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Tuesday, Jun 22 , 6:35 PM

Where Are They Now Series: 2010 Walla Walla Sweets

By Brandon Monty | Jan 18, 2021

The first edition of the “where are they now?” series will focus on the inaugural, 2010 Walla Walla Sweets team.

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On Thursday, November 12, 2009, summer baseball had officially returned to Walla Walla.

In a packed gymnasium at Sharpstein Elementary School, the Walla Walla Sweets were announced as the newest addition to the West Coast League for the 2010 season.  Introduced to the crowd that day was the ownership group that included current Sweets manager Jeff Cirillo, the first general manager Zachary Fraser, and first manager of the Sweets, J.C. Biagi.  The Sweets would open at Historic Borleske Stadium on June 8, 2010 against the Wenatchee AppleSox.

In their first season in the West Coast League, the Sweets did not get off to a fast start under first year manager J.C. Biagi. The Sweets were 7-21 at the 28 game mark, but that did not stop the fans from showing support. They set the WCL record for attendance in their first season, drawing 40,461 fans during 28 home games in 2010, good for 23rd in the country in overall attendance. The Sweets ultimately finished the season 18-30. Despite missing out on the postseason, Walla Walla showed significant improvement in front of their record-selling crowd, posting an 11-9 record over their final 20 games.

Despite their record, the Sweets let the entire country know they were here to stay in their first season. On November 7, 2010, The  Sweets were recognized by the Summer Baseball Conference 2010 for their inaugural season. The club was awarded the “Best Marketing Campaign” for the 2010 launch and season at the SBC ’10 Awards Gala presented by Baseball America.

Pitchers

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
31 Brian Biagi R/R 6-2 215 Lewis Clark St.
16 A.J. Burke R/R 6-3 220 Linn-Benton CC
15 Zach Clanton R/R 6-0 180 Lewis Clark St.
34 Curtis Dupart R/R 6-3 210 Washington St.
22 Jake Haight R/R 6-1 200 Edmonds CC
17 Dennis Holt L/L 6-1 195 UCLA
32 Ronnie Johnson R/R
55 Jacob Kemmerer R/R 6-1 180 Edmonds CC
46 Chris Kerns R/R 6-0 195 College of Southern Idaho
27 Alex Levin R/R
23 Jordan McLaughlin R/R 6-1 185 Truman State University
19 Jacob Overbay R/R 6-3 205 Edmonds CC
11 Michael Richard R/L 6-0 205 Oklahoma City University
5 Ryan Richardson R/R 5-10 160 Walla Walla CC
30 Joey Wagman R/R 5-11 175 Cal Poly
26 Justin Windsor R/R 6-2 195 Walla Walla CC Junior
35 Kody Young R/R 6-5 215 Columbia Basin College

Catchers

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
3 Josh Daniel R/R 6-4 200 St. Johns (NY)
2 Elliot Stewart R/R 5-10 190 Cal Poly

Infielders

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
39 Deven Braden R/R 5-10 170 Chico St.
1 Denver Chavez R/R 5-8 165 Cal Poly
14 Danny Poplawski R/R 6-2 185 Georgetown
33 Karsten Strieby R/R 6-6 230 Arizona Western College
13 Adrian Willliams R/R 6-0 170 UCLA

Outfielders

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
9 Matt Comer R/R 5-11 175 Seattle University Bozeman, MT
12 Scott Gottschling R/R 6-0 185 UC Irvine
29 Andy Matthews R/R 6-4 220 Lewis Clark St.
18 Christian Ramirez R/R 5-9 165 UC Irvine
10 Kevin Williams L/R 5-11 175 UCLA

 

East Division W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
Wenatchee AppleSox 29 19 0.604 1L 5-5
Kelowna Falcons 22 26 0.458 7 2W 6-4
Moses Lake Pirates 21 27 0.438 8 1W 4-6
Walla Walla Sweets 18 30 0.375 11 1L 2-8
West Division W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
Corvallis Knights 31 17 0.646 1W 7-3
Bend Elks 27 21 0.563 4 1W 2-8
Bellingham Bells 25 22 0.532 5.5 6W 6-4
Kitsap BlueJackets 24 23 0.511 6.5 2L 3-7
Cowlitz Black Bears 18 30 0.375 13 1L 8-2
  • Four Sweets gained league recognition, with catcher Elliot Stewart (Cal Poly) being named to the second team All-WCL and pitcher Joey Wagman (Cal Poly), SS Kevin Kuntz (Kansas) and 1B/OF Dennis Holt (UCLA) being named to the honorable mention All-WCL team. GM Zachary Fraser was named the 2010 WCL Executive of the Year.
  • Stewart led the Sweets in most hitting categories, including average (.324), home runs (3), and RBI’s (24).

The Sweets signature moment of the year came during late July when the team rattled off seven victories in eight games.

Pitcher Zach Clanton remembers many other great memories of his time in Walla Walla.

“The mock radio broadcasts Jacob Kemmerer and I would be doing in the bullpen,” Clanton said. “Going up with Andrew Algretta (original Sweets broadcaster) mid game, knowing I wasn’t going to pitch and hopping on the broadcast with him for the rest of the game. The Walla Walla Dog guy (brats stuffed with sweet onions) throwing all of the left overs when he shut down into the bullpen for us to eat and then having to come in against Cowlitz to close a game on a full stomach.”

Moments like these set the stage for the culture of the Sweets organization for years to come.

The culture was just starting to be built,” Clanton said. “That first year I don’t think it had fully set in yet, but afterwards watching what Zachary Fraser, JC and the rest of the crew were doing was really fun. They became one of the best ran teams in the WCL. Team wise, we were definitely a bunch of fun guys to be around and made Walla Walla a great place to spend the summer.”

Clanton is one of 10 players from the inaugural Sweets roster that continued his baseball career after college. Many players had their career stretch to the minor leagues while others, like Clanton, pursued a career in coaching.

2010 Season Notables:

    • AJ Burke spent two season in the minor leagues, making it to Single-A.
    • Clanton:  “I have been in baseball ever since, after graduating from Lewis-Clark State I took the Pitching Coach job at Wenatchee Valley College and two years later I was promoted to Head Coach, where I still am today.”
    • Jacob Overbay, who led the team in wins as a pitcher, is the owner of MAC Training. This business specializes in training and developing athletes of all ages.
    • Ryan Richardson enjoyed a seven-year career in independent ball from 2013-2019. He posted a 14-9 record with a 2.81 ERA.
    • Joey Wagman, who posted a sub-3.00 ERA with the Sweets, has enjoyed a successful international baseball career. An All American in college and team captain for 2 years, Joey has played Minor League Baseball and Independent League Baseball, joining the Israel WBC Baseball Team in 2017. Joey was the first member of the WBC team to become a citizen of Israel leading the way for another 10 Jewish Americans to become citizens of Israel. This year, Joey helped lead the Israel Olympic Baseball Team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
    • Stewart has been an assistant coach at Cal Poly for several years and also runs his own baseball training service in Paso Robles, California.
    • Denver Chavez played one season of minor league baseball in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system.
    • Adrian Williams played three seasons in the minor leagues and made it up to Triple-A with the Nashville Sounds, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The next edition of this series features the Sweets first playoff appearance and the marquee moments that took place at Borleske Stadium in 2011. This story will be posted Monday, January 25.

 

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