A wealth of talented pitching that made last year special has departed. But coaches still look to the same teams – defending champion University, runner-up Mead and regional qualifier Central Valley – as those to beat. This year’s 3A shift benefits Rogers and Shadle Park for the postseason. They figure to join fellow 3A Mt. Spokane in the league mix.
This is always the place coaches want to start and at U-Hi, Rogers and Mt. Spokane, they have good ones. Multiyear veterans Billy Moon (U-Hi) and Jake Partridge (Rogers) were All-GSL first-team selections and Nic Fowler (Mt. Spokane) was a second-team choice after being named to the first team the year before. … Mead third-year starter Chris Allen is also back and nearly every team returns staff members, including CV, which might have the best depth.
While last year’s All-GSL team was senior-laden, U-Hi’s Titans bring back two middle infielder choices in Michael Holmes and shortstop Jacob Olsufka. Holmes will be relegated to hitting because of a labrum injury. … Mead’s Seth Peterson is a returning first-team All-GSL outfielder and Mt. Spokane’s Nate Blackham was on the second team. There is a wealth of catching experience, including U-Hi’s Craig Keeton, a second-team choice. … Other players to watch are Mead’s Grant Fink and Jake Schrader, Rogers’ Jacob Campbell, East Valley’s Aaron Awbery and Mt. Spokane’s Tyler Jackson. … CV is junior-oriented but experienced with seven returning starters. David Borgman moves to the outfield. The rest of the infield is intact. … Seven starters also return at Lewis and Clark, including third-year starter Sage Poland.
Holmes is not the only injured veteran. CV pitcher J.T. Beach fractured a vertebra, but seven others can throw, including Joe Arlt. … New Ferris coach Jim Sharkey brings back third-year starters Aaron Roberts and CJ Haney among six returnees. … Look for balance in league with no team clearly a cut above. But U-Hi, while graduating those seniors, still remains favored. “I don’t think our pitching is as deep,” U-Hi coach Scott Sutherland said. “But we’re every bit as athletic and I think we’re faster overall.”