Two Pitchers and Two Outfielders Sign with Sweets

The Sweets add four players to the roster this week with the signing of two pitchers and two outfielders

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Four more players join the Sweets with the signing of two pitchers and two outfielders. Pitchers Daiki Mizuniwa and Jace Wessels and outfielder Christopher Ricard are all new to the Sweets, while outfielder Davis Mauzy will play his second season at Borleske Stadium.

Wessels is a right-handed pitcher from Clarkston, Washington, currently playing for the Bellevue Bruins. This season with the Bruins, Wessels has pitched in nine games, all out of the bullpen, and has posted a 2-0 record with a 4.97 ERA. He also has a WHIP of 1.03, which is the second best among Bruin pitchers with three or more appearances this season. In his 12.2 innings of work, Wessels has struck out 17 batters.

Before going to Nebraska to play for one of the top teams in the NAIA, Wessels played three seasons for the Columbia Basin Hawks in Pasco. Wessels was selected as captain in two of his three seasons with the Hawks. In 34 games, he posted a 17-5 record with a 4.12 ERA and 150 strikeouts. He guided the Hawks to back-to-back NWAC Super Regionals and the 2023 NWAC Championship.

This season with the Sweets will be Wessels’ third season in summer league baseball. His first year was 2021 with the Spearfish Sasquatch in the now-defunct Expedition League and his second year was 2022 with the Weyburn Beavers in the Western Canadian Baseball League. Wessels took the summer of ‘23 off, but is back and ready to play summer ball this year.

“[I am] super excited to be a Sweet this summer,” said Wessels. “ I am from Clarkston, so growing up only an hour and a half away from Walla Walla it is a place I have always gone to and a place that I love. I’m excited to play for Coach Molnaa this summer and play some competitive baseball in a place close to home!”

Mizuniwa is the other pitcher the Sweets signed this week. Mizuniwa is a southpaw submarine pitcher from Japan. Mizuniwa committed to play for the Ellsworth Community College Panthers in 2021 out of Iowa Falls, Iowa. Mizuniwa connected with the Panthers after posting a video to Twitter to catch the eye of some junior colleges. During his days in the junior college ranks, Mizuniwa not only learned English, but started to learn some Spanish as well.

2024 will be Mizuniwa’s first season in summer ball, and he is grateful to be a part of the Sweets.

Ricard is an outfielder from Lewiston, Idaho, currently playing for the Scottsdale Artichokes. In his freshman season with Chokes, Ricard has played in 44 games, tied for the most on the team. He has collected 56 hits so far, with 19 of them going for extra bases: 11 doubles, three triples and five home runs. Ricard’s batting average sits at .339, the second-highest on the team among players who have played more than half of the games this season for the Artichokes.

Last spring in his senior year of high school, Ricard led the Lewiston Bengals in most offensive stats, including batting average, hits, runs scored, on base percentage, slugging percentage, doubles, triples and home runs.

2024 will be Ricard’s first season in summer ball.

“Being from the Northwest, it definitely makes me excited to be a Sweet with them being so close to home and because I know that there is going to be such a supportive community,” said Ricard. “I also know that having such a talented team is going to set me up to improve and hopefully allow us to get a bunch of Sweet W’s!”

The final player signed this week is Mauzy, who is making his return to Walla Walla after playing for the Sweets in 2023. That now brings the number of returners from the 2023 season up to 15.

Mauzy is an outfielder from Meridian, Idaho, currently playing for the Blue Mountain Community College Timberwolves. Mauzy is the best hitter for the Wolves this season, with 48 hits through 32 games. He has 16 more hits than the next batter. Mauzy also leads the team with a batting average of .372, a slugging percentage of .450 and 30 stolen bases. He is second best in hitting, walks, doubles, and RBI in the NWAC. Mauzy recently committed to play for Wichita State University during the 2024-25 school year.  

With the Sweets in 2023, Mauzy suited up in eight games, playing in three games in June and in the final two series in August. In those games, he recorded six hits with two of them for doubles. His final knock of the year was an RBI double against Portland in the season finale which ended up being the final run of 2023 for the Sweets who beat the Pickles 6-2.

“I am very excited to return and play for the Walla Walla Sweets,” said Mauzy. “It’s a great environment with a great fanbase, coaching staff, and teammates that are all very talented. I look forward to growing more as a player and a person!”

By: Cooper Huskey

Date: April 24, 2024