BASEBALL: Lefties announce 2019 schedule, sign returners and make roster additions

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Lefties announced their 2019 schedule which will include a game against a Cuban National team, and a list of new and returning players for the upcoming season.

The Lefties’ season will begin with two preseason exhibitions at Civic Field May 30-31 against the Northwest Honkers, members of the Pacific International League.

The Lefties will travel to Victoria, B.C. to play Team Cuba on Sunday, June 2, in a game that league rivals the Victoria HarbourCats helped set up.

West Coast League play will begin for all 12 teams on Opening Day, Tuesday, June 4. Port Angeles will visit the Portland Pickles to begin league play and will return to Port Angeles Friday, June 7 to begin the regular season home slate at Civic Field with a three-game series against the Bellingham Bells. The Lefties have a total of 35 home games between June 7 and Aug. 8.

The Lefties will play a new WCL opponent, the Ridgefield Raptors, who will play in the WCL’s South Division and have nonleague games scheduled against the Highline Bears, Everett Merchants and Redmond Dudes.

The Raptors addition allows the WCL to have a balanced divisional alignment, featuring two six-team divisions and potentially build new area rivalries with Portland and Cowlitz.

This summer’s WCL All-Star Game will be hosted by the Bend Elks on Tuesday, July 23 at Vince Genna Stadium.

New and returning players

The Lefties will feature three new players from the University of Houston, pitchers Tyler Bielamowicz and Braydon Hurdsman, and third baseman Brett Easu. They also signed two players from Fresno State, second baseman Nick Berry and utility player Jeff Jamison, and a player from Stetson University, outfielder Nicholas DiPonzio.

Several familiar names from the Lefties’ record-breaking offensive lineup have also agreed to return to Port Angeles next summer. Returning players include catcher Ronnie Rust (Oregon), infielder Rykker Tom (Utah), outfielder Brady Heid (Liberty U.) and Austin Earl (West Virginia). Pitcher Matt Dunaway is also coming back.

Also returning are shortstop Trevor Rosenberg (San Diego State), first baseman/outfielder Matthew Christian (Campbell), pitcher/outfielder Baxter Halligan (Northern Colorado), pitchers Tyler Tan (Skagit Valley) and Josh Thompson (Seattle) and utility player Matthew Boissoneault (Seattle). Pitcher Matt Dunaway (Saint Martin’s) is also coming back.

The Lefties, who broke the WCL record for home runs in a season in 2018, also stated that they will be announcing the signing of some big arms for the pitching staff.

”We had a good formula for offense last season which we plan to streamline. This offseason we are applying a different strategy with the pitching staff. We’ll definitely get better on the bump. Makes it easier when you return a bunch of guys that already put numbers up in the WCL,” said coach Darren Westergard.

“The returning players Darren and [hitting coach] Trevor [Podratz] has coming back are good players, have upside, enjoyed Port Angeles last summer and most importantly are upstanding people. I believe its an advantage to have a nucleus of returning players,” said owner Matt Acker.

“We’ve also gotten some quality players from programs we’ve had a tie with in the past. Players from SE Louisiana, Houston, Fresno State and Stetson have always been solid on teams I’ve been associated with. I’m excited on how it’s coming together, but we have more work to do. We are ready to make the jump to playoff contention,” Acker said.

Season Tickets are available at the Lefties store at 117 1/2 W 1st Street in Port Angeles or on their website at paleftiesbaseball.com.

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

Port Angeles Lefties pitcher Tyler Tan pitches against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July at Civic Field. Tan is returning to Port Angeles next year. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Lefties pitcher Tyler Tan pitches against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July at Civic Field. Tan is returning to Port Angeles next year. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Lefties catcher Ronnie Rust eyes home plate before scoring in the second inning against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July. Rust is returning to the Lefties next season.
                                (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Lefties catcher Ronnie Rust eyes home plate before scoring in the second inning against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July. Rust is returning to the Lefties next season. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

<strong>Jesse Major</strong>/Peninsula Daily News
                                Port Angeles Lefties pitcher Tyler Tan pitches against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July at Civic Field. Tan is returning to Port Angeles next year.

Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles Lefties pitcher Tyler Tan pitches against the Yakima Valley Pippins during a game in July at Civic Field. Tan is returning to Port Angeles next year.

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