2012 Baseball Preview

April 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Written by Tyler Brett

 

Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A

 

Richland Bombers
2011 Record: 10-2 (2nd place)
2012 Outlook: The Bombers will return seven players from their varsity squad last season. The offense will be led by seniors Corey Morris, who hit .480 last year with 17 RBI and five stolen bases, and Dylan Klute, who batted .375 in 2011. They will be asked to fill the void left by graduate Zach Rapacz, who hit .400 with five home runs and 19 RBIs, and Kenton Brunson, who hit .388 with three HRs and 18 RBIs. Pitching will be anchored by Junior Mason Hilty, who posted a 3-1 record last season as a sophomore with a 3.86 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. Expect the experience of last year’s run at state to propel the Bombers to a league title this season.

 

Davis Pirates
2011 Record: 6-6 (3rd place)
2012 Outlook: Davis will return nine players from their varsity team last season, including four players who were sophomores in 2011. The Pirates will look to replace the speed and hitting of graduate Jackson Marquis, who hit .482 last year and lead the CBBN 4A with nine stolen bases. There should not be too much of a drop off, however, as Davis returns three players who hit better than .400 last season, in seniors Damon Lybeck (.467) and Jens Jensen (.433), and junior Carlos Vijjaro (.410). The pitching staff will be missing two major contributors from last season in Jason Klingle, who went 3-0 with a league-leading 1.17 ERA in 2011, and Avery Mottet, who went 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA. The staff this season will be anchored by junior Trenton Dupree, who pitched 25 innings last season for a 4-0 record and a 3.50 ERA. The experience gained from a young 2011 Pirate team will help Davis improve on last season’s 6-6 record and make a push for the league title.

 

Walla Walla Blue Devils
2011 Record: 11-1 (1st place)
2012 Outlook: The Blue Devils are returning only six players from their 2011 league title winning squad, losing 11 varsity players to graduation. They lose last year’s league leader in batting average, Kevin Toon (.596), RBIs in Matt Watson (28), and wins and strikeouts in Drew Christina (8-0, 67). Watson acted as a Mr. Everything for Walla Walla last season, hitting .386 and stealing five bases to go along with his 28 RBIs. On top of that, he was second on the team in wins, going 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA while striking out 35 batters in 34 innings. Christina, meanwhile, leaves a big hole in the Devils’ rotation, as he was their certifiable ace in 2011. While going 8-0 and striking out 67 hitters, he posted a 1.50 ERA during 42 innings of work. The offense will look to senior Taylor Lemke, who hit .360 last season with two home runs. Meanwhile, the pitching rotation will hope someone can step into the ace role Christina vacated. Any time you lose more than 60 percent of your roster to graduation, you can expect a bit of a step back, but when they were as good as Walla Walla’s 2011 senior class, it’s almost a guarantee. It would be shocking if the Blue Devils were able to repeat last season’s league title, but they won’t slip too far.

 

Chiawana Riverhawks
2011 Record: 4-8 (5th place)
2012 Outlook: Chiawana was the youngest team in the league last season, returning 13 players from their varsity squad of 2011. They lose only three players to graduation, which will help the team maintain continuity. While the Riverhawks did not produce any players in the top tier of any statistical categories, the experience this young team gained in 2011 should help them come out ahead of the pack that finished in a three-way tie for fourth place last season at 4-8 and move closer towards the .500 mark. This team is still a few seasons away from making a legitimate run at the league title.

 

Wenatchee Panthers
2011 Record: 4-8 (4th place)
2012 Outlook: Wenatchee has struggled to break out of the middle of the pack in the CBBN 4A, regularly finishing with three to six wins over the last several years. Last season, the Panthers continued the trend, finishing at the head of a 4-8 logjam for fourth place. The Panthers were without a star presence last season and will likely find themselves in the same boat this year. Middle of the pack seems to be this team’s ceiling and will more than likely be where they finish again in 2012.

 

Eisenhower Cadets
2011 Record: 3-9 (7th place)
2012 Outlook: The Cadets finished last in the CBBN 4A division last season, and graduated seven members of last year’s varsity squad. Five players return this year, including two sophomores who got varsity experience last season as freshmen. While the team failed to win as many games as they would have liked, there is something to be said for experience, even terrible experience. Expect the young Eisenhower team to improve on their win total from last season, but not by enough to rise too far out of the cellar of the division.

 

Moses Lake Chiefs
2011 Record: 4-8 (6th place)
2012 Outlook: The Chiefs will be the team hit hardest by graduation, losing 14 players from last season’s varsity squad. Moses Lake will look to senior Bryton Redal, the only senior on this year’s team to be listed on the varsity roster last year, to lead the offense and improve on his .385 batting average and five stolen bases in 2011. He will try and replace the lost offense of Cameron Alverado, who hit .489 last season and stole seven bases, and Tony Hernandez, who hit .368. The pitching rotation will also need to retool and find a replacement for Mitch Yada, who finished last season with a 1.79 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 43 innings. The void left on the roster will be a setback to a team that struggled in 2011, and the Chiefs will slide into the cellar for 2012.

 

 

Columbia Basin Big Nine 3A

 

Kennewick Lions
2011 Record: 11-3 (2nd place)
2012 Outlook: The Lions boasted the youngest team in the CBBN 3A and returns 11 players from last year’s squad. Kennewick brings back five hitters who batted over .400 to replace the outgoing offense of Drew Loftus, who hit .477 last season and stole six bases. Trek Stemp (.574), Sam Guin (.550), Jarod Gonzales (.487), and Troy Fulton (.429) will lead the senior class in the 2012 season along with sophomore JJ Hancock, who batted .478 in 2011. The pitching staff will look to replace Frank Murillo, who pitched to a 4-1 record last year with a 2.45 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 20 innings, by asking for increased production from senior Stetson Plew, who threw a 2.62 ERA in 16 innings last season. The Lions will ride the experience of last season’s success to take the next step as the class of 2012 leads the team in its try for a league title.

 

Southridge Suns
2011 Record: 13-1 (1st place)
2012 Outlook: The Suns rode the Player of the Year, Ty Jackson, to a CBBN 3A league title last season. Jackson led the Suns with a .545 batting average with three home runs, 26 RBIs, and four stolen bases while also pitching 23 1/3 innings for Southridge, going 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 27 strikeouts. His presence will be missed, but Southridge does return nine players off last season’s varsity roster. Senior Matt Mendenhall, who hit .519 with five home runs and 26 RBIs, will try and replace the production of Jackson, along with AJ Henderson, who hit .543 with four stolen bases, and Bryce Jackson, who hit .478 with 21 RBIs. The pitching staff will look to junior Connor O’Neil to lead them this season and build off his 19 2/3 innings last season where he struck out 19 batters and posted a 1.78 ERA. The Suns will miss the outstanding senior season of Jackson, and they will slip slightly back, falling just short of the league championship.

 

Hanford Falcons
2011 Record: 8-6 (4th place)
2012 Outlook: The Falcons graduate nine players from their 2011 varsity roster, bringing nine back for this season. Senior AJ Hoskins, who hit .547 with three home runs and 22 RBIs with six stolen bases, will step into the leadership role on the offense left by Blake Eastman, who hit .477 his senior year. In the pitching rotation, senior Colin Serkowski, who recorded three wins last season, will be asked to step in to replace the production of Dan Scheibe, who recorded a 3.44 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings pitched. The Falcons will use the experienced and productive returning varsity players to improve on their 2011 win total making a failed push for the league title.

 

Kamiakin Braves
2011 Record: 10-4 (3rd place)
2012 Outlook: The Braves will bring just five players back from last year’s varsity squad, losing 10 players to graduation. Senior Drew Oord, coming off a 2011 season where he hit .489 with 26 RBIs, will be turned to as the lead to replace the production gone with Blake Raekes, who hit .531 with 25 RBIs and four stolen bases, Justin Berneski, .523 with 18 RBIs, Joey Jansen, .517 and nine stolen bases, and AJ Griffiths, who hit .404 in 2011. In the pitching rotation, the Braves will look for a replacement for Garrett Anderson and his 6-0, 1.86 ERA, and 39 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings during the 2011 season. First in line will be junior Logan Jackson who threw 17 strikeouts in 16 innings with a 1.75 ERA last season. The missing production from the 2011 senior class will be a big hurdle for the Braves to overcome and the team will fall back a bit from their 10-win 2011 season.

 

West Valley Rams
2011 Record: 5-9 (6th place)
2012 Outlook: The Rams will lose 10 seniors from last season’s team, returning just six players. West Valley will be without their leading offensive producer from last season, Steven Wager, who hit .400 with three home runs. Wager also contributed in the pitching department, going 3-2 last season with a 2.56 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. The team will search for someone on this year’s squad to fill the void left by Wager. The Rams will struggle to recoup the lost production and will stay in the lower tier of the standings in 2012.

 

Eastmont Wildcats
2011 Record: 7-7 (5th place)
2012 Outlook: Eastmont will only return four players from last year’s varsity squad, losing 12 players to graduation. The Wildcats will struggle to replace the outgoing production at the plate from Tygar Garces, who hit .457 last season, and Jay Seabeck, who hit .406 with three home runs. Their pitching staff will also struggle without Ian Sagdal who went 4-1 last season for Eastmont, posting a 2.46 ERA. It remains to be seen who will step up into the lineup and offset the loss of those players, but Eastmont will have to find out quickly, or risk falling further off of their 2011 win total.

 

Pasco Bulldogs
2011 Record: 2-12 (7th place)
2012 Outlook: The Bulldogs had a rough 2011 season, finishing in second-to-last place in the division. The outlook does not appear any brighter this season, as Pasco will struggle to make up the gap between them and the rest of the CBBN 3A ahead of them. I would not expect too much noise from this squad this season, as they need another few seasons of solid rebuilding in order to become a contender again in the league.

 

Sunnyside Grizzlies
2011 Record: 0-14
2012 Outlook: The team that failed to win a game in 2011 will not have a terribly bright outlook in 2012. Sunnyside has proven themselves to be far behind the rest of the league in terms of their ability to win games, and will need to make some drastic improvements to make a move out of the cellar, but it won’t happen this season and the Grizzlies will spend another season at the bottom of the standings. 


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