Gonzaga and UCLA have been staple programs for the Sweets for more than seven seasons. 2011 WCL MVP Alex Stanford was a Zag, returning All-Star Nick Nyquist is a Zag, favorite closer Sean-Luke Brija (2013, 2015) was a Zag – and the Bruins count more than a dozen (including 9 former Sweets who were drafted from Westwood after their time in Walla Walla), including former Sweet Sean Bouchard (2014) (who is leading the Bruins with a .412 batting average) and pitcher Nick Scheidler (2016). The two programs squared off this weekend in Los Angeles, with the Bruins taking 2-of-3 from Gonzaga.
Everyone loves a walk-off. We love it even more when it is one of our guys that drives in the winning run. Count us in that category, as we celebrate Joe Zimmer driving in the winning run against Whitworth on Saturday in game one of their twin-bill. Game two was something special as well, as pitcher Eric Ma twirled a no-hitter.
Not baseball – but cool for our community. Not only did Whitman sweep Whitworth on the diamond, the men’s basketball team clinched the only undefeated record in NCAA basketball (all levels) with an 86-83 overtime victory against Whitworth and winning the Northwest Conference championship. To top off the dream night for Whitman Athletics – the women’s basketball team won the conference tournament as well, clinching a spot in the NCAA tournament. The connection to the Sweets: over the years, we've enjoyed having Whitman Basketball players as part of our summer stadium staff. Congratulations to both the mens and womens programs!
Back to baseball – Billy Dimlow is dominating right now for undefeated Emory. He has struck out 30 – 30! – in 22 innings (vs. 2 free passes), is 2-0 and opponents are hitting a meager .130 against him.
His 2016 teammate Jackson Weeg has also struck out 30 in 20 IP while opponents are hitting just .203 against him. A dominant duo in Atlanta!
UC-Irvine is known for a brutal non-conference schedule and this year is no different. Minnesota (2016 Big Ten Champs), San Diego State, Notre Dame, Oregon, San Diego and Tennessee is as tough as they come. They emerged bruised but battle-tested for the upcoming Big West season. 2015 Sweet Parker Coss is hitting .304 to start the year, while Mikey Duarte (2014) is back in the lineup and working to help lead the ‘Eaters to success over the long haul of the season.
The Richmond Spiders are battling early as well – with a 3-4 record against programs like Coastal Carolina (who, you know, won the College World Series last year). Vinny Capra is looking like a nice veteran find for Frank Mutz and staff, as the junior transfer is hitting .381 with a .911 OPS. He is getting on base more than 50% of the time.
Benji Post (USF Dons) picked up the win in game one of the series vs. Hawaii this past weekend. Unfortunately for the green and gold, the Rainbows took the series.
2015-16 Sweet Willie MacIver seems to have established himself as a regular in the UW Huskies lineup. An All-Star and first-team All-WCL performer last season, he will be a special player looking to lead the Huskies back to the NCAA tournament.