WCCBL -- with Eight Teams in Washington, Oregon and Canada -- Kicks Off Second Season June 15; League Adds Moses Lake Franchise, All-Star Game in '06
Jun 7, 2006
19 Players from Inaugural Season Drafted by MLB Teams; Underlines Ability to Draw Nation's Top Talent
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 7, 2006) -- In its inaugural season, the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League (WCCBL) saw nearly 63,000 fans from Washington, Oregon and Canada in seven Pacific Northwest cities come out to support the country's best collegiate players as they represented their new adoptive summer hometowns.
Starting June 15, the WCCBL kicks off its second season, featuring a new franchise -- Moses Lake -- and a new incentive for its top players: the opportunity to showcase their talent in the league's first-ever all-star game.
Moses Lake joins five other squads from the state of Washington (Bellingham, Kitsap, Spokane and Wenatchee), as well as teams from Oregon (Aloha, Bend) and Canada (Kelowna) in the WCCBL, considered the top West Coast wood-bat collegiate league in the U.S.
Other noted wood-bat leagues nationwide: Cape Cod, Texas Collegiate, Northwoods, Coastal Plain and Alaska.
The WCCBL All-Star Game will be held July 11 in Wenatchee, Wash., in part due to the AppleSox being the defending champions -- and to the team having the league's best attendance in 2005, averaging nearly 1,000 fans a game.
WCCBL's 19 MLB Draftees; Returning, Incoming Star Players (Newsworthy Storylines)
Speaking to its top-level talent, league commissioner Jim Dietz mentioned that 19 players from the WCCBL's first season were selected in either last year's or this year's Major League Baseball draft. Those included two pre-draft signings: last year's league MVP, Wenatchee AppleSox first baseman, Steve Marquardt (Texas Rangers), and last year's WCCBL Pitcher of the Year, Aloha Knights right-hander, Tommy Hanson (Atlanta Braves).
Dietz noted, however, that two 2005 all-league first teamers are returning: pitchers Zach Bird of the Aloha Knights (junior, Washington State) and DJ Lidyard of the Bellingham Bells (sophomore, Lower Columbia College). Lidyard has committed to No. 8-ranked Oregon State for 2007.
Also returning: seven WCCBL 2005 all-league second teamers, including Wenatchee AppleSox outfielder Jesse Roehl (junior, Lewis-Clark State College) -- and two Kitsap BlueJackets, pitcher Kyle Cline (junior, Missouri Valley College) and second baseman Jamie Nilsen (sophomore, Central Washington University).
The WCCBL will have two notable new faces in 2006 -- with two newsworthy stories in regard to their new teams:
-- Hometown hero returns the conqueror (and to conquer): Washington State's Jared Prince, a first-team All-Pac-10 P/OF and a NCAA freshman player of the year candidate.
Prince led the Cougars in hitting with a .401 batting average, home runs with nine and RBI with 58. On the mound, he was the Cougs ace and went 6-2 over 15 appearances, 12 starts and 59.2 innings pitched and posted a 4.53 ERA.
Prince -- who was a two-sport all-state athlete at North Kitsap High School -- will play for Aloha. He returns to Kitsap to face his hometown WCCBL team, the BlueJackets, in a three-game series July 17-19.
-- Brothers in arms (and bats): Arizona State sophomore third baseman Eric Sogard, joining the Bend Elks.
Like Prince, Sogard was also named to the first-team All-Pac-10 team -- while also being named a third-team NCAA All-American. Sogard hit .366 with 13 doubles, five triples, nine homeruns and 49 RBI for the Sun Devils in 2006.
He joins his brother Alex -- a redshirt freshman pitcher at Oregon State -- who will also play with the Elks.
Other WCCBL Team-by-Team Notables
Aloha: Zach Borba of UNLV. Borba earned a Rawlings WCCBL Gold Glove for his centerfield play last summer for Aloha. The junior was selected in the 24th round of the 2005 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. He was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for Feb. 21-27, 2006. Borba hit .324 over 173 at bats with 10 doubles, two triples, two homeruns, 25 RBI and nine stolen bases.
Bellingham: Owen Williams of NCAA DII power Central Missouri State University. The junior southpaw went 7-3 this past spring over 14 appearances, 13 starts and 62.1 innings pitched and posted a 3.32 ERA while walking only 12 and striking out 75. Williams played two years of JC ball at Edmonds CC before heading to CMSU. Williams was drafted by Pittsburgh out of Edmonds CC. The lefty last pitched for the Bells in 2003.
Bend: Jeff Breedlove of Oklahoma State. Breedlove led the Cowboys in appearances with 24 and ERA at 3.32. He went 2-1 and pitched 43.1 innings out of the bullpen. Grant Desme of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The sophomore centerfielder was named All-Big West honorable mention and hit .287 with 12 doubles, eight homeruns and 33 RBI (with eight stolen bases) for the Mustangs. Danny Cox of University of Washington. Cox started 52 games in the infield for the Huskies as a freshman and hit .258 over 159 at bats with 27 runs scored, six doubles and six stolen bases. These four players represent three power conferences in the Pac-10, Big 12 and Big West.
Kelowna: Brian Gausman of New Mexico State University. Brian led the Aggies of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in wins with four, was second on the team in appearances with 19 and tied for the team lead in saves with two. The junior went 4-6 and posted the team's second lowest ERA at 6.38 in NMSU's extremely hitter-friendly park. The right-hander led the Aggies in appearances in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Kitsap: Danny Meier of University of Portland. Meier is the top returning hitter for the Portland Pilots. The sophomore third baseman led the team in doubles with 15, tied for the team lead in homeruns with nine and was second on the team in hitting with a .305 batting average. Bradley Boyer of University of Washington. Boyer started 37 games in the middle infield as a freshman for the Huskies and hit .254 over 154 at bats with 20 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, two homeruns and 12 RBI.
Moses Lake: Brett Munster of the University of California, Berkeley. Munster, a junior, started 43 games in the infield for the Bears, hitting .268 with 17 runs scored, seven doubles, three homeruns and 18 RBI. Boo Christenson of Western Oregon University. Christenson, a junior outfielder, was named NCAA DII All-Western Region. Boo led the Wolves in hitting with a .427 batting average.
Spokane: Darin Holcomb of Gonzaga University. The slick-fielding sophomore third baseman hit .338, led GU in RBI with 57 and was named Second-Team All-West Coast Conference. Holcomb played with Aloha last summer and earned second-team All-WCCBL honors.
Wenatchee: Tommy Milone of USC. The Trojans freshman hurler went 7-4 over 19 appearances, 16 starts and 98.1 innings pitched and posted a respectable 4.94 ERA. John Dunn of USC. The Trojans' freshman workhorse reliever led 'SC in appearances with 40 and was second in ERA at 4.00. Ryan Wiegand of Gonzaga University. The slugging left-handed hitting freshman first baseman was named Second-Team All-West Coast Conference. He hit .330 with 15 doubles and 45 RBI for the Bulldogs.