TEAM TO WATCH
It appears there’s no reason Puyallup shouldn’t run through a re-structured 4A SPSL to its 10th consecutive state appearance (the longest active streak in 4A; Wenatchee is the next closest at four straight years). The Vikings return hard-throwing left-hander Michael Newstrom and plan to use Gonzaga-bound shortstop Michael Spellacy more on the mound in the absence of Christopher Micheles (who is now at UW). Spellacy threw a no-hitter against Emerald Ridge. But when at short, he combines with second baseman Gavin Grant for a talented middle infield.
4A NPSL Cascade — Tahoma
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4A NPSL Olympic — Federal Way
4A SPSL — Puyallup
3A Pierce County League — Bonney Lake
3A South Sound Conference — Gig Harbor
2A Evergreen — Tumwater
2A SPSL Mountain — Fife
2A SPSL Sound — River Ridge
TOP STORYLINES …
Gig Harbor returns a pair of aces — WSU signee Avery Jones and Minnesota-bound Patrick Fredrickson — and a pair of reigning first-team 4A Narrows selections in second baseman Cameron MacIntosh and outfielder R.J. Green. That has the Tides thinking of a 3A South Sound Conference title in their inaugural season in the new league.
Kentwood is coming off its fifth trip to the state title game since 2000 and return reigning league MVP Shane McGuire. But do the Conquerors have enough firepower around him this year to win the 4A NPSL Cascade title? Tahoma returns four first-team all-league selections in pitcher Andrew Osterman, catcher Conner Hargesheimer, shortstop Henry Murphy and outfielder Kyle Sherick.
Bonney Lake won the 3A SPSL title last year and returns three of its best hitters in Matthew Gretler, Robby Pogue and Tyler McClain. But the Panthers will have to go through Wilson, which added Bellarmine Prep transfer Brock Gagliardi, who batted .396 with three home runs last year and .411 as a sophomore. And look out for an improved Stadium entered the league from the 4A Narrows.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nothing gets by WSU signee defensively who played in Area Code Games last summer. Also hit .400 last year with 23 runs scored.
Gretler has been a first-team all-league pick in each of his first two years. Hit .419 with six home runs last season.
San Diego signee is the reigning 4A SPSL Northeast MVP; led Conks to 4A title game with .447 batting average (42 for 94).
He’s pitched 21 innings this year and has struck out 49 batters. WSU signee consistently hits 88 mph with fastball, but can get into 90s.
Gonzaga signee and first-team all-league pick batted .426 (23 for 54) with team-high seven doubles in heart of Eagles’ batting order last year.
BEST OF THE REST
4A NPSL Cascade – C Ben Woods, Kent-Meridian, sr.; 3B/RHP Caleb Jaime, Kentlake, sr.; SS Kody Darcy, Kentridge, jr.; OF Isaac Barrera, Kentridge, sr.; 3B/RHP Matt Franceschina; Kentwood, jr.; 3B Armond Swanson, Mt. Rainier, sr.; LHP Andrew Osterman, Tahoma, sr.; C Conner Hargesheimer, Tahoma, sr.
4A NPSL Olympic – LHP/OF Alex McBee, Auburn Mountainview, sr.; P/UTIL JV Magruder, Decatur, sr.; 1B Dawson Bakker, Federal Way, sr.; RHP Calvin Turchin, Federal Way, sr.; P Avery Cantino-Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, sr.; INF/P Nate Clow, Todd Beamer, fr.; RHP/3B Cameron Naden, Todd Beamer, sr.
4A SPSL – P/1B Sammy Abbott, Curtis, sr.; 3B DeShawn Johnson, Emerald Ridge, sr.; 1B Brandon Becker, Graham-Kapowsin, sr.; P Derek Downey, Olympia, sr.; SS Michael Spellacy, Puyallup, sr.; C Ryan Teague, Puyallup, sr.; C Alex Garcia, South Kitsap, jr.; OF Dusty Garcia, South Kitsap, jr.; C Jake Gehri, Sumner, jr.; OF Ben Wilson, Sumner, sr.
3A PCL – INF Robby Pogue, Bonney Lake, sr.; INF Solomon Moi, Mount Tahoma, so.; UTIL Michael Sallee, North Thurston, sr.; LHP/1B Tynan Preece, Spanaway Lake, sr.; Luke Norvell, Stadium, sr.; C Brock Gagliardi, Wilson, sr.; Alex Motonaga, Wilson, sr.;
3A SSC – P Jacob Loose, Capital, sr.; C Duncan Guererro, Central Kitsap, sr.; P Matthew Vessey, Central Kitsap, sr.; OF RJ Green, Gig Harbor, sr.; SS Chad Stevens, Gig Harbor; P Avery Jones, Gig Harbor; OF Jacob Lussier, Peninsula, sr.; INF Tyler Rogerson, Peninsula, jr.; OF Brandon Thompson, Yelm, sr.
2A Evergreen – OF/LHP Nate Hutson, Black Hills, sr.; INF Noah Andrews, Tumwater, sr.; OF Noah Sirkel, Tumwater, sr.; P/OF Tyson Guerrero, W.F. West, jr.
2A SPSL Mountain – C Kevin Nakamura, Fife, sr.; OF Wes Nixon, Fife, sr.; P/UTIL Donald Scott, Foss, sr.; P Ben Wheelock, Franklin Pierce, sr.; OF Ethan Bailey, Franklin Pierce, sr.; 3B Kyle Bastrom, Washington, sr.; OF Braden Fjeld, White River, sr.
2A SPSL Sound – P Colin Streich, Eatonville, sr.; INF A.J. Goetz, Eatonville, sr.; SS Ethan Hori, Orting, sr.; P/1B Zach Carter, River Ridge, sr.; UTIL Ryan Smith, Steilacoom, jr.
Small schools – Chad Adams, Cascade Christian, sr.; P Tyler Fox, Cascade Christian, sr.; INF Ashton Dulfer, Vashon Island, sr.; OF Mike McKay, Life Christian, sr.; P/SS Josiah Heimlich, Evergreen Lutheran, jr.; OF Justin Stewart, Mt. Rainier Lutheran, sr.
TJ Cotterill: email@example.com