Northwest colleges are beginning to buy the pitch about Puyallup baseball.
Not just from Puyallup High baseball, but the city and the schools in the surrounding 10-mile radius are starting to look like a pipeline for colleges in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
With pitcher Michael Newstrom signing his letter of intent to Washington State University, and infielder Michael Spellacy signing with Gonzaga University, it’s been four consecutive years that a Pac-12 program has come out for the talent that Vikings baseball boasts.
“It’s been a good run,” Puyallup coach Marc Wiese said after the signings inside the school’s library Wednesday afternoon.
It’s been a real good run for Puyallup baseball and Wiese as the program has become one of the top recruiting spots. Wiese has churned out one Division I-level talent after another.
“Probably the biggest joy I get out of baseball is being a part of helping them with the opportunity to play at the next level,” said Wiese, who’s entering his 21st season with Puyallup. “We love winning baseball here, but the biggest joy is seeing guys moving on.”
Meanwhile, Rogers senior Kolby Force signed on with Concordia University (Portland).
The Pac-12 schools in the Northwest have plenty of familiar faces. Former Puyallup Vikings’ Levi Jordan, Christopher Micheles and Austin Stump are at Washington, along with Emerald Ridge graduate Alex Meyers.
At Oregon State, one of their top pitchers is Luke Heimlich (Puyallup), who helped the Vikings win a state championship (2014), and one of his teamamates is Bonney Lake graduate Michael Gretler.
Logan Ice (Rogers), a former Oregon State catcher and Pac-12 defensive player of the year was drafted by the Cleveland Indians with the 72nd pick of the 2016 major league draft.
“It’s going to be so much fun as lot of guys from Puyallup are at UW,” Newstrom said. “I think it speaks to what Wiese preaches — just be prepared every day and make sure you get your stuff done. To join Luke Heimlich and Chris Micheles in Pac-12 schools is an amazing feeling and humbling.”
Spellacy, who transferred to Puyallup from Battle Ground, will join Rogers graduate Troy Johnston at Gonzaga.
“(Wiese) made me a better player,” said Spellacy. “The atmosphere of playing a night game at Heritage Field is second to none. I haven’t seen anything like it. The game under the lights is a great atmosphere.”
It’s that’s atmosphere in which Wiese and coaches Matt Whitehead (Rogers) and Larry Marshall (Emerald Ridge) have fostered so much talent.
“It’s pretty cool to turn on the Pac-12 Network or get a chance to go up to UW. Or travel down to Oregon State or WSU — just seeing them compete, win or lose,” Wiese said. “Just seeing them play the game the right way. That gives me joy.”
LETTER OF INTENT
Rocky Mountain College
Franklin Pierce University
Track and Field
Mason De La Cruz
New Mexico State
*Based on available information
TJ Cotterill: firstname.lastname@example.org