PREP SPORTS: Team-by-team baseball preview

Peninsula Daily News

Quilcene Rangers

■   Head coach: Forrest Thomson, third year.

■   Last year: 11-6; third at Class 1B state tournament.

■   Returning starters: Jacob Pleines, sr.; Josh King, sr.; J.J. Smith, sr.; Nate Weller, soph.; Eli Harrison, soph.; Dillon McEdwards; A.J. Prater, jr.

■   Top newcomers: Triston Williams, jr.; Colton Pol, jr.

■   Player to watch: Jacob Pleines. The reigning All-Peninsula MVP and 1B Sea-Tac League MVP, a left-hander, is one of the top pitchers in Quilcene history. He also is valuable at the plate and on the base paths.

■   Outlook: Pitching is again a strength. Thomson looks for the Rangers to be a better hitting team this year.

Quilcene only lost a few players from last year’s team that was a game short of the 1B state championship game.

“With what we have returning, and given our third place finish at state last year, we expect to contend for a state championship this season,” Thomson said.

“We have a chance of obtaining our goal if we shore up the defense and everyone improves their hitting.”

Port Angeles Roughriders

■   Head coach: Vic Reykdal, first year.

■   Last year: 10-9; made district tournament.

■   This year so far: 0-3

■   Returning starters: Larsson Chapman, sr.; Ryan Mudd, sr.; Ricky Crawford, jr.; Logan Ciaciuch, jr.; Jace Bohman, so.

■   Top newcomers: Jordan Shepherd, sr.; Zac Withrow, sr.; Austin Roberson, sr.; Curan Bradley, so.

■   Player to watch: Jordan Shepherd. The southpaw returns to Port Angeles after playing in Nevada, where he earned all-state honors. Shepherd has signed to play at Olympic College next season.

■   Outlook: Behind Shepherd, the pitching staff is young, so hitting and defense will be crucial to the Roughriders this season.

The entire roster is short on varsity experience, but Reykdal said it is a “very coachable group that has a good knowledge of the game of baseball. Lots of talent that has created a very competitive environment.

“I believe we can finish in the top four and make the playoffs.”

Sequim Wolves

■   Head coach: Dave Ditlefsen, ninth year.

■   Last year: 7-11 overall, 5-11 Olympic League.

■   This year so far: 5-1 overall, 3-1 Olympic League.

■   Returning starters: Nick Johnston, sr.; Brett Wright, sr.; Tanner Rhodefer, jr.; Nigel Christian, so.

■   Top newcomers: Dylan Lott, fr.; Evan Hurn, so.; Daniel Harker, so.; Chris Whitaker, so.

■   Players to watch: Nick Johnston and Brett Wright. The 2013 All-Peninsula honorees are surrounded by talented, but young players.

■   Outlook: The Wolves came into the season knowing their pitching staff was deep.

Their hitting was a question mark that has been an exclamation point in the first few weeks of the season, which has positioned the young team near the top of the Olympic League standings.

Rainouts have had a minimal impact so far, so Sequim has less makeup games than most of the league, which should provide them more rest between games.

“Hoping to compete for a top for spot in league and a birth to the district tournament,” Ditlefsen said.

Chimacum Cowboys

■   Head coach: Jim Dunn, fourth year.

■   Last year: 5-12 overall, 5-10 Nisqually League.

■   This year so far: 0-4.

■   Returning starters: Drew Yackulic, jr.; John Carthum, jr., Colton Shaw, jr.; Alex Morris, sr.; Myles Hundley, jr.

■   Top newcomers: Lane Dotson, fr.; Henry Lovekamp.

■   Player to watch: Drew Yackulic. The center fielder was named All-Peninsula and All-Nisqually League First Team as a sophomore in 2013.

■   Outlook: The Cowboys were on the losing end of a bunch of close games last year.

“We have experience but lack leadership,” Dunn said. “We lost eight one-runs games last year — need to be able to finish games.”

Chimacum also is low on numbers with only 14 players, as starters from 2013 opted to instead play golf or track and field this year.

Forks Spartans

■   Head coach: Wayne Damon, second year.

■   Last year: 3-17

■   This year so far: 2-3 overall, 0-3 Evergreen 1A League.

■   Returning starters: Brett Pederson, sr.; Reece Hagen, sr.; Reis Lawson, sr.; Javier Contreras, jr.; Reece Moody, so.

■   Top newcomers: Nate Gimlin, sr.

■   Player to watch: Javier Contreras. Only returning starting pitcher from last year will be relied on heavily.

■   Outlook: The Spartans return a fair amount of leadership and defense, but will need quality pitching and hitting and for the freshmen to start producing immediately.

“Looking forward to a great season. I have a great group of hard working players that work to get better everyday,” Damon said.

“With the work these guys put in I expect big things.”

Last modified: April 05. 2014 5:37PM
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