WALLA WALLA, Wash. —- Three hurlers from the 2023 season are set to go for another campaign with the Sweets. Heitaro Hayashi, Jaxon Henderson, and Hunter Polley will all make their return to Walla Walla in 2024.
Hayashi, a sophomore from Phoenix College, started eight games for the Sweets in 2023 and posted a record of 3-4 with a 5.11 ERA. His best start was June 25, in the Sweets 10-3 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins in the Battle of the Basin. Hayashi tossed six innings, allowed one unearned run on two hits and struck out five batters. So far in 2024 with the Phoenix Bears, a junior college in Arizona, Hayashi has pitched in three games, totaling 3.1 innings and striking out three batters. He has also not allowed a run in that time. Hayashi is originally originally from Tokyo, Japan.
“I am so excited to be back in Walla Walla,” said Hayashi. “I am looking forward to seeing you all at Sweets Country!”
Henderson, a junior from Northwest Nazarene University, pitched in 10 games out of the bullpen for the Sweets. Henderson recorded one win in 2023, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out one against the Corvallis Knights. Over the course of the whole season, Henderson pitched 14.2 innings and struck out 11 batters while only walking two. He was a very reliable arm in the pen for the Sweets.
Henderson hasn’t pitched yet for the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks in 2024. He transferred to NNU after two seasons with the Columbia Basin College Hawks. In 2023 with the Hawks, Henderson started eight games and made five appearances out of the bullpen with an ERA of 3.96 and 25 strikeouts. Henderson is from Snohomish, Washington, just outside of Seattle.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Walla Walla for another great season,” said Henderson. “There is no place I would rather spend the summer.”
Polley, a junior from Georgia Gwinnett College, returns to play for his hometown team, having grown up in Walla Walla. Last season, he tossed two games for the Sweets, both of them starts. His best game was his first start when he tossed three innings with three strikeouts against the Ridgefield Raptors.
Polley has pitched one game so far for the Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies, tossing two innings against the Rust Bearcats and striking out five. This is Polley’s first season in the Peach State, having previously pitched for Jarrod Molnaa at Walla Walla Community College. In high school, Polley was the captain for the Walla Walla High School baseball team and received the Blue Devil award while there.
“I am beyond blessed for the opportunity to represent the Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies, my parents and hometown again,” said Polley. “Playing for the W2 Sweets has always been a childhood dream of mine since the first year the gates opened and to live out that dream is just so amazing!”