krustangel, a BBNW alum, enters his 4th year at Yakima amassing an impressive 111 wins in three years, two East Region championships, a 2nd place NWAC tournament finish last season and a NWAC Championship his first year in 2016. He is a former Whitworth University player and assistant coach. The Yaks carried a 16th national ranking at the end of last season and a coaches poll #3 NWAC ranking this pre-season.

The trio of Gomez, Chase, and Shaw is as proven as any three returning in the NWAC for a staff that was 4th in pitching a year ago. Seventeen freshmen position players must help replace an explosive offense from a year ago. Outfielder Clay Ashworth hit .316 in a limited role. Freshman RHP Keegan Romig was ranked #28 by Baseball Northwest as a Top Prospect for the Washington class of 2017.

Yakima Valley opens the season at Everett and at defending NWAC
champion Lower Columbia before a 13 game homestand vs. Southwestern
Oregon, Edmonds, Everett, and Grays Harbor. Columbia Basin comes to Yakima to start East Region play on March 27th. Good luck Yaks!

Class of 2018 Top Prospects on roster, ranked previously by Baseball Northwest Oregon: #12 Sam Waterman, #20 Tyler Rund
BBNW Alumni on Roster  21