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Cowlitz @ Walla Walla

Friday, Jun 4 , 6:35 PM

Next Game

Cowlitz @Walla Walla

Friday, Jun 4 , 6:35 PM

Where Are They Now Series? 2014 Edition

Two Playoff Births, One Division Title Wrap Up the first Five Years of Sweets Baseball

By Brandon Monty | Mar 10, 2021

The next edition of the “Where Are They Now Series” examines the 2014 Walla Walla Sweets, the fifth team in the history of Walla Walla baseball.

After a promising campaign in 2013 that brought home the second division title in four seasons, the Sweets were unable to replicate that success in 2014. Walla Walla was unable to overcome a tough start to the season, but still managed to finish the year over .500 at 28-26. The Sweets found their rhythm toward the end of the year, winning seven of their final nine games.

The Sweets offense featured several star players across the lineup. The lineup was highlighted by Michael Duarte and Andrew Mendenhall. Both players were in the top-10 in the West Coast League in batting average. Duarte led the way with a .353 average and struck out just 17 times in 136 at-bats. Mendenhall was one of the most feared power hitters in the WCL. The Washington native hit .349 and led the team in runs scored (39), home runs (8), RBI’s (39), doubles (17), stolen bases (4) and hits (73. The offense hit 44 home runs as a team and had nine different players hit .270 or greater.

Pitchers

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
24 Garrett Barker L/L 6-3 185 California Los Angeles (U of) Freshman Laguna Hills, CA
3 A.J. Carkner R/R 6-2 165 Walla Walla CC Ellensburg, WA
37 Cody Carroll R/R 6-2 185 Treasure Valley CC Sophomore Elliston, MT
26 Alex Fisher R/R 6-2 200 Portland (U of) Sophomore Portland, OR
36 Chris Kerwood R/R 6-4 210 Tacoma CC Sophomore Maple Valley, WA
21 Matt Walker R/R 6-4 185 Freshman Fresno, CA
0 Barker R/R

Catchers

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
14 Renae Martinez R/R 6-1 185 California Irvine (U of) Sophomore San Pedro, CA

Infielders

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
20 Clayten Ayres R/R 6-2 200 Walla Walla CC Kennewick, WA
29 Sean Bouchard R/R 6-3 200 California Los Angeles (U of) Freshman San Diego, CA
6 Michael Duarte R/R 5-11 165 California Irvine (U of) Junior Redondo Beach, CA
25 Jarod Gonzales L/R 5-11 190 Walla Walla CC Sophomore Kennewick, WA

Outfielders

# Player B/T Ht Wt College Class Hometown Draft Status Player Eligibility
19 Ryan Littlefield R/R 6-3 220 Portland (U of) Sophomore Longview, WA
9 Andrew Mendenhall R/R 6-3 200 Lewis-Clark St Col Junior Kennewick, WA
15 Kevin Morgan L/R 5-11 195 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Freshman Corona, CA
13 Parker Osborne R/R 6-1 200 Southern Illinois U Carbondale Junior Chandler, AZ
44 Mike Paulson L/L 6-0 195 New Mexico St U Junior Sammamish, WA

Staff

# Name
7 J.C. Biagi Manager
12 Rob Holtzinger Assistant Coach
17 Cesar Lopez Assistant Coach
57 Mark Michaud Pitching Coach

Season: Summer 2014

East Division W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
Yakima Valley Pippins 35 19 0.648 2W 9-1
Wenatchee AppleSox 30 24 0.556 5 2L 7-3
Walla Walla Sweets 28 26 0.519 7 3W 7-3
Kelowna Falcons 14 39 0.264 20.5 12L 0-10
South Division W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
Corvallis Knights 35 19 0.648 1L 6-4
Bend Elks 31 23 0.574 4 1L 5-5
Medford Rogues 26 28 0.481 9 1W 4-6
Klamath Falls Gems 15 39 0.278 20 1W 4-6
West Division W L PCT GB STREAK LAST 10
Bellingham Bells 37 17 0.685 1W 5-5
Victoria HarbourCats 25 29 0.463 12 1W 5-5
Cowlitz Black Bears 24 30 0.444 13 1L 4-6
Kitsap BlueJackets 23 30 0.434 13.5 1L 3-7

The Sweets had plenty of memorable moments throughout the 2014 season. The most memorable of those moments came early in the season in a game against Kitsap. As a Kitsap player was attempting to steal third on a hit-and-run, the backswing of the batter hit the catcher and forced him to make an errant throw. The umpire, however, did not rule the play batter’s interference and the runner came home to score.  The crowd and caching staff of Walla Walla erupted, causing manager J.C. Biagi to emerge from the dugout and argue with the umpire.

As Biagi went back to the dugout, pitching coach Mark Michaud yelled “Get the call right ump!” to the home plate umpire. After an ensuing argument, Michaud was ejected.

Later in the game, Duarte was hit in the back by a pitch, was not rewarded first base. The home plate umpire felt Duarte did not make an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. Biagi was then ejected for arguing this claim by the umpire, with the Walla Walla crowd erupting in cheer to support the claims of the coaching staff.

After five seasons that included two playoff appearances and a trip to the WCL Championship Series, Biagi stepped down at the end of the season. Following the 2014 campaign, the Sweets hired former MLB pitcher Frank Mutz as the new manager, beginning a new era of Walla Walla baseball.

Where are they now?

Garrett Barker is currently a Broker Account Executive at UnitedHealth Group in California.

Sean Bouchard is currently in Triple-A with the Albuquerque Isotopes, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

Michael Duarte played two seasons of minor league baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Ryan Littlefield was named the skipper of R.A. Long High School baseball in September of 2020.

Andrew Mendenhall was selected to multiple All-WCL teams and All-Star games from 2011 to 2013.

Parker Osborne was recently an assistant coach at UT-Arlington out of the Sun Belt.

 

 

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