NWAC West Region: 2018 Preview

Centralia College – Centralia, WA

Head Coach Jake LeDuc (4th year)
Assistants Andy Forgione, Cam Margaris
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website www.centralia.edu/athletics/
2017 Record 9-36 overall, 8-18 (4th in conference)
Top Returning Players Taylor Mondina, Sophomore, 1B, West Division Gold Glove Winner (.299 avg)
Brady Woodrum, Sophomore, C
Wes Kuzminsky, Sophomore, OF/P (4.84 ERA, 35 IP)
Riley Olson, Sophomore, P
Top New Players Ethan Hori, Freshman, SS, Orting HS
Josh Collett, Freshman, RHP, Aberdeen HS (WA)
Braden Smutz, Freshman, C, Lake Stevens HS (WA)
Colton Titus, Freshman, INF, Castle Rock HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “We are really looking forward to this upcoming season. We have made strides in each of my 4 seasons since I have taken over as head coach including making it to the regional round each of the last 2 seasons. Our Freshmen class is probably the strongest recruiting class we have had here at CC since I have been at the school. Our coaching staff feels we can really make strides this year, improving our record and challenging (the team) to get out of the regional round and possibly into the NWAC Tournament. Our pitching staff is the old group this year as 8 of our 12 arms are sophomores. Position-wise we are much younger, but I feel we are more athletic and gritty.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Leduc has the Trailblazers poised for their best year with him at the helm. They can draw upon the regional appearances in 2016 and 2017.

Grays Harbor College – Aberdeen, WA

Head Coach Mike Bruner (2nd year)
Assistants Wayne Kennedy, Brandon Templer and Layne Bruner
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website ghcathletics.com
2017 Record 6-37 overall, 4-21 (6th in conference)
Top Returning Players Andrew Snyder, Sophomore, LHP, Sophomore Showcase participant (14 starts, 60 IP)
Brad Kramer, Sophomore, 1B (.262 avg)
Jack Skinner, Sophomore, C (.252 avg)
Ryan Gifford, Sophomore, OF (.240 avg)
Top New Players Jonny Rice, Freshman, RHP/SS, Emerald Ridge HS (WA)
Luke Thoreson, Freshman, RHP, Thurston HS (OR)
Juan Navarette, Freshman, 3B, Poston Butte HS (AZ)
Jayden Cabbab, Freshman, 1B, Damien Memorial HS (HI)
Head Coach Commentary “We are extremely excited about the upcoming season. Our players have been working extremely hard since September. They are hungry, ready to hit the field, and excited to compete together as a baseball family. This year’s GHC baseball team will be much improved in all facets of the game. We have an exceptional group of freshmen that will be on the field, contributing right away. We also have a core group of returning sophomores that understand the culture we are committed to building and they are working tirelessly to be the class that turns GHC Baseball into a playoff level program. Our defense will be much more fundamental and solid; our pitchers are aggressively-minded with the intent to pound the zone with their best stuff; and our hitting line-up is full of tough outs and guys that handle the bat well, in spots 1 through 9. We are ready to take the next step in becoming a quality, winning, college baseball program.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Bruner has the Chokers moving in the right direction in his second year at the helm in an especially tough West Region of the NWAC. Andrew Snyder has signed with Newman University for the 2019 season.

Green River College – Auburn, WA

Head Coach Brian Embery (8th year)
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website https://www.greenriver.edu/
2017 Record 6-31 overall, 6-19 (5th in conference)
Top Returning Players Awaiting information from Green River
Top New Players Awaiting information from Green River
Head Coach Commentary Awaiting information from Green River
BBNW Analysis Coach Embery begins his 8th year at the Helm for Green River at his alma mater where he won an NWAACC title in 1975 as a player. The team will rely on their 8 sophomores to lead in a tough West Region.

Lower Columbia College – Longview, WA

Head Coach Eric Lane (1st year)
Assistants Ian Sanderson, Ryan Littlefield
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website lccreddevils.com
2017 Record 40-10 overall, 21-4 (1st in conference)
Top Returning Players Ricky Muzzy, Sophomore, INF, 1st team All-NWAC (.359 avg, 3 HR, 30 RBI)
Jared Akin, Sophomore, RHP (1.91, 61 IP,7 wins)
JT Strickler, Sophomore, C, 1st team All-NWAC (.364 avg, 4 HR, 26 RBI)
Kyle Sandstrom, Sophomore, OF (.312 avg, 22 RBI)
Top New Players Drew Barlow, Freshman, 3B, Woodinville HS (WA)
Mitch Lines, Freshman, RHP, Hockinson HS (WA)
DeShawn Johnson, Freshman, INF/RHP, Emerald Ridge HS (WA)
Justin Solt, Freshman, RHP, Shadle Park HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “We will be looking forward to defending the NWAC title with a good mix of veterans and rookies. I’m looking forward to watching our young pitchers compete, and our veteran guys lead the way.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Lane takes over as head coach after serving 3 years as a Red Devil assistant. The former BBNW player, Red Devil, and All-League Gonzaga Bulldog takes over for Eddie Smith who left for an assistant position at Tulane University. The LCC winning tradition in the NWAC is impressive. Since 2010 they have won the Championship 3 times and finished 2nd once. LCC is ranked 2nd in the pre-season poll. They will attempt to defend the 2017 championship with deep and proven position players and the development of a young pitching staff. Muzzy signed with University of Washington in the last signing period. David Story Field, which was turfed in 2017, has been the long time home of the NWAC Championship Tournament and will be again this year May 24-27.

Pierce College – Lakewood, WA

Head Coach Kevin Davis (6 years)
Assistants Jim Odell, Jake Phillips, Elliot Morris, Ryan Schmitten
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website www.pierceraiders.com
2017 Record 29-14 overall, 17-8 (3rd in conference)
Top Returning Players Rylan Cratsenberg, Sophomore, 1B, 2nd Team All-NWAC, 1st Team West Region (.371, 6 HR, 36 RBI)
Alan Vasquez, Sophomore, RHP, 1st Team West Region (2.71 ERA, 5 wins, 66 IP)
Matt Scheffler, Sophomore, C, 1st Team West Region (.349, 18 SB)
Ty Swanson, Sophomore, OF, 2nd Team West Region, Gold Glove OF West Region (.297, 15 SB)
Top New Players Tyler Fox, Freshman, SS/RHP, Cascade Christian HS (OR)
Jacob Hinkle, Freshman, INF, Montana State Billings
Tucker Stroup, Freshman, RHP, Timberline HS (WA)
Nick Antony, Freshman, INF, Hilo HS (HI)
Head Coach Commentary “Our pitching staff is young this year and the preseason will be very important for them. There are multiple pitchers on the staff with good arm talent but getting NWAC experience under their belt will be the true test. The offense should be heavy with veteran players. We are very excited for another exciting season in the West Division.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Davis has had Pierce in the post-season each year as head coach after spending two years as an assistant. He is a former pitcher at NWAC members Big Bend CC and Bellevue CC before signing with the Atlanta Braves. The Raiders are ranked #7 in the Northwest pre-season poll. The returning offense should lead the way this year with many returns from the 2017 team that was 3rd in the NWAC in batting average (.309) and tied for 1st in steals. RHP Leif Strom signed with the Nationals after being drafted in the 21st round.

Tacoma Community College – Tacoma, WA

Head Coach Ryan Mummert (8 years)
Assistants Marcus Hinkle, Andrew Olson
Affiliation NWAC
Conference West Region
Website www.tacomatitans.com
2017 Record 30-17 overall, 19-6 (2nd in conference)
Top Returning Players Collin Wolf, Sophomore,SS, All-West Region (.304 avg, 31 RBI)
Kenton Robillard, Sophomore, 2B, All-West Region (.333 avg, 24 RBI)
Justin Simanek, Sophomore RHP (3.35, 5 wins, 56 IP)
Nate Packard, Sophomore, RHP
Top New Players Justin VanDeBrake, Freshman, INF/OF, West Valley HS (WA)
Brock Gagliardi, Freshman, C, Wilson HS (WA)
Jon Burghardt, Sophomore, 1B/C, Washington State University
Logan Gerling, Freshman, RHP, Gig Harbor HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “After losing 8 of our 12 sophomores last year to D1’s, we have some big holes to fill but have some quality pieces returning. Our entire infield returns minus 1B and will be a factor for us both offensively and defensively. The outfield is wide open after losing all 3 starters from a year ago and we have some depth and competition at the catching position. On the mound, Simanek and Packard return and will lead the rotation. There are some quality arms here but a couple injuries have left this group a little thin. If we want to make it to the NWAC tournament for the 5th time in the last 6 years, we are going to need some young arms to step up.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Mummert has the Titans competing every year for a championship and 2018 could be the same. The Northwest JC poll committee has them 5th in the NWAC. The former Tacoma assistant has 228 wins in his seven years as head coach. Collin Wolf has signed with Campbell University and Justin Simanek with Southwestern Louisiana University.