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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ian Hamilton worth the wait for Cougars’ baseball

PULLMAN – Ian Hamilton’s coaches and teammates at Vancouver’s Skyview High were surely shocked when he returned from a UCL tear and ensuing platelet-rich plasma treatment throwing almost 10-miles-per-hour faster. “My junior year I was probably throwing low-80s,” Hamilton said. “Actually, my first time back I threw 90-92.” But perhaps they weren’t as astounded as the coaches at Oregon State. Hamilton had committed to the Beavers as a junior, but was told there was no longer a spot for him after his velocity plummeted while he tried to pitch through the then-undiagnosed injury. “I’m pretty sure they just saw me throwing about 40-to-50 miles per hour slower (an exaggeration) and called me and said, ‘you’ll have to find a new school.’ They said it was grades but it was injury,” said Hamilton, now a sophomore at Washington State. OSU’s loss has been WSU pitching coach Gregg Swenson’s gain. His young pupil was a freshman All-American last season while breaking the school’s single-season record with 15 saves. This year he’s added 11 more, already breaking the all-time record at WSU. Hamilton has a 2.08 ERA for the Cougars, and has struck out 28 batters in 301/3 innings while holding opponents to a .214 batting average. The Cougars had tracked Hamilton since his freshman year of high school and were willing to let him do just about whatever he wanted in Pullman. “I saw him probably when he was here for a tournament his sophomore year he was probably about 83-84, but he was also playing catcher or centerfield,” Swenson said. “And I told (head coach Donnie Marbut) at the time, ‘He’s talented enough to play one of those three spots. I don’t know which one yet but time will tell.’” Swenson says he then stopped recruiting Hamilton once he decided to attend OSU because of a gentlemen’s agreement among coaches to not recruit committed players, although the coach laments that not every program abides by this. But when former Mariners scout, and current WSU hitting coach, Joe Ross called to say that Hamilton was back on the market and pitching better than ever, the WSU coaching staff had no problems recruiting a player that had just signed a Letter of Intent to play at Longview Community College. “Those coaches probably get disappointed at the time because you’d love to have him. But, as a former junior college coach, our job was to get kids to the next level,” Swenson said. “So, whether it happens before they show up or after they show up, your job as a JC coach is to get guys to the Division I or professional level.” WSU was able to convince Hamilton to forego two years of junior college ball for four years in the Pac-12. Of course, Hamilton’s fastball routinely hits the mid-90s now, and both player and his position coach admit he’ll probably only be around for three seasons before heading to the pros.
WSU’s Ryan Walker was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after striking out 12 batters over 112/3 innings. A WSU pitcher has now claimed the honor in three of the past six weeks. Joe Pistorese captured the other two. … Gonzaga’s Brandon Bailey was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week after shutting out No. 2 UCLA for seven innings in GU’s 6-1 win on May 2.