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10 Things to Know, 2017 Edition: Week of 5/1/2017

1.             1B/OF Joseph Zimmer was selected to the Northwest Conference first team following a 2017 season that saw him pace the NWC in batting average (.397) and on-base percentage (.489), while also leading Whitman in slugging (.596) and extra-base hits (15). The junior from Billings, MT ranked third in the conference with 58 hits and sixth with 87 total bases. Moreover, Zimmer didn’t just perform on the ballfield. He was one of the Blues’ two nominations for the CoSIDA Academic All-American team. Whitman finished their season 17-20 overall (11-13 in NWC play).

2.             Since taking over late in the season as the full-time second baseman at Brown, INF Cameron Deere has gone on a hitting spree. The freshman out of Harvard-Westlake HS had a monster series last weekend against Yale. Deere batted 8-for-14, drove in six runs, and belted his second homer. Deere finishes the year at an even .350 batting average and 15 RBI over 20 games played. Due to injury, Deere did not appear in a game until April 2nd and only began playing the field on April 18th. But the way he swung the bat while playing every day for the Bears down the stretch should make Sweets fans giddy with optimism. Brown finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 13-24 (6-14 in conference play).

3.             Speaking of consistent hitters, Richmond SS Vinny Capra picked up five more hits last weekend. Though George Mason swept the Spiders in three games, Capra drove in three runs and blasted his fourth round-tripper of the year. As of Monday, Capra is leading the Atlantic 10 with a .386 batting average. His five base hits over the weekend bumped his conference-best total to 61. Sweets fans will love this guy but don’t let yourself get too attached—if and when Capra is drafted, he might not be long for Walla Walla. It’s a scenario that looks more and more likely with each passing week.  

4.             A player who’s already been drafted is UC Santa Barbara RHP Chris Lincoln, who recorded his first collegiate win last Tuesday as the Gauchos topped Cal St. Bakersfield 6-4. Hurling 3.2 innings of relief, Lincoln allowed no runs and just two hits while striking out a pair. Four days later, on Sunday, the first-year from Moreno Valley, CA made his first college start. He lasted 3.2 innings, scattering four hits and surrendering two runs while punching out six against UC Riverside. Lincoln was selected in the 13th round (402nd overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in last summer’s amateur draft.

5.            Washington State 3B Shane Matheny had a big week. The junior slapped six hits, including a triple, drove in three and scored three runs himself. The Cougars dropped a midweek contest 7-3 to Gonzaga on Tuesday before taking two out of three from Utah over the weekend. Matheny has the team’s third-best batting average at .301.

6.             Matheny’s teammates OF J.J. Hancock and UTL Danny Sinatro each recorded four hits of their own last week. Notably, Sinatro went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the Gonzaga game and Hancock was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored during Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Utes.

7.            Ryan Johnston of UC Irvine continues to play both sides of the baseball. Johnston started two games in right field last week and picked up a hit in each of them. He batted cleanup in Tuesday's 8-7 win over San Diego. Then, he smoked his first collegiate double during Sunday’s 12-4 thrashing of No. 16 Cal St. Fullerton. In between, Johnston provided four innings of relief work, scattering three hits and allowing one run while walking two and striking out three on Friday. Although Johnston delivered a quality outing, he took the loss. All in all, the Anteaters split four games last week, dropping two out of three to Fullerton.

8.             San Francisco RHP Benji Post posted a solid outing out of the Dons’ bullpen on Saturday. The sophomore from Rolling Hills, CA allowed just one hit, no runs, and struck out a pair in 2.1 innings. San Francisco dropped the contest 11-5 to Brigham Young.

9.            The Sweets have put the finishing touches on their preliminary roster for the 2017 summer. RHP Darius Vines of Oxnard College will join the squad along with RHP Milo Mincin of Whitman College. Vines, who was selected in the 32nd round of last summer’s amateur draft by the Houston Astros, played his high school ball for Sweets’ assistant coach Raul Camacho at St. Bonaventure HS in California. He’s a two-way threat as a pitcher and an infielder in college but will be a pitcher-only in Walla Walla. Mincin, meanwhile, is a submarine pitcher who just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Blues. Check back to our official site later in the week for more details on our two new players!

10.             The aforementioned Darius Vines put the finishing touches on what’s been a remarkable freshman season with a complete game, 14-strikeout performance on Sunday against Moorpark in Oxnard’s season finale. Amazingly, it almost wasn’t enough to win the game. It took 15 innings for Oxnard to come away with a 2-1 victory. Vines ceded just four hits, two walks, and one run. He concludes his freshman season with otherworldly statistics: a 1.94 ERA in 12 starts with 61 hits, 26 walks, and 95 strikeouts in 83.2 innings. He also batted .277 while playing every day he didn’t pitch at either shortstop or third base. With that kind of ability, Vines has certainly raised his draft stock. He’s another guy that Sweets fans should be guarded against growing too attached to.