Mutz, Camacho, Wilkerson and Speer set to lead Walla Walla
Walla Walla, Wash. – Walla Walla Sweets manager Frank Mutz has announced the coaching staff for the upcoming 2018 season. Mutz, Raul Camacho and Kyle Wilkerson will be back with the team again this season and Justin Speer will join the staff again after previously coaching with the Sweets in 2015.
“I’ve appreciated working with Frank, Kyle and Raul last season, and look forward to welcoming Justin back into the dugout,” said Sweets team president Zachary Fraser. “These are men that care about our community and about winning the right way.”
A native of San Fernando Valley, California, Mutz is currently the head coach at Chaminade College Preparatory High School in West Hills, California, one of the nation’s best programs at producing high school baseball talent. He is back for his fourth year with Walla Walla and said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Sweets.
“I’m grateful to be back in Walla Walla for my fourth season,” Mutz said. “The Sweets have treated me and my family so well that we feel like a part of the community. There is so much to appreciate about Walla Walla, especially the way the fans have supported our ball club since 2010.”
With the coaching staff now assembled, Mutz said this group of men love the game of baseball but most importantly they are all of high character. He also said that he is looking forward to getting back at it with the Sweets this summer with a very talented roster.
“I can’t wait to get the club together in June,” Mutz said. “The entire staff including the front office has done an amazing job putting this 2018 ball club together. With key returners like Nick Nyquist, Danny Sinatro, Jake Suddleson, Ryan Johnston, Dylan Riddle, and Darius Vines, we have a strong nucleus of very good players. If the Sweets can throw strikes, play solid defense, I am convinced we will be in a position to make a strong playoff bid and run this summer.”
Camacho is from Oxnard, California and is back for his second year with Walla Walla where he will serve as the team’s pitching coach. He said that from top to bottom, the Sweets are the best run organization that he’s ever been associated with and that the fan support has been incredible.
“From the front office to the fans, it is top notch,” Camacho said of the Sweets organization. “I loved the hospitality of the people of Walla Walla and really look forward to coming back to that this summer to differentiate from the pace of SoCal.”
Camacho is currently the assistant athletic director at St. Bonaventure High School and had a storied career as the school’s head baseball coach before retiring from the position in 2012. He believes the Walla Walla community deserves a winner and that the staff and the players will work hard to bring it to #SweetsCountry this season.
“I am looking forward to finishing what we started last year,” Camacho said. “I feel the front office has put the pieces in place for this team to be really successful this season. I’m also looking forward to continuing the friendships I have made within the organization and the community of Walla Walla, as well as my daily walks downtown and getting to know the locals.”
Speer is a native of Gresham, Oregon and is currently the head coach of the softball team at Walla Walla Community College. He took over the program in 2015, and over his first three seasons there he has compiled an impressive 84–43 record.
“Walla Walla Community College has been a phenomenal school to work for and I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach there,” Speer said. “The Walla Walla community has been exactly what me and my wife were wanting when we moved here. It has been a wonderful place to work, live and raise my family.”
This will not be Speer’s first tenure with the Sweets, as he spent time as an assistant with the team during the 2015 season. He said it was an exceptional experience his first time around and that he’s thrilled to be back coaching with Walla Walla.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be back coaching with the Sweets,” Speer said. “It means a great deal to be a part of such a professionally run organization like the Sweets that values their coaches, players and employees.”
Wilkerson is from Northridge, California and is back for his third year with the Sweets where he continues to serve as the team’s hitting coach. He said the experience with Walla Walla has been incredible, and that the best part is the small-town atmosphere because the community is so involved and supportive and it makes the drive to win that much more important.
Wilkerson said he is motivated by making his family proud, and that helps him to strive to always improve and get better. He is looking forward to getting to know the new players with the Sweets this summer and of course, a lot of winning.Read Less
Just 52 days remaining until the Sweets home opener! Stay up to date with how our players are performing with another edition of “10 Things to Know!
1. A conference rivalry matchup saw Harvard drop two of three games against Yale this past weekend. Jake Suddleson (OF) performed well in the series for the Crimson as he went 5-for-14 with two doubles, an RBI and scored a run.
2. Several Sweets squared off as Zach Penrod (Utility) and Northwest Nazarene traveled to take on Jalen Garcia (OF), Carson Woolery (RHP) and Montana State University Billings over the weekend. Penrod went 4-for-16 in the series with three RBI and two runs scored. Garcia helped MSUB take three of the four games against NNU and went 3-for-15 with five runs, three stolen bases and four walks. During the series, Garcia set the single-season record for stolen bases at Montana State and now has 20 on the season. He also made a tremendous defensive play, throwing out the would-be go-ahead run at home plate from center field. (Highlight)
3. Matt Richardson (IF) was finally held in check in the University of Utah’s series against UCLA this past weekend. The Utes were swept in three games and Richardson went 2-for-12 with one run and two RBI.
4. UC Irvine was able to win two of three games against UC Santa Barbara in their series over the weekend. Ryan Johnston (Utility) got two pinch-hit opportunities for the Anteaters and went 1-for-1 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Dylan Riddle (LHP) made an appearance in the game on Saturday for UC Irvine, not allowing any runs and striking out one batter in one inning of work.
5. Santa Clara University was swept in their three-game weekend series against Pepperdine. For the Broncos, Jake MacNichols (C) appeared in all three games and went 2-for-9.
6. Another Ivy League matchup this past weekend saw Dartmouth College take to the road and win two of three games against Cornell University. Nate Ostmo (IF) played in all three games in the series for the Big Green and went 1-for-9 with an RBI and two walks.
7. A matchup where Walla Walla fans will be able to catch several future Sweets in action will be when Santa Clara University travels to Washington State University for a three-game series this weekend. Jake MacNichols (C) will suit up for SCU and be opposed by Danny Sinatro (OF) and Bryce Moyle (LHP) for WSU. The games will be played Friday through Sunday and all the information on the games can be found here.
8. It was former Sweets players who stood out in the series between Washington State and California, Berkeley over the weekend. JJ Hancock (OF) excelled for the Cougars, going 4-for-9 with one run, three RBI, four walks and delivered a walkoff RBI-single in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game on Saturday. (Highlight) Ripken Reyes (IF) performed well for the Golden Bears, going 3-for-7 with three walks in the series. He is batting .293 on the season.
9. Few hitters have remained as hot as former Sweet and University of Richmond’s Vinny Capra (IF) has to this point in the season. The Spiders may have dropped two of three games against George Washington University over the weekend, but Capra still went 4-for-11 with a double, a homerun, a run scored, five RBI and two walks. He has a scorching .349 batting average on the season.
10. The University of Arizona was able to win two of three games against USC this past weekend, thanks in part to the performance by former Sweet Jacob Blas (IF). Although he did not record a hit in the series, Blas still drew four walks, scored two runs, had an RBI and made two great plays defensively for the Wildcats. (Highlight)(Highlight)
Trojan pair will provide additional power and speed to the 2018 Walla Walla roster
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets bring the glitz, glamour and sunshine from Los Angeles to the team this summer with the signing of a pair from the University of Southern California. Tyler Pritchard (IF) and Trevor Halsema (OF) will take to Borleske Stadium for Walla Walla in the 2018 season.
“USC is among the most prestigious baseball programs in the country,” said Sweets team president Zachary Fraser. “To be able to extend our strong relationship by adding players that Coach Hubbs trusts for future contributions is our honor. We expect these Trojans to deliver and look forward to both Tyler and Trevor being a big part of our season in Walla Walla.”
Pritchard is a native of Lake Elsinore, California and went to Temescal Canyon High School where he was a standout athlete. He played with the varsity baseball team for three full seasons and was named to the All-Sunbelt League team all three years. Over his varsity career at Temescal Canyon, Pritchard compiled a .347 batting average with 23 doubles, 41 RBI and 64 runs scored.
Now a sophomore with USC, Pritchard has appeared in 31 games over his Trojan career. He is studying business administration and plans to start his own business after the conclusion of his baseball career.
Halsema grew up in San Diego, California and went to Madison High School where he played four seasons with the varsity baseball team. Over those four years, he racked up a .334 batting average with 22 doubles, 54 RBI and 68 runs scored. He was named to the All-League team his freshman, sophomore and senior seasons and in 2017 was named to the Rawlings Perfect Game honorable mention team.
Currently a true freshman for the Trojans, Halsema is working to find his role with the club and anticipates that a summer in the WCL will help him develop that role. He has yet to declare a major but said that his ultimate goal is to become an FBI agent.
Sweets head coach Frank Mutz feels that both players from USC will be significant additions to an increasingly talented roster for the upcoming 2018 season.
“I’m looking forward to having a couple of Trojans with us this summer and am very familiar with Pritchard and Halsema, both having played their high school careers in Southern California,” Mutz said. “Tyler is a solid defender capable of playing multiple infield positions who will bring another left-handed bat and speed to our lineup. Trevor was considered one of the top high school prospects in Southern California coming out of school and will bring some additional power to an already explosive middle of the lineup.”
Another week of strong performances from Sweets past and present, stay up to date with how our players are performing with the latest edition of “10 Things to Know”!
1. Tommy Costello (LHP) has really been finding his groove on the mound as of late. He got the start for Yavapai College on Saturday as they took on Mesa Community College and only gave up two earned runs in six innings pitched. Now over his last three starts, Costello has a combined 1.93 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18.2 innings.
2. Santa Clara University was swept by BYU last week in a three-game series with the intended fourth game being postponed due to inclement weather. Jake MacNichols (C) appeared in all three games for SCU and went 4-for-12 with 2 runs scored and 2 doubles. On the season, MacNichols has four homeruns and 17 RBI.
3. Matt Richardson (IF) has remained one of the hottest freshman in the country for the University of Utah. The Utes lost two of three games against California, Berkeley over the weekend but Richardson still performed well. He went 3-for-10 in three games including four RBI and hit his first career collegiate homerun. Former Sweet Ripken Reyes also appeared in the series, but for the Golden Bears, and went 2-for-7 with a double and three RBI in two games.
Dartmouth infielder and Santa Clara catcher make up newest additions
Walla Walla, Wash. – From California to New Hampshire, the Sweets have added another pair of talented players to their roster. Nate Ostmo (IF/Dartmouth College) and Jake MacNichols (C/Santa Clara University) will take to the field for Walla Walla in 2018.
“I had a great experience last year in Ohio playing in the Great Lakes League,” Ostmo said. “One of the things that I wanted to do was to take my experience from last year in a good league and raise the bar, go to a more competitive league and play in a place that’s closer to home where I can be close to family. Playing in Walla Walla in the West Coast League satisfies all of those things.”
“I was talking to one of my coaches and we decided that the WCL was a great league for me to go to,” MacNichols said. “One of my old high school buddies played for the Bellingham Bells and he said it was a great experience and that I should try to play in the WCL.”
Ostmo is from Portland, Oregon and attended Lincoln High School where he was a star-studded athlete. A four-year letter winner in baseball, he served as team captain his final two seasons. His junior year he was named Portland 6A Player of the Year and his senior year he helped lead his team to the Portland Interscholastic League Championship.
“I had a great experience at Lincoln High School,” Ostmo said. “I was under Coach Rob Herder for three years before he left and then I was lucky enough to have some really good young coaches, CJ Watson and Michael Blake, come in and take over the program and they’ve done a great job ever since.”
Ostmo is now a junior at Dartmouth College and said he was drawn to the school because of the excellent academics and how much he loved the campus during his recruiting visit. In his first two seasons playing for the Big Green, Ostmo batted .260 with one homerun, four triples, and 23 RBI. Playing primarily at shortstop, he has 130 assists, 65 putouts, and an .899 fielding percentage.
While the team has struggled at times to string together winning seasons, Ostmo said his experience has been about so much more than that. He feels the relationships that he has built and the people with which he has surrounded himself with will go much farther than the wins and losses of his college baseball career.
“When I think about the baseball program here as a whole, [I think about] the high character and caliber of people that they bring in,” Ostmo said. “When you talk about baseball, you can get lost in wins and losses, but at the end of the day I’m glad to be here because my teammates here are going to be my friends for life. My experience has been defined by my teammates and the individuals that create the program, not so much the winning and losing.”
MacNichols is a native of Napa, California and attended Vintage High School where he was a highly touted prospect. He was invited to participate in the Area Code Games for the Oakland Athletics in the summer of 2015 and was tabbed by NorCalPreps.com as No. 31 in its Scouting Report’s Baseball Top 50 in 2016. Over his final two seasons with Vintage, MacNichols compiled a .348 batting average with 36 RBI, 16 doubles and four homeruns.
“We had a great group of guys there, a really tight group,” MacNichols said. “At one point during my junior year we had eight guys committed to play D1 baseball in our lineup, so that was pretty cool.”
Now a sophomore with Santa Clara University, MacNichols posted six homeruns and eight RBI in his first year with the Broncos. Behind the plate, he recorded 229 putouts with a fielding percentage of .974 and threw out 13 baserunners attempting to steal.
The team struggled mightily last year, finishing the season with a record of 13-40. Then Rusty Filter came in and took over as head coach of the program, brought a new coaching staff along with him, and MacNichols said that has completely changed the direction of the team.
“The culture we have now within the baseball team is unreal,” MacNichols said. “It’s always been strong but now that we’re winning with each other – it’s unreal – and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s basically the same group of guys making an impact this year as last year, which shows you what a new coaching staff can do. They haven’t changed anything mechanical, it’s all on the mental side of the game. We have the talent and ability to do it, so it’s just the mental part that they’re helping us out with.”
Both players expressed their excitement in getting out to Walla Walla, meeting the talented group of players the Sweets have put together, and having fun while competing for a WCL championship.
“Each summer team has a fun identity,” Ostmo said. “We’re all there to get better and develop, but I’m looking forward to having a good time with the guys while playing baseball at the same time.”
“Getting to know a whole new group of guys with everyone being from different sides of the country, I think that’s the best time,” MacNichols said. “When it turns into the dog days of summer and it starts getting tough, when you start winning that makes it even more fun.”
Digital fan engagement platform expands into West Coast League
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets have announced a partnership with Micro Fantasy LLC to provide its play-by-play prediction contests to fans for all 2018 Walla Walla home games. Micro Fantasy LLC was formed in 2015 in Brecksville, Ohio, and its mission is to increase fan enjoyment in live sporting events through real-time, play-by play prediction contests.
All attendees of 2018 Sweets’ home games with the Micro Fantasy app installed on their mobile phones (iPhone or Android) can participate in Micro Fantasy predication contests. Those watching Sweets’ games online (wallawallasweets.com) or listening to games on the radio (Fox News Walla Walla 99.7 FM| 1490 AM) can also participate in the contests.
The Sweets open their 2018 season by visiting their sister team, the Yakima Valley Pippins, on June 1 as part of a three-game series. Whether fans travel to Yakima Valley to cheer on their Sweets for their first three games in as many days, or watch the games stream live, fans can play along with each batter in real time. With the free Micro Fantasy sports prediction app fans pick from ten options to guess whether the next batter might fly out, strike out, walk, or hit a home run!
“We are thrilled to partner with Micro Fantasy to bring their prediction gaming contest to Walla Walla fans this season,” said Sweets general manager Dan Ferguson. “Joel Crites has created a great game that brings the fun and essence of fantasy sports to fans of all ages. With how successful Micro Fantasy has been across the landscape of athletics, we have no doubt it will be a hit with Sweets fans.”
Walla Walla fans will have the chance to participate in three contests that last three innings over the course of a full nine-inning game. At the end of each third inning, the person with the highest score for those three innings will win a prize for one of the contributing sponsors which currently include Domino’s Pizza, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla, and Legends Casino.
At the conclusion of each game, the person with the highest cumulative score over the three, three-inning contests, will win the grand prize from the contributing sponsor for the evening. At the end of the season, the person with the highest overall cumulative score for all 32 Sweets home games will receive a $500 Visa gift card.
The Micro Fantasy prediction contest mobile app is currently available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play. An online version is also available on microfantasy.com. Micro Fantasy contests are available for baseball, softball and football games. Contests can be scaled for every level of play from pro to youth. Contests for other sports are in development.
“The Walla Wall Sweets have had an outstanding history since they began nine years ago. We are looking forward to being a part of their ongoing success as it relates to fan experience & delivering sponsor value,” said Micro Fantasy Founder and CEO Joel Crites. “We are extremely fortunate to work with a proven baseball executive in Zachary Fraser. His involvement will surely help us continue to improve our product to best meet the needs of teams in collegiate summer baseball.”
About Micro Fantasy LLC
Micro Fantasy LLC was formed in 2015 in Brecksville, Ohio. Its mission is to increase fan enjoyment in live sporting events through real-time, play-by play prediction contests. Prediction contests are delivered through the proprietary Micro Fantasy mobile app and web portal. The simple interface is easy to learn, and content is suitable for all ages. No gambling is facilitated through the mobile app or web portal. For more information about Micro Fantasy prediction contests, visit microfantasy.com.
Another week of the college baseball season in the books means another edition of “10 Things to Know” to keep you up to speed with how past and present Sweets are performing!
1. Several Sweets squared off in a series that saw Montana State University Billings take three of four games against Central Washington University over the weekend. The Yellowjackets were propelled by an offensive outpouring from Jalen Garcia (OF) who played in all four games, went 9-for-19, scored nine runs, had three RBI, a double, and two homeruns. Central Washington’s Mitch Lesmeister (IF) performed well in the series as he went 3-for-10 with three runs scored and two RBI in three games played.
2. Late-game heroics were the name of the game as Washington State University won two of three in the series against Arizona State this past weekend with both wins coming in walk-off fashion in extra innings. Danny Sinatro (OF) provided the heroics on Friday (3/30) as he was able to single up the middle in the bottom of the 11th inning to drive in former Sweet J.J. Hancock and give the Cougars the win. In his two starts in the series, Sinatro went 4-for-8 with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base.
3. Harvard’s Jake Suddleson (OF) had a big series in an Ivy League matchup against Columbia over the weekend. The Crimson dropped two of three games, but Suddleson went 4-for-12 with a homerun, a double, two runs scored, three RBI and made a terrific running catch deep in the alley to save extra bases.
4. Zach Penrod (Utility) had another versatile performance for Northwest Nazarene University against Western Oregon this past weekend. The two schools split the four-game series and Penrod went 4-for-16 with three runs scored, an RBI and two walks. He also had a brief appearance on the mound and did not allow any runs as he struck out one batter in 0.2 innings pitched.
5. A pair of Sweets from UC Irvine appeared in the team’s series against Hawaii this past weekend. Ryan Johnston (Utility) went 1-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and a run. Dylan Riddle (LHP) had two strikeouts and only allowed one hit in 2.0 innings pitched.
6. Matt Richardson (SS) stayed hot over the weekend and helped the Utah Utes win two of three games against Oregon State. In the series he went 4-for-13 with three runs scored, four RBI and now carries a .306 batting average on the season.
7. Tommy Costello (RHP) has been in a groove on the mound as of late for Yavapai College. Over his last two starts, he has 15 strikeouts and just two runs allowed over 12.2 innings pitched.
8. Former Sweet Jacob Blas (IF) had a big game yesterday for the University of Arizona against New Mexico. He went 1-for-4 with a double, three RBI, a walk and two runs scored. On the season, Blas has a solid .304 batting average.
9. There will be quite a few Sweets facing off tonight as Washington State University gets set to host Gonzaga University. Danny Sinatro and Bryce Moyle will be in action for the Cougars and Nick Nyquist will oppose them for the Bulldogs. The game will take place this evening (4/3) at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman, Washington with first pitch slated for 5:00 PM (PT).
10. Sweets head coach Frank Mutz and the Chaminade baseball team have gotten off to a great start to their season. They have a record of 9-2, including going 5-1 in Mission League play so far. Their last three games all came against Crespi Carmelite and Chaminade won all three games by a combined score of 35-4. The Eagles next game will be tomorrow (4/4) against Buena High School and will be the team’s first game in the Righetti Spring Classic tournament.
Applications are now open for our 2018 Bat Boy-Girl positions. Applicants must be between 9-13 years old, able to work games in the evening, and able to pay attention to coaches, umpires, and players. Do you have a baseball-loving child that would be a perfect fit? Click on the link to apply!
Walla Walla adds another lefty to their pitching staff
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets have dipped back into the talented pitching staff at Yavapai College with their latest signing. Walla Walla has added Tommy Costello (LHP) to their roster for the 2018 season.
“I can’t wait to play ball in some good weather in front of some crowds,” Costello said. “I heard the Sweets sell out quite a bit, so I’m really excited for that.”
Costello grew up in Simi Valley, California and played for Sweets’ head coach Frank Mutz at Chaminade College Prep High School. Over his final two years there, he compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.20 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 82 innings pitched.
“Chaminade was really the greatest time of my life,” Costello said. “Coach Mutz and I really bonded well together. It was a great experience playing for him, and I’m excited to get back with him this summer.”
Costello played his first collegiate season with the University of Washington before transferring last summer. He saw limited action with the Huskies but still had very high praise for the program.
“I traveled every weekend and had a good relationship with the coaching staff; nothing was really wrong, I just wanted a different opportunity for my baseball career,” Costello said of his time with Washington. “I was very grateful for all the opportunities that they gave me, but I just wanted something different.”
That something different came in the form of one of the best JUCO programs in the country, Yavapai College, where Costello transferred and is now playing. Part of what he has enjoyed so much about baseball at the junior college level in Arizona is the lack of NCAA restrictions on the amount of games a team can play. Yavapai schedules more than 60 games over a three-month season.
“It’s a ton of baseball, and I love it,” Costello said. “Yavapai has been great. The guys are a little different at the junior college level, more of a focus on baseball than anything else, which is what I like.”
After transferring to Yavapai, Costello once again garnered a great deal of interest from a multitude of Division I programs. He ultimately chose to continue his collegiate career at University of the Pacific and will transfer there in the fall. He said he was drawn to the program because of head coach Ryan Garko and his vision for the future.
“I just really loved what they were trying to build up there and I wanted to be a part of it, so I jumped on board with them,” Costello said. “I really want to play in the big leagues one day and Coach Garko… he did it… he played in the big leagues. He knows what it takes, and he’s developed a lot of great prospects along the way.”
The lefty hurler is joining an increasingly talented crop of pitchers for the 2018 Sweets. He said he joined the team to reunite with his former coach and because he heard so many great things about the program from his college teammates.
“Coach Mutz reached out to me and I wanted to play for him again,” Costello said. “I have had a lot of buddies play for the Sweets, and they said their time there was great, very enjoyable. So I just got really attracted to wanting to get up there, play some ball and have fun with some people I’ve spent a lot of time with and getting to reconnect with them.”
Sweets head coach Frank Mutz echoed that same sentiment and is looking forward to the opportunity to coach Costello again. He also said because of his familiarity with Costello that he knows how talented the sophomore pitcher can be and that he will be a key component of the Sweets’ pitching staff.
“I’m excited to be reunited with Tommy this summer,” Mutz said. “He was a three-year starter for me at Chaminade and during his senior season he was a tremendous leader and threw in several big games for us. I see Tommy as one of our six starters, but because of his versatility, I can see him throwing in any role. Our fans will love him; he’s a tenacious competitor and a great guy whose character and work ethic is off the charts.”
Teams will compete to raise money for WWVYBS, raised nearly $5k last year
Walla Walla, Wash. – The most talented players in the Walla Walla Valley who have excelled in their high school career will once again have the chance to showcase their talent against the current stars of college baseball getting prepared for their West Coast League season. Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball (WWVYBS) and the Walla Walla Sweets have come together again to produce the second annual showcase event for talented Valley-wide high school baseball players for the 2018 season. This event will be hosted at Borleske Stadium on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 with the event starting at 6:35 PM.
The collection of top high school performers will play against the Sweets in a modified showcase-style event. The game will accomplish three goals:
1. Raise funds for youth baseball and softball in the Walla Walla Valley – net proceeds (game revenues less operating expenses) will go to the WWVYBS non-profit organization. These funds are used by area youth teams and programs to fund operations, travel expenses, and other developmental needs associated with providing youth of all backgrounds a chance to play baseball and softball – last year we raised nearly $5,000.
2. Prepare the Sweets for the upcoming WCL season – following the example of Major League Baseball teams that play pre-season exhibitions against area college programs, this game will allow the Sweets coaching staff to evaluate players on the roster in the context of Borleske Stadium – the first time that the baseball operations staff will have a chance to see the team together before the WCL season starts
3. Prepare the Stadium staff for the upcoming season – each year, the Sweets hire more than 75 people for food and beverage and stadium jobs – and for many, it is there first job. With Opening Day 2018 on pace to draw 2,200 people, there isn’t an event in town that can prepare the staff for crowds that size. This event will allow stadium operations managers and their staffs to be prepared for 45,000+ fans during the season in a real-time environment.
“After the tremendous success of this event last year, we are thrilled to once again partner with the Sweets in bringing this opportunity for local high school athletes to showcase their baseball skills while also raising funds to support American Legion Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Blue Mountain Girls Softball and travel teams,” said Rick Eskil, president of Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball. “The Sweets do a great deal for our community and its youth programs and this is yet another example of that.”
The roster for the showcase team will be selected by area high school coaches and will feature 15 players on the roster. Each player will wear customized hats and uniforms and will be given a personalized wood bat for the event. The game structure will be slightly different than a traditional baseball game, as showcase games include controlled pitch counts and other features that protect the health and welfare of players on both sides.
The showcase team will once again be managed by Sweets partner Jeff Cirillo. Jeff played 14 years in Major League Baseball, was a 2-time All-Star and played collegiate baseball at USC. He continues to coach amateur baseball in the Seattle area and is also a scout for the Los Angeles Angels.
“We are thrilled to be hosting this game again,” said Sweets general manager Dan Ferguson. “It is a fun and unique platform to help develop and raise money for youth baseball talent in the Valley, and the ability to have a former MLB All-Star be able to work with the kids in our community is just a fantastic opportunity overall. We are looking forward to another memorable event and the chance to raise even more money this year for the youth programs affiliated.”
How to get tickets for the public: Ticket commitments are available from teams associated with WWVYBS starting April 3rd. They will be selling the tickets to friends and family in the community. For information on how to acquire tickets from these teams, please contact WWYVSB Board member Mike Lemma (email@example.com). Tickets will be available at the Borleske Stadium Box Office on the day of the game, with the Box Office opening at 4:30 PM, and prior to the event online starting April 30th.
About Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball:
Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball was founded 34 years ago to raise funds for Babe Ruth Baseball and American Legion Baseball. Over the years, it expanded to provide funds for softball programs. In addition, WWVYB&S sponsors the Batter Up Program, which provides gloves and other equipment for baseball and softball players who cannot otherwise afford the necessary gear.
With the college season picking up speed and Opening Day for the Sweets rapidly approaching, stay up to date on how our players are performing with another round of “10 Things to Know”!
1. Tanner Cunha (LHP) from Sacramento City College has gotten off to a great start in his first collegiate season. His most recent outing against Cosumnes River College, Cunha got the start, only surrender two hits over five innings pitched and gave up an unearned run. In seven appearances on the season, he’s compiled a 2.33 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched.
2. The University of Utah won two of three home games against Sacramento State this past weekend, and both Sweets players from the Utes played in the series. Matt Richardson (SS) went 2-for-10 with a run scored and 4 RBI over the three games. Justin Kelly (RHP) appeared in the rubber match of the series, allowed just one earned run in 4.1 innings pitched with five strikeouts and recorded the win.
3. Talented senior for C.K. McClatchy High School, Jack Filby (Util) has unsurprisingly been on a roll at the plate to begin the season. Through eight games, the UCLA commit has a .364 batting average to go along with two triples and nine RBI.
4. Central Washington University was able to take three of four games against Saint Martin’s this past weekend, and although Mitch Lesmeister (IF) cooled off slightly, he still contributed to the team’s victories. In the series, he went 3-for-15 including a double, a triple, two walks and five runs scored. He still carries a .316 batting average on the season.
5. Jordan Hovey (IF) has been getting back on track for the Creighton Bluejays as of late. He got the start this past Friday against Illinois State and went 1-1 with two walks, two stolen bases, and a run scored.
6. Several 2018 Sweets players squared off in the series between Northwest Nazarene University and Montana State University Billings over the weekend, with MSUB winning three of the four games. Zach Penrod (Util/NNU) went 4-for-13 in the series with two walks and two runs scored. On the mound, he threw for 1.1 innings over two appearances with two strikeouts and one earned run. Jalen Garcia (OF/MSUB) finally came back down to Earth after getting off to a scorching hot start, going 1-for-17 in the series, but he was still able to add three runs scored and three stolen bases.
7. Washington State University dropped two of three games on the road against the University of Arizona over the weekend. Danny Sinatro (OF) went 1-for-4 with a hit by pitch over two games, and in two appearances out of the bullpen, Bryce Moyle (LHP) gave up one earned run with one strikeout over 2.0 innings pitched.
8. An upcoming series where fans will get to see some future Sweets in action will be when Central Washington hosts Montana State University Billings this weekend. It will be a four-game series with a duo of doubleheaders on Friday (3/30) and Saturday (3/31). Stellar freshman Mitch Lesmeister (IF) will take the field for the Wildcats while Jalen Garcia (OF) and Carson Woolery (RHP) will oppose him for the Yellowjackets.
9. Former righty hurler for the Sweets, Chris Lincoln (RHP) has been performing well in his second season with UC Santa Barbara. He has appeared in 10 games, including two starts, and has a 1.93 ERA with 24 strikeouts over 23.1 innings pitched. His last outing came against San Jose State this past weekend where Lincoln started the game and went 6.2 innings with six strikeouts and one earned run.
10. Vinny Capra (SS), a member of the 2017 Sweets team, has been on fire to start his senior season for the University of Richmond. He has racked up a .341 batting average, 23 walks, six doubles and 16 RBI. In a three-game series against UMass this past weekend, Capra went 3-for-10 with three runs scored and four RBI.Read Less
We’re back! “10 Things to Know” is ready for the 2018 season. With 79 days until Opening Day, we strongly suggest you read along so that you are fully prepared for Opening Day in #SweetsCountry!
1. Pacing the Gonzaga offense as of late, two-time WCL All-Star Nick Nyquist (IF) put together a great series against Pepperdine this past weekend, driving in four RBI and scoring three runs. In eight starts this season and 10 appearances overall, he has a .320 batting average, two doubles and a homerun.
2. In just his first collegiate season with Central Washington University, Mitchell Lesmeister (IF) is already proving that he belongs. Just over a month into the season, the talented Walla Walla native has compiled a .344 batting average and a .901 OPS in 16 starts.
3. Jalen Garcia (OF) of Montana State University Billings has gotten off to the kind of start to his season that most players can only dream of. He has started all 18 games for the Yellowjackets and has accrued a .418 batting average, a 1.157 OPS, three homeruns, three triples, nine doubles and 26 RBI. In the series against Saint Martin’s this past weekend, Garcia helped his team take three of the four games and racked up 11 hits, seven RBI, and was just named the GNAC Player of the Week.
Sweets bolster outfield and pitching staff with a duo of Yellowjackets
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets added a couple of stingers to their roster by signing a pair of Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets. Jalen Garcia (OF/Junior) and Carson Woolery (RHP/Junior) have joined #SweetsCountry and will take the field at Borleske Stadium for Walla Walla this summer.
“My coach was trying to get me into different areas around the country, but then he said, ‘The Sweets are here for you, [you’ve] got a spot,’ so I said, ‘Sign me up!’” Garcia said. “I’m ready to play ball in the WCL and get going.”
“Ever since my freshman year when we went to the Sweets’ games, I was always telling my buddies that I wanted to play for this summer team eventually,” Woolery said. “It’s always been a team I wanted to play for, so I’m really excited to have the opportunity.”
Garcia is a native of Billings, Montana where he attended Billings Christian High School. Montana does not have state-wide high school baseball, so he played American Legion with the Billings Scarlets and had an outstanding career with them.
He was a three-time All-State selection and his senior year in 2015 was named Montana Baseball MVP and won the Montana state batting title. That same year, Garcia helped lead the Scarlets to a AA Montana baseball state championship and took home tournament MVP after going 13 for 22 with 11 RBIs in the team’s five games.
“I loved it; we had a great program and the coach was awesome,” Garcia said of his time with the Scarlets. “It was definitely different being the only guy from my high school [to play there]. I didn’t really know any of the guys, having not grown up or played ball with them, but it was a great experience. We were super good and winning state was awesome, too.”
Garcia spent his first year playing collegiately with Corban University and put up some excellent numbers. He started 30 games and finished the season with a .294 batting average, four doubles, a homerun and 11 RBI.
“It was definitely a learning experience,” Garcia said. “Getting to the college scene and getting comfortable was really good [for me].”
The talented outfielder then transferred to Montana State University Billings and had a terrific sophomore year with the Yellowjackets. He compiled a .327 batting average, 11 doubles, five homeruns, 38 RBI, and was tabbed second-team All-GNAC. He was recently named to the 2018 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason second-team All-West Region.
“Loved it,” Garcia said of the MSUB baseball program. “The coaches keep us working hard and run a really professional organization. They keep us on our toes, keep us on our grades, just keep us in line really well, and we’ve been having some success here.”
Garcia is now settled into playing at a four-year university but didn’t have that opportunity when he was coming out of high school. He was lightly recruited and garnered little interest from four-year programs, but not letting it discourage him, he has used it as a chip on his shoulder to continually motivate himself.
“When you’re coming out of high school, not having any D1 offers, not really having a whole lot of offers [in general] and being the Montana MVP and winning the batting title, you expect some [offers or interest],” Garcia said. “But it’s tough getting recruited out of Montana, especially when you only have Legion ball. So, it’s been a motivation for me my whole life, and I let it fuel me, but I don’t let it get to me.”
The Billings native had the chance to play in the West Coast League this past summer with the Wenatchee AppleSox, but despite putting up some solid numbers offensively, Garcia felt he could have had a stronger performance. He finished the season with a .276 batting average, 14 doubles, two homeruns, and 21 RBI.
“It was a good time, a great experience,” Garcia said of playing for the AppleSox. “I definitely wish I could’ve played a little better, which is definitely going to motivate me this year. But it’s nice to have a little experience under my belt and know what to expect, what the fields are like and the whole system.”
With the AppleSox Garcia had the chance to play at Borleske Stadium against the Sweets in the opening series of the season and was impressed with the support from the team’s fan base. He also said that Woolery has filled him in on what else he can expect to experience playing for the Sweets.
“Carson tells me about how crazy the fan base is there, how loyal they are, and how the players are like superstars around the community,” Garcia said. “When I was playing there in the outfield, it was definitely an experience opening there with so many people, it was awesome.”
A native of Caldwell, Idaho, Woolery went to Caldwell High School where he was a three-year varsity letterman in baseball. He said there were some ups and downs throughout his tenure there but that the team bonded over the adversity and that ultimately he feels the experience benefitted him in the long run.
“I feel like that really helped me grow as a player and as a leader overall because we had to take initiative at a young age because we didn’t have much handed to us throughout our high school career,” Woolery said. “So, overall it was a really good experience for me and my junior and senior years we had two really good seasons.”
Woolery played his first two college seasons for Walla Walla Community College and excelled on the mound for the Warriors. As a sophomore, he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.70 ERA over 53.1 innings. He was initially recruited as an infielder, but after a lackluster freshman season, he made the tough decision to convert to a full-time pitcher.
“Toward the end of my freshman year, my pitching coach, J.C. Biagi, pulled me aside and really sat me down and talked to me about if I wanted to come back the following year as a pitcher,” Woolery said. “He saw potential in me being on the mound, more so than being an infielder. Coming back to Walla Walla my sophomore year, I then made the choice that I wanted to do what I can to keep playing baseball, so I made the jump and became a pitcher. I tried to work really hard at it and pick Biagi’s mind because he’s a very smart man and made me the pitcher that I am today.”
The hard throwing right hander also spoke highly of Walla Walla Community College head coach Dave Meliah and the tremendous program that he runs.
“The two years I had at Walla Walla were so far the best two years of college that I’ve had,” Woolery said. “The city of Walla Walla, the school, and the baseball program were great experiences all around. It was a big family atmosphere that we had, so it was just a really great day-to-day grind.”
Woolery began to garner a lot of interest from four-year universities after his time with WWCC, but he ultimately chose to play for Montana State University Billings. He said he was drawn to the program because of head coach Aaron Sutton and his reputation for having an exceptional approach to the game.
“A big dream of mine during high school was to play for him because I heard so many great things about him,” Woolery said. “Just the way he ran programs, I was really interested in the opportunity to play under him.”
Though it’s still early on in his tenure with the Yellowjackets, Woolery said he has enjoyed his time so far in Billings and that it was a significant change of scenery but a smooth transition overall.
“It’s been really great, but it was a big change coming over,” Woolery said. “I really enjoyed eastern Washington, and I had never been to this part of Montana. But it’s a great team that I didn’t have trouble getting involved with or making friends with, so right away I felt like one of the guys.”
Having spent two years in Walla Walla, Woolery became familiar with the Sweets program and attended several games while there. He said he was extremely impressed with Borleske Stadium and the energy the fans bring, and after experiencing that, he knew it was something of which he wanted to be a part.
“It’s a great atmosphere, the fans are amazing, and it’s just really cool to see the whole town of Walla Walla come around one specific thing,” Woolery said. “Especially with a team like the Sweets that’s very family and fan oriented, it’s a really cool thing. Playing in [that environment] with the huge grandstand we have and everything, it’s going to be a really fun time.”
Sweets head coach Frank Mutz said he is excited with the prospect of adding yet another pair of talented players, this time from Montana State University Billings. He believes both players will play key roles in the Sweets’ success this season.
“Woolery has a big arm and will fit into one of the starting roles or could be a closer,” Mutz said. “With his success in the NWAC and his season at Montana State, he will add stability and experience to our staff. And I’ve been watching Garcia’s start to his 2018 season at Montana State. His numbers are unreal, and my hope is that he can put those kinds of stats up this summer in Walla Walla. I believe he should fit right into the top of our line up.”
Borleske Stadium to Host the Two Storied Programs on 7/16/2018
There were Two.
Walla Walla, Wash. – In the long and decorated history of high school baseball in Walla Walla “two” is the number of programs that existed in the community for as long as most can remember. Long before College Place and Walla Walla Valley Academy donned their respective uniforms there were two options in town for aspiring young ball players – Walla Walla High School or DeSales Catholic High School. One was the “Big 9” 4A juggernaut, boasting names like Jared Jones, Eric O’Flaherty and Jason Grove; the other was perhaps one of the most decorated small schools in the nation led by names like Joe Levens, Dave Meliah and Pat Graham.
“Two” also represents the total number of times that the programs faced off in some hundred years of combined existence. The reasons were varied – size discrepancy/classification, public vs. private, scheduling conflicts; some in the community felt that one school had everything to gain and nothing to lose, while the other had nothing to gain and everything to lose. While players from both programs knew each other well, thanks to little league and summer programs played together in the Walla Walla Valley, it was a once-in-a-generation experience to play each other in a high school game that meant something. Loyal local baseball fans would remember those two beautiful sunny days in the late 90’s.
One remnant of that history is the venerable ballpark that has evolved so much since the teams last faced off there in the Spring of 1998. Wa-Hi once called Borleske ‘home’ before the construction of Murr Field. While the Irish of DeSales played home games across the ivy-laden fence to the east at Ray Lane, they were no stranger to Borleske, having competed in numerous district and regional tournaments en route to their many state championship appearances.
As luck would have it after those two games at Borleske Stadium in the Spring of ’97 and Spring of ‘98, the teams find themselves in the awkward baseball position of having one win apiece – an unsettled series tie.
That will change, starting July 16, 2018 at Borleske Stadium. Kind of.
The Walla Walla Sweets, members of the West Coast League and a community leader in using baseball and Borleske Stadium as a fundraising platform for community improvement, have partnered with Wonderboy Creative, a local marketing, web and design firm with roots in Sweets baseball and the Walla Walla Valley, to launch the Inaugural Alumni Classic. The event will pit alumni from the Walla Walla High School Blue Devils baseball program against alumni from the DeSales Catholic High School Fighting Irish baseball program in a 7-inning, wood-bat baseball game – with umpires and all. The game will be played at Borleske Stadium on Monday, July 16, 2018. While the competition on the field will be fierce, both alumni programs are coming together with the Sweets and Wonderboy to raise money for the respective school programs, with a portion of NET proceeds of the game being donated to the schools.
The school that sells the most tickets will be the home team, and there is skin in the game for the result of the game on the field: the winning school will take home 55% of the NET proceeds, with the losers taking home 45%.
“The goal is to help both sides find a fun, unique way to raise needed dollars to help improve the student experience,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “Maybe the need is in the athletic department, maybe the need is new trombones for the music department. We don’t really have a specific fundraising goal other than to make it a large donation and to have fun with our community while doing it.”
The idea was hatched in the late nights of the early years of building the Sweets, when Wonderboy founder J.C. Biagi was an integral part of Fraser’s team in the Sweets front office. The two would float fun ideas to host events at the stadium while building desks, clubhouse lockers, guest services booths and other necessary projects for a start-up baseball team. With the Sweets now firmly rooted as a Walla Walla community staple, and Wonderboy starting to lead the way in creating remarkable customer brand experiences, the timing was right to pitch this event to the respective school communities.
“I think I speak for many when I say we’re grateful to our schools for the opportunities that we were provided in our youth,” said Biagi ‘00 – who coincidentally played baseball for Hall of Fame coach Kim Cox at DeSales. “As former players, we get to spend time with old friends and teammates while reliving some great memories at a beautifully renovated Borleske. Being able to do so while raising money for current students in our community is an incredible opportunity.”
Wa-Hi graduate and former baseball player Jason Magnaghi ‘96, now vineyard manager for Figgins Family Wine Estate, has been tabbed the team coordinator for Wa-Hi, while Biagi is taking the lead for DeSales. Rosters will consist of 21 players, 30 years old and over for each side. It will, no doubt, be difficult to whittle down from the many, many great players to have played for both programs. That is why the planning for the 2018 event is being done in such a way that this event develops into an annual summer tradition, creating opportunity to involve more alumni in the future.
“We hope that not only will it energize and unite the schools in a common community goal, but that it will also serve as a catalyst in the future to give people who grew up in the Valley and live away from here now another reason to come back and visit,” said Fraser.
Sweets season ticket members will have the opportunity to purchase seats for the event early, with game tickets open to the public May 1. Individual students will have a chance to participate in a ticket sales contest, with a $1000 scholarship on the line for the top seller among the two student bodies, a $500 scholarship contribution for the 2nd highest seller, and a $250 scholarship contribution to the 3rd place seller.
Ticket prices will be as follows:
Premium Seating (behind home plate, field boxes, and beer garden tables): $18
Premium Seating (behind home plate, field boxes, and beer garden tables) w/commemorative t-shirt in school colors: $28
General Admission Seating (1st base, 3rd base, outfield grandstands): $14
General Admission Seating (1st base, 3rd base, outfield grandstands) w/commemorative t-shirt in school colors: $24
Additional details will follow shortly, including links for purchasing tickets and promotional opportunities.
Zachary Fraser, Walla Walla Walla Sweets
J.C. Biagi, Wonderboy Creative
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets have gone international with their latest signing, adding talented Taiwanese catcher Wei-Chieh (Willy) Chang from Kainan University. He is set to join the growing talented Walla Walla roster for the upcoming 2018 season.
Sweets team president and owner Zachary Fraser expressed his excitement for having Chang as a member of the team this upcoming season and looks forward to incorporating him into the Walla Walla community.
“We can’t wait to introduce Willy to the Walla Walla Valley and vice versa,” Fraser said. “His talent will play well in the league and it will provide a great cultural opportunity for our staff, players and fans. #SweetsCountry has shown remarkable love towards every player to ever wear the Sweets jersey and I know that Willy will have a similar reception.”
A native of Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan located at the northern part of the island, Chang went to Ku-Pao Home Economics and Commercial High School where he honed his skills on the baseball diamond.
“It was very competitive,” Chang said of his time at Ku-Pao. “Everyone got along with each other very well.”
Chang first visited the United States as a young athlete playing baseball for the Taiwan National Team in the 2011 PONY League Baseball World Series hosted in Washington, Pennsylvania. His team came up just short, losing in the championship game, but Chang said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and going to the American shopping malls and outlets.
Full promotional schedule set for release in April as details are finalized…here is a sneak-peek
The best part of the year is now upon us in the Walla Walla Valley. Spring Training is in full swing down south, annual stadium maintenance and improvements around the country are being finalized (including Borleske), and rosters are being solidified in preparation of the 2018 West Coast League Opener on June 1. While baseball is the core product, the Sweets take great pride in being the entertainment center of the Walla Walla Valley each summer. Fans young and old enjoy their time together, a cold drink, a few rounds in the bouncy houses, and ideal Eastern Washington weather have kept Sweets baseball at the forefront of “stuff to do” for the better part of the past decade.
2018 will be no different. In addition to ballpark favorites, the Sweets have added new promotions and operations to keep up the reputation as the place to be for 32 nights a year.
Leading off is Opening Day (6/8 vs. Corvallis) presented by Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla. The annual tradition of the Opening Day cap is back on deck (first 1000 fans) and post-game fireworks will light up the sky.
Dog Days of Summer (6/15 vs. Bend) returns, as our friends at Associated Veterinary Medical Center of Walla Walla has invited all with a family’s best friend (canine division) to join the team at the ballpark. New this year will be a Canine Field of Dreams – contact general manager Dan Ferguson to make sure your pup in on the roster!
Women in Baseball (6/16 vs. Bend) Did you know that in the 19th century, women had to have a male escort to attend a baseball game? Ridiculous, we know. In 1883, the New York Giants owner realized that he was missing out on half the population, and on June 16th, declared the day “First Ladies Day” – all women were allowed in free to reserved and GA seating with no strings attached (like a Buy One, Get One) – and didn’t have to be escorted by a man. We’ve come a long way – and now women are a leadership and managerial force in the game. To celebrate all that women have done to grow the game, any woman can get a reserved or GA ticket at the box office on June 16th for free – no strings attached or escorts needed. Come learn about roles that women have played in being leaders in the sport, including playing, managing and owning teams. Our Field of Dreams will highlight moms and daughters together out on the field pre-game.
Fathers Day (6/17 vs. Bend) – a memorable way to hang out with Dad and the family on a warm summer late afternoon. A special ticket plan for the day will roll out in April, Dad will be able to get Fathers Only deals at the Sweets Shoppe in-stadium, and a lucky father in attendance will win $100 with a tweet from his family (details to follow – and the kids will be able to tweet, so don’t worry about it Dad…). Field of Dreams will be Dads with their kids, and the outfield will be open post-game to play catch as a family.
Home of Adam West (6/22 vs. Portland) – like the rest of our community, we were saddened by the loss of Adam West, one of many who helped draw positive attention to Walla Walla, his boyhood home, as the original Caped Crusader. We will celebrate him offering an Adam West collectible memorabilia piece (with permission from his family), Adam West-inspired uniforms, and theme-appropriate fireworks post-game. We don’t want any old Superhero Night…we celebrate the original Superhero who lived in our actual neighborhoods.
Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First”(6/23 vs. Portland) – did you ever wonder what the right fielders name was? Now is your chance to get that set once and for all on the lineup card. The Sweets will wear St. Louis Wolves Jerseys, with the popular skits player names set on the back (so WHO really WILL play first base). Team president Zachary Fraser and his son will reprise their re-enactment of the skit (from a 5th grade talent show…), and the person who submits the winning name via social media channels will join the team in the dugout for the game, presenting the authentic lineup cards with the manager, and get a version of the jersey to take home.
Walla Walla Wallabies Weekend (7/6 – 7/7 – 7/8 vs. Wenatchee) – did you know the Sweets were almost the Wallabies? It’s the truth. So – we are going to see what an alternative history would look like. The players will take the field in Wallabies uniforms all weekend long, plus other fun stuff that is being developed.
Free Bread Night is Back (7/21 vs. Cowlitz) – presented by Sara Lee, lots and lots of loaves of bread will given away so you can sample some for upcoming summer picnics. We’ll also feature a 2018 team poster.
Fan Appreciation (8/5 vs. Yakima Valley) will see Columbia REA get you ready for Labor Day weekend camping trips with the coolest canteen to ever be offered at a baseball stadium. Seriously. Columbia REA and the Union-Bulletin will help light up the sky with fireworks – and an annual tradition of the players at the gates will make for a memorable conclusion to the regular season.
Some other fun stuff:
Bud Light Batting Practice – gates for select games will open at 5:30 (instead of 6:00) and the right field Blue Mountain Cider house will be open, with great specials on Budweiser and Blue Mountain Cider products, tacos, corn hole, games and a perfect summer Happy Hour start to the evening while batting practice is on display. Dates include:
JUNE: 6/8, 6/13, 6/15, 6/16, 6/23, 6/27
JULY: 7/5, 7/6, 7/13, 7/14, 7/18, 7/19, 7/20
Chuck-A-Ball is a fundraising opportunity presented in partnership with Les Schwab tire centers of the Walla Walla Valley. More than $9,000 have been raised over the past two seasons for youth sports and non-profit organizations. It’s back for 2018! Connect with us to find out how your group can participate and raise funds for your organization.
Family Evenings at Home Plate on Monday nights – Walla Walla Orthodontics is making it pretty easy to get a $500 Visa Gift Card just by being at the game. Purchase tickets to any Monday night game, and invite your friends and family to join you. If we scan 1,800 or more into the stadium, someone will have their name drawn in the 8th inning. Like Rotary, if you are there, you win the card. Games include: 6/25 vs. Victoria and 7/23 vs. Cowlitz.
We’re still in the lab drawing up promotions – some at the gate, some on the field, some online – that will keep our fan base at the top of the WCL. We may only have 35,000 people in our community, but #SweetsCountry has set the standard for the WCL of how to have fun at the park. We expect 2018 to be more of the same.Read Less
Two-time WCL All-Star Nick Nyquist becomes the latest 3-year Sweet
Walla Walla, Wash. – A familiar face will be back on the diamond this summer with the Sweets’ most recent signing. Nick Nyquist (IF/Gonzaga University) is set to rejoin Walla Walla for the upcoming 2018 season.
Nyquist grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and went to Coeur d’Alene High School where he had an exceptional baseball career. He finished his senior year in 2014 with a .506 batting average, six homeruns, and 34 RBI and was named Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year, Idaho Hall of Fame Baseball Player of the Year, and Inland Empire League MVP. From his sophomore year through his senior year, Nyquist was also named first team All-State and first team All-League.
“It was really great,” Nyquist said of his time at Coeur d’Alene. “We made a good run there and ended up winning the district title five years in a row, all four that I was there. We were really good and just had a good group of guys and a fun atmosphere.”
Nyquist is a redshirt junior at Gonzaga, having utilized his redshirt designation prior to the 2016 season. In the two seasons that he has played with the Bulldogs, Nyquist has appeared in 42 games and has a .238 batting average and a .347 on base percentage.
“I’ve loved every second of [playing at Gonzaga],” Nyquist said. “We have a really good group of guys; it’s a really tight knit group. There’s just a team-first type of atmosphere, and there’s really nothing better than that. It’s just a bunch of selfless guys and we all go out there and do our thing.”
He is the son of Lisa and Mike Nyquist. His father, Mike, played baseball collegiately at Whitworth University and Washington University, then briefly played professionally in the minor leagues. Nick has a brother, Chad, who played college baseball at Spokane Falls Community College.
Exciting new features now accessible as Sweets unveil new website
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Walla Walla Sweets announced Monday the launch of a newly redesigned, fully optimized website, wallawallasweets.com. As the team enters their 9th season of play in the West Coast League, team leadership determined it was time for a facelift.
“When we first launched our website nine years ago, many of the features were on the cutting edge of technology,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “Technology has grown by leaps and bounds since then and we felt it was an appropriate time to upgrade.”
The new website features upgrades to many of the things fans have come to love, including an automated Sweets video feed, team news, and upcoming game and ticket information accessible throughout the site. In addition to the staples, the new site will feature up to date league stats during the season, a sleek and modern Game Center showcasing details for each game (starting pitcher, team records and statistics, and promotions), social buttons to make sharing information with family and friends easier, plus more.
“In redesigning this site we put a lot of focus on our fans,” added Fraser. “In addition to a seamless and user-friendly interface, it was important that we work toward creating more in-depth content areas where fans can interact and get to know our organization more closely.”
The Sweets have partnered with local marketing and design agency Wonderboy Creative on the project. While there are many design and development agencies out there, it was Wonderboy’s ability to customize the website around baseball’s nuances that made them the clear choice.
“We love challenges like this and we are thrilled to work with Zachary and his team to develop an improved solution,” said Wonderboy partner Katie Biagi. “We have an intimate and unique connection to the Sweets and baseball in general that allowed us to approach this differently than most projects.”
While fans will enjoy the front-end of the site, it’s the fully customized content management areas on the backend that bring the site up to date. A challenge with a lot of websites, and a challenge with the Sweets previous site, is the need to input the same material more than once in order to ensure it displays in various locations on the website. One of the top priorities for both the Sweets and Wonderboy was to create an easier to use backend for front office staff and eliminate the need for duplicate input.
“We, like Zachary and the Sweets, dream big then figure out a way to make things happen,” continued Biagi. “We were all able to put our heads together and build a site that hopefully brings fans closer to the game, while saving the Sweets staff time to focus on getting ready for the season.”
Some cool features to explore include the roster, complete with more in-depth information, including social follow options to keep up with your favorite Sweets players, and a unique mobile roster view. Both the listed and calendar view schedule feature the above mentioned game center. Additionally, each WCL team has its own page, allowing fans to learn more about Sweets opponents as well as find out when the team will face off against them during the season.
“We are very proud of our new website,” added Fraser. “It represents an investment in our fans and team that we hope everyone will enjoy exploring as much as we do.”
Sweets add talented, experienced players from Creighton University
Walla Walla, Wash. – From the home of the College World Series to Borleske Stadium, the Sweets’ newest signings represent the first Creighton players in Walla Walla team history. Junior Jordan Hovey (IF) and junior Elijah Hill (RHP) will suit up and be on the diamond for the Sweets this summer.
“I’ve heard a lot about the Sweets from Elijah,” Hovey said. “He told me it’s a great league and a great organization. I played in the Northwoods League the past two years and I wanted to get to a different part of the country and play in a competitive league. So, I thought it would be a great fit, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity.”
“I always wanted to play in the West Coast League and I hear the Sweets have a great baseball atmosphere at their games,” Hill said. “I really wanted to play at the highest level of summer ball possible, while being at home, so I felt Walla Walla was a great fit for me.”
Hovey is a native of Edwardsville, Illinois where he went to Edwardsville High School and had a great baseball career. His senior year in 2015, he finished the season with a .382 batting average, 32 RBI, 25 extra base hits, was named an All-American, and played in the Illinois All-Star Game.
“I went through some ups and downs in my time at Edwardsville, hitting around .200 my sophomore and junior seasons,” Hovey said. “Then my senior year, I was finally able to put it all together and break through. That year, we finished 32-2 and were one of the highest ranked teams in the nation. So I take a lot of pride in having gone to school there and it really helped to prepare me for college baseball.”
He played his first year of collegiate baseball with Missouri State but saw limited action, primarily as a pinch hitter. Hovey then transferred to Jefferson College and put up some gaudy numbers for the Vikings. He finished the season with a .335 batting average, 13 doubles, three triples, nine homeruns, 55 RBI, and a 1.066 OPS.
“I really enjoyed Missouri State, but I didn’t play to the best of my abilities while there and felt like I needed to go somewhere else to get more playing time and just to play to get better,” Hovey said. “So, it worked out in a way where I got to go to Jeff-Co and play for Coach Evers, which was awesome. It was just a really great experience for me [at Jefferson].”
Now attending Creighton University, Hovey said he chose to play there because of the tremendous opportunities he has both athletically and academically with the Bluejays.
“I went to Creighton because I felt like it would put me in a great position to develop, to become the best player I can be, and give me the chance to compete in an NCAA Regional,” Hovey said. “Also, the education here is top of the line, so that was another factor. But yeah, the guys are all great, the coaches are awesome, so we’re just trying to get better everyday and continue to become more disciplined and organized as a team.”
Jordan Hovey (IF)
Elijah Hill (RHP)
His senior year for baseball in 2013, Hill racked up a 6-2 record with a 1.17 ERA and was named All-State, All-Area, and League MVP. He was also named to the All-Conference team twice.
Coming out of high school, Hill was initially set to play both baseball and football for the Air Force Academy. However, at the last minute the football coach decided that Hill would not be able to play both sports until his sophomore year because they wanted him to get used to life at the academy and not to get overworked early on.
“Thinking back on it, baseball was my main passion, so I couldn’t give it up, especially for one year as a pitcher,” Hill said. “I don’t think I would have been nearly as good after taking a year off, so I decided to go to Bellevue instead.”
He played his first two seasons collegiately with Bellevue College and put up some outstanding numbers while there. He finished his sophomore campaign with an 8-3 record, a 3.20 ERA, and 70 strikeouts over 67.1 innings pitched.
“It was great, I really enjoyed it,” Hill said of his time with Bellevue. “I decided to go there because I knew Coach specialized in working with pitchers and that he had a lot of connections with getting guys to the next level. I decided to play there for two years and he got me to Creighton.”
Getting the opportunity to play at Creighton and the Division I level was always a goal for Hill and now he’s getting the chance to fulfill it. “It’s everything I’ve always dreamed about – playing Division I baseball,” Hill said. “I’m busy all the time with baseball and I love it. Sometimes it’s a grind, but at the end of the day, it’s really worth it in my opinion.”
Sweets owner and team president, Zachary Fraser, is ready to have Bluejays in a Sweets uniform and said he hopes to continue to develop a relationship with the Creighton baseball program and Coach Servais.
“We’re excited about starting a relationship with Creighton,” Fraser said. “Our success with Midwest programs gives us confidence that Bluejay players will be no different. With Hill and Hovey, we are getting mature, developed players and we will count on their experience over the course of a challenging WCL schedule.”Read Less
Young trio will play key role for the Sweets this summer
Walla Walla, Wash. – Three graduating high school seniors who are committed to play at the Division I level will join the Sweets for the 2018 season. Jack Filby (MIF, C/ UCLA), Sean Sullivan (RHP/University of California, Berkeley), and Patrick Collins (RHP/University of San Francisco) will suit up for Walla Walla this summer.
“I knew [the Sweets] were in a very competitive league where there are a lot of D1 guys who want to play the game at the next level,” Filby said. “I knew it was the right destination for me.”
“I just think it’s an experience every college player should have, playing for a collegiate team over the summer and playing with a bunch of different guys going to different schools,” Sullivan said. “I know some guys on the team too, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“It all started with Coach Mutz inviting me,” Collins said. “Then I really looked into it, and I saw it was a great chance for me to see college hitters before I actually went to college and that really intrigued me.”
Filby is a native of Sacramento California where he currently attends C.K. McClatchy High School and has already racked up a laundry list of accolades. In 2016, he was named to the Top Prospect Team at the Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games and played for the Oakland Athletics at the Underclass Area Code Games. In 2017, he was named to the MaxPreps Medium Schools All-State first team, All-Sacramento Bee first team, Rawlings Top Prospect Team at the Perfect Game National Showcase, and played a second time with the Athletics at the Area Code Games.
“I’ve had the privilege to play varsity since I was a freshman, so I’ve been entrenched in varsity baseball with a lot of high-level play and older guys which has allowed me to mature and grow as a player on and off the field,” Filby said. “It’s brought a lot of fun to my life allowing me to play the game that I love, which is baseball.”
During his 2016 and 2017 high school seasons, Filby batted .374 with 23 RBI, eight doubles, 56 walks, and a 1.142 OPS. He committed to UCLA following his freshman year back in 2015 and will now finally get the chance to don the Bruins’ blue and gold.
“I committed there because it was my dream school,” Filby said. “I enjoy Westwood and So-Cal, so that really appealed to me. They produce a lot of great players, and I’m hoping to be one of them.”
Sean Sullivan (RHP)
Patrick Collins (RHP)
Sullivan grew up in Woodland Hills, California and is currently attending Chaminade College Prep High School. He missed all last season due to a back injury but has been named to the Under Armour Preseason All-American team back-to-back years and was also high honorable mention on the Perfect Game Preseason All-American team in 2017.
“The baseball team is pretty much my home here,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely a home away from home. I look forward to coming out here every single day and playing with my brothers. It’s a lot of fun and we get after it out here.”
Sullivan is committed to play for the University of California, Berkeley next year and said the chance to play in a beautiful area and in a high-caliber conference was an opportunity he could not pass up.
“I’m really fascinated with the Bay area,” Sullivan said. “I love the overcast weather and the coaches [at Cal] are amazing. Each and every one of them are really kind, really great guys. Their program is outstanding, Pac-12 baseball, that’s a given. I’m really fortunate that I got the opportunity to play there.”
Collins is a native of Calabasas, California and is currently attending Chaminade College Prep High School. He finished last season with a 4-0 record, a 1.15 ERA, 50 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched, and was named Mission League Pitcher of the Year.
“It’s been nice because it’s more of a laid-back atmosphere,” Collins said of the Chaminade baseball program. “We all love playing baseball and working hard when we have to, but we have a good time doing it.”
Collins is committed to play at the University of San Francisco next year and said after spending a lot of time in the city over the years that he always knew it was somewhere he wanted to be.
“I’ve always loved San Francisco because my dad is from there, and I still go up there all the time,” Collins said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play Division I baseball so when I got the chance to play [at USF] I felt like it was a perfect match for me.”
Sweets head coach Frank Mutz has had the opportunity to coach both Sullivan and Collins over the last four years, as Mutz is also the head coach of Chaminade College Prep High School. He said that both players will play a vital role for the team this summer as members of the Sweets’ pitching staff.
“Sullivan is a hard throwing RHP and an incredible athlete,” Mutz said. “He is a guy who performs better in the big situations, and I’m confident will be a great asset to our pitching staff. Collins is one of the most competitive pitchers I’ve ever had pitch for me. He will be used in several roles this summer and adds a dynamic repertoire of pitches most high school and college pitchers don’t have.”
Coach Mutz has not had the opportunity to coach Filby, but still said that if [Filby] is not the top high school bat in Northern California, he’s certainly on the short list.
“We have high expectations for Filby and plan to have him in the top of our lineup,” Mutz said. “He is a complete player, and the only concern I have is that we may lose him to the 2018 MLB Draft.”Read Less
Experience and versatility abundant with the Sweets newest signings
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Sweets have added three players who will help both in the field and on the mound. Sophomore Jeremy Polon (LHP/Moorpark College), junior Tyson Quolas (OF, LHP/Cal State Monterey Bay) and junior Zach Penrod (OF/Northwest Nazarene University) will be in action for the Walla Walla Sweets this summer.
“I’ve known coach Mutz since I was a freshman in high school,” Polon said. “His high school came to play at my junior college earlier this fall in a tournament that we host and I was talking to him and he asked if I wanted to play for the Sweets and my answer was, ‘Definitely!’”
“I wanted to join a really competitive league,” Quolas said. “The contract was there and everything else fell into place and now I’m really excited to be in Walla Walla.”
“Over the last couple years, I knew that the WCL was something that I wanted to be a part of,” Penrod said. “When my coach texted me and told me I got a spot with the Walla Walla Sweets, I was super excited. It was like a dream come true to play at this level.”
Polon grew up in West Hills, California and had a stellar career at El Camino Real Charter High School. He was a three-year letter winner for baseball and compiled a career record of 30-4 while striking out 224 batters in 210 innings.
He holds two of the five lowest season ERA’s in El Camino Real Charter baseball history and helped lead the school to back-to-back Los Angeles City Division I Championships. Polon was a three-time first team Los Angeles City Section Division I selection, the 2015 City Section Division I Co-Player of the Year, two-time West Valley League Pitcher of the Year, and three-time first team West Valley League selection.
Polon played his first year of college ball at San Jose State University, appeared in 13 games, and finished the season with 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work. Last summer he played in the WCL with the Gresham Greywolves and had a 1-2 record with 17 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings pitched. Having had the chance to play in Borleske Stadium, Polon said he was blown away by the overall experience.
“We showed up there I believe for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday series and all those days it was packed,” he said. “The fans were awesome, the facility is beautiful, the playing surface is awesome, I was really impressed.”
Now attending Moorpark College, Polon said he is enjoying his time with the baseball program and having campus be so close to home. The school’s pitching coach, Tom Vessella, is a former professional baseball player who Polon said has a great approach to the game and has really helped him tremendously.
“Our pitching coach, he’s been awesome,” Polon said. “He has that pro-ball mentality to get in, get your work in, and then you go home. I like that feel to it; it doesn’t have such a robotic feel. This is only my first year [with Moorpark], so I’m still new to the whole system here, but so far it’s been a great time.”
Jeremy Polon (LHP)
Tyson Quolas (OF, LHP)
Quolas grew up in Oxnard, California and went to Oaks Christian High School where he had an exceptional baseball career. His senior year in 2014, he finished with a .407 batting average, 20 runs scored, 10 RBI and nine doubles. That year he was named to the MaxPreps All-State second team, All-Southern Section, first team All-Ventura County, first team All-CIF, and first team All-Tri Valley Conference.
Quolas played his first two years of college ball locally with Oxnard College and finished his stint there with a .257 batting average, 11 doubles and 31 RBI. On the mound for the Condors, he finished with a 1-1 record and a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings pitched. He was also honorable mention Western States North Conference in 2015 and second team in 2016.
“It was a big learning experience,” Quolas said of his time at Oxnard College. “Steve Hernandez was my pitching coach and he taught me my changeup and I use that pitch a lot now. I’m glad I went to Oxnard and learned that pitch because it’s good to rely on when your fastball is not doing too hot.”
Quolas transferred to Cal State Monterey Bay in the fall of 2016 and utilized his redshirt season this past year. He said he has enjoyed the change of scenery and that the overall approach to the game by the coaching staff has been great.
“When I came to Cal State Monterey I was expecting something like Oxnard, but Coach White, he coaches a little more freestyle,” said Quolas. “You have your own program and you stick to it and have to grind on your own. You go at your own pace, so if you’re not feeling great one day you can lighten up your load, but most of the time we like to go out and get after it together and all do different things.”
Penrod is a native of Nampa, Idaho, where he went to Columbia High School and was an outstanding athlete. He was a three-year varsity letter winner in baseball and was named as a first team All-Conference outfielder all three years.
Penrod spent his first two years playing collegiately for Corban University. He started 59 games and finished with a .273 batting average, 2 homeruns, 14 doubles, and 17 stolen bases. On the mound for Corban, he appeared in nine games and finished with a 2.03 ERA.
“When I went on my visit to Corban, I just really felt at home,” Penrod said. “I really enjoyed the Christian small school aspect. On the baseball side of things, I made a lot of really great relationships with the team. We really bonded my freshman year.”
Penrod transferred to Northwest Nazarene University this past fall, which is just a short drive from his hometown of Nampa. He said he was drawn to play for the Nighthawks because of head coach Rocke Musgraves’ approach to the game of baseball.
“I really enjoyed the outlook [Musgraves] has on the game,” Penrod said. “I felt like it was something I could really get involved in. I’m also looking forward to playing a little closer to home, so my family could come see me more often.”
All three talented upperclassmen made a note to mention their excitement to get the chance to play in front of the tremendous Sweets fan base at Borleske Stadium and that they look forward to winning a lot of games this summer.
“Playing there last year and seeing the whole atmosphere really turned me on to the team and how they went about things,” Polon said. “I saw how great the fans are, and it’s a very talented team, they always get a really good group of guys together every summer.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting great players from all across the country because you just don’t know who you’re going to meet and end up being really close friends with,” Quolas said.
“I’m excited to play in a place that I’ve never been before,” Penrod said. “I also understand there’s quite a big crowd turnout. I love to play in front of people, it’s just something I really enjoy doing so I’m excited for the chance to do it with the Sweets.”Read Less
Walla Walla, Wash. – With the 2018 season just a few short months away, the Sweets are once again searching for families interested in hosting players for the summer. Host families are one of the most significant pieces of community involvement with the Sweets, and the club wants your family to join the team.
“As we approach nine years of #SweetsCountry, I look back on the relationships built and maintained through our host family program – it is truly special and unique to the West Coast League in the caliber of the families and experiences players receive,” said team president Zachary Fraser. “I invite you and your family to become part of one of the best, most community-centered groups in the Walla Walla Valley and host a Sweets player this season.”
Rosanna Morgan has been a host for the Walla Walla Sweets since the team’s first season back in 2010. She decided to become a host because she wanted to “grow” her family and said that the experience has been far more rewarding than she could have ever expected.
“We really did grow our family, but so much more than we ever could have expected,” Morgan said. “Regardless of the years that pass, we keep in contact to share what’s going on in the family. We have seen the players move on and begin their careers, and one has even gotten married. Our family has truly grown all by simply hosting a Sweets player for the summer.”
In addition to being invited to a private host family and player barbeque at the end of the season, host families will also be recognized on-field for their contributions to the Sweets organization and their individual players. Each member of the host family household will receive a General Admission season ticket and 20% off all merchandise and apparel in the Sweets Shoppe throughout the 2018 season.
For more information, including learning what the host family expectations are and the additional benefits and commitments that come with being a host family, please visit the Host Family page on our website at https://wallawallasweets.com/host-families/?kmas=307.Read Less
Two University of Utah players set to join the Sweets this summer.
Walla Walla, Wash. – After a brief hiatus, there will once again be Utes donning Walla Walla uniforms in the 2018 season. The freshman pair of Justin Kelly (RHP) and Matt Richardson (SS) will be the first University of Utah players to join the Sweets since 2013, when future draft pick Bret Helton was an All-Star pitcher for the Sweets’ division-winning club.
“The way I looked at it was that Walla Walla looked like a great place,” Kelly said. “I’ve actually driven through the city a few times and it seemed like an awesome town.”
“I just feel it’s a great opportunity to continue to play over the summer, especially being able to compete with other talented players,” Richardson said. “And it’s a town I’ve never been to, so it’s just a great opportunity.”
Kelly grew up in West Jordan, Utah and went to Copper Hills High School where he had an outstanding high school career being named All-Region three consecutive seasons. He finished his senior year with a 1.67 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 37 2/3 innings and was named to the Utah 5A All-Star Team, as well as honorable mention All-State.
Kelly was initially committed to play baseball at the junior college level before being recruited by and ultimately committing to the University of Utah. He grew up a fan of the Utes, but he also said he chose Utah because it offered him the opportunity to play at the Division I level.
“The goal, honestly, is to play at the highest level that you can,” Kelly said. “So the way I looked at it was why put off playing two years at a JUCO, when I could play at the highest level that I possibly can right away.”
While in high school, Kelly played shortstop along with pitching, but he was recruited to the Utes as a pitcher. He said that he’s already having a great time with the Utah’s baseball program and that he loves being able to branch out and meet as many new people as he can in Salt Lake City.
“It’s been awesome being able to go to that big of a school and making connections all over the place,” Kelly said. “The baseball has been great and I’m looking forward to the long season ahead because it’s going to be awesome.”
Justin Kelly (RHP)
Matt Richardson (SS)
Sweets add three members of the Wolf Pack for 2018.
Walla Walla, Wash. – There may be some howling at the moon on the diamond for the Sweets this season as the team has added three talented players from the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack. Sophomore Ty Hueckman (RHP), freshman Josh Prizina (C, 1B, OF), and freshman Tanner Cunha (LHP) will suit up for Walla Walla this upcoming season.
“I’ve always known about the Sweets because they’re pretty close to home, so that was definitely a team that stuck out for me” Hueckman said. “There’s a bunch of Nevada players that have played [with the Sweets] that told me about it and it sounded like a ton of fun and they all loved it.”
“I decided to join the Sweets to have the collegiate competition over the summer,” Cunha said. “It will help get me prepared for UNR with Division I athletes and studs on the field at all times.”
A native of Burns, Oregon, Hueckman was a three-sport athlete at Burns High School playing baseball, basketball and football. He spent his first year of collegiate action playing for Treasure Valley Community College and had an impressive season. He finished with a record of 5-1 and a 2.42 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched.
“It was awesome [playing for Treasure Valley], having grown up always watching the Chukars play,” Hueckman said. “It was a dream come true getting to put on a college uniform and throw.”
Hueckman transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall of 2017 and said it was a huge transition moving to a larger school but that he’s much more comfortable now. He loves the community of Reno and the baseball team. He said that being familiar with Walla Walla growing up, he’s excited for the opportunity to play for the Sweets this season.
“I love Walla Walla,” Hueckman said. “I go through there a ton and spent a lot of time there, so I feel like I can go in there and be comfortable and still be close enough to home to have friends and family come to games. So, it seemed like a good spot for me.”
Tanner Cunha (LHP)
Josh Prizina (C, 1B, OF)
Prizina followed in the footsteps of his mother, Chris, and his uncle, Jim Puzey, who both attended the University of Nevada, Reno and played softball and baseball respectively. He said getting the chance to play for the Wolf Pack was an opportunity he could not pass up.
“Growing up in the community, I knew the environment and I knew this was a town that couldn’t be beat,” Prizina said. “So to get a scholarship was a dream come true. I took it the second he offered, and it was just a dream come true.”
Prizina became familiar with the Sweets because his good friend from high school, Ryan Anderson, played for the team in the summer of 2016. It was because of Anderson’s high praise for the team that Prizina was persuaded to become a part of the Sweets.
“[Anderson] said it was the time of his life, and he said if there’s anywhere you can go, try to get to the Sweets because they’re a really good program, the community rocks, and he loved his host family as well,” Prizina said. “I thought that was something I could potentially see myself doing, so once my coach brought it up that I was going to Walla Walla, I was super excited.”
Cunha is a native of Sacramento, California and had an outstanding high school career at Christian Brothers High School. The left-handed hurler threw a 6-inning perfect game against a rival school his senior year and earned several accolades including 1st Team All-City, 1st Team All-NorCal, and Medium Schools 1st Team All-State. He also helped propel Christian Brothers to their first ever section title for baseball, throwing a complete game and striking out six in the championship.
Cunha is currently attending Sacramento City College, but will transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. He said that junior college was always a possibility coming out of high school because he had been underestimated due to his small size on the mound and not having the velocity you might expect out of an ace. But Cunha’s ability to command the zone and throw strikes caught the eye of the Wolf Pack coaches late into the summer of 2017, and he will now can prove himself at the Division I level.
With his first collegiate season approaching, Cunha said he feels that his experience with Sacramento City will benefit him both mentally and physically because of how the baseball program works to develop its players.
“They help you to realize it’s more than a game of baseball,” Cunha said. “They help you with life and how to deal with the bad stuff that happens both on the mound and in life, so being here so far has shown me a lot about my character as a baseball player and my character off the field.”
Cunha will join a strong staff of pitchers for the Sweets in 2018 and he said he’s excited for the opportunity to meet and gel with his new teammates.
“I’m looking forward to developing the team camaraderie, going as far as we can in the playoffs and hopefully winning it all,” Cunha said.
Sweets management is anxious to continue to grow the relationship with the Wolf Pack.
“Coach (T.J.) Bruce and his staff at UNR continue to be a great partner in securing players that make a strong addition to our club,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “We look forward to Ty, Josh and Tanner being key components of a run to a championship this season.”Read Less
Kutzke and Lesmeister set to don the Sweets uniform in 2018
Walla Walla, Wash. – From fans in the stands to playing on the field, two notable local athletes will be in action for the Sweets this coming season. Junior Josh Kutzke (IF/South Dakota State University) and freshman Mitchell (Mitch) Lesmeister (Util/Central Washington University) will be playing right in the backyard of their hometowns this summer for Walla Walla.
“Growing up going to their games and watching them play, I’ve always aspired to eventually play for the Sweets,” Lesmeister said. “I finally got the opportunity this summer, so of course I took it, and I’m super stoked about it.”
“I joined the team because I want to better myself as a player,” Kutzke said. “And the experience [of getting to play for Walla Walla], not many people get a chance to do something like this.”
Both players have been staples of the Walla Walla athletic community over the last several years.
A native of College Place, WA, Lesmeister played baseball, football, and basketball at Walla Walla High School. Fans of Blue Devil athletics have probably grown familiar with his name over the last few years. Lesmeister racked up a laundry list of accolades in all three sports.
In football, he was MCC All-Conference honorable mention back-to-back years (QB 2016, 2017). In basketball, he was MCC All-Conference honorable mention and Defensive Player of the Year (2016) and second team (2017). In baseball, he was MCC All-Conference first team consecutive seasons (2016, 2017) and the 2017 MCC Player of the Year. Perhaps his most notable athletic accomplishment is that he broke Drew Bledsoe’s career yardage record at Wa-Hi by nearly 1000 yards, finishing his career with 5,045 total yards. Lesmeister chose to pursue baseball because he felt it gave him the best chance at a long playing career.
Mitch Lesmeister (Utility)
Josh Kutzke (1B, 3B)
Kutzke, a Kennewick, WA native, played his first two seasons of collegiate baseball at Walla Walla Community College before transferring to South Dakota State University this past fall. He said the coaches at WWCC were outstanding and that he has fond memories of playing for the Warriors.
“I loved it there,” Kutzke said. “If CC was a four-year school, I would have stayed there, definitely. It’s a place I’ll never forget and will always be close to me.”
Kutzke posted some outstanding offensive numbers while playing for WWCC. He finished his two-year stint with a .279 batting average, six homeruns, 27 doubles, 60 walks, and 57 RBI. What really set him apart was his ability to get on base. He also led his team in nearly every offensive category his sophomore year in 2017.
With both players growing up in #SweetsCountry, they had the chance to go to several Sweets games since the team’s inception in 2010. Kutzke and Lesmeister said they are looking forward to playing in front of the great Walla Walla fans and having the opportunity to play in the historic Borleske Stadium.
“Borleske is a one-of-a-kind experience, and you’re not going to see another baseball stadium like it,” Lesmeister said. “Then of course there’s the Walla Walla fans. They love the Sweets, and I’m really excited to be a part of that atmosphere this summer.”
“To me, it’s how the fans support the team so well and show up to all the games,” Kutzke said when being asked what makes the atmosphere at Borleske so special. “All the people of Walla Walla show love to the team, and that’s what I like most, the support from the community.”Read Less
The Sweets have announced their new play-by-play broadcaster and media relations manager for the 2018 season.
The Sweets have announced their new play-by-play broadcaster and media relations manager for the 2018 season.
Brandon Pavlina will take the helm of both positions as he was introduced today via Facebook Live on the Sweets page at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Indianapolis.
“This is an amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to become a part of #SweetsCountry and the Walla Walla community,” Pavlina said. “I am really looking forward to engaging with the fan base leading up to the season and putting together the most fun and insightful broadcast the Sweets have ever had.”
The 24-year-old is from Dyer, Indiana, located in the Northwest tip of the state just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in the spring of 2017 with a degree in sports communication and a minor in telecommunications.
“He comes from a strong program, and we look to add him to the list of broadcasters who have started their careers in the Borleske Stadium Press Box,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser.
Pavlina has spent a great deal of his life involved with the game of baseball. He was a four-year letter winner in baseball while attending Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana and won two 3A state championships during his tenure.
After his playing career concluded, Pavlina knew he still wanted to be involved with the game he loved. He joined the Big Ten Student U program at Indiana University and had the opportunity to broadcast several different IU athletics and a great deal of baseball games.
Pavlina has also remained involved with the game but on the officiating side of the diamond. During the summers that he spent home in Northwest Indiana, he has umpired several hundred travel ball games at all ages, ranging from Little League all the way up through high school.
“Umpiring has offered me an incredibly unique perspective on the game that I honestly wish I had while I was still playing,” Pavlina said. “When you are a young and naïve ball player, you may argue and disagree with calls, but when the shoe is on the other foot and you are the one making the calls, you understand that the umpires are trying their very best and how difficult the job truly is.”
Pavlina spent the summer of 2016 interning with ESPN 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. He worked alongside The Dan Dakich Show and The Ride with JMV assisting the producers with their daily functions.
He currently works for the Regional Radio Sports Network, based out of Mishawaka, Indiana, broadcasting high school and college athletics all across Indiana. To this point with RRSN he has called football, soccer, basketball and volleyball games with the expectation to add baseball and softball in the spring.
He will continue the long history of quality broadcasters to call games on the local ESPN affiliate, ESPN Walla Walla (1490 AM/99.7 FM), with the first broadcast of the season scheduled to originate on the road from Yakima County Stadium, as the Sweets open the 2018 season on the road vs. the Pippins.Read Less
Walla Walla, WA – A ray of sunshine and warmth as the cold and dreary winter weather settles in…that is what the release of the 2018 Walla Walla Sweets schedule represents. After another thrilling World Series, and the baseball world ready to work the off-season, the Sweets are excited to continue preparations for what will be the team’s ninth campaign at historic Borleske Stadium.
“After some record-breaking games in 2017, we are excited to welcome our fans and community to the stadium this coming season,” said Sweets general manager Dan Ferguson. “Is there a better place to spend a perfect Walla Walla summer night? We don’t think so.”
This season’s schedule has significant notes of importance:
The Sweets have moved from the WCL North division to the WCL South division, having flip-flopped with the Yakima Valley Pippins. The Sweets will now welcome Bend, Corvallis, Cowlitz and newly added Portland as division foes. The WCL will maintain a split-season format to determine who qualifies for the playoffs.
For the first time in club history, the team will open with a 6-game road trip – visiting Yakima Valley (also owned and operated by Pacific Baseball Ventures) and Bellingham before returning back to the Walla Walla Valley.
As previously announced, the Sweets will move regular start times for the 2018 season. The team will still have gates opening at 6 P.M., but first pitch will move to 6:35 PM, instead of the 7:05 P.M. that has been in place since the 2010 season. Sunday games will move to a 4:35 P.M. start instead of a 5:05 P.M. start. Special times for select games will be determined and publicized with the release of the promotional schedule.
The Sweets will play 32 regular-season games and 27 regular-season road games.
The WCL Opening Day will be Friday, June 1st. Opening Day at historic Borleske Stadium will fall on Friday, June 8th, as the Sweets will welcome the Corvallis Knights. The Sweets swept the Knights in their visit to Borleske in 2017, outscoring the eventual WCL champion 16-6. Other key notes on the schedule include:
Six weekend series – the entire Walla Walla community is planning to head to the ballpark on Friday after work, as the Sweets have six Friday-Saturday-Sunday match-ups.
The Relish Series – the Sweets will welcome the Pickles in what has to be the first-ever sports contest between onions and cucumbers.
Home for Fathers Day – an afternoon at the ballpark is on the docket for Fathers Day 2018 as the Sweets will host the Bend Elks
Ferguson and team president Zachary Fraser are busy with staff building and finalizing the details of the promotional schedule, with plans to release that after the New Year. From fireworks, to Bobbleheads, to an Alternative Facts Night, it will be another fun and family-friendly gathering over the course of the season.
Of course, the primary goal is a return to the playoffs and playing for a WCL Championship.
“Frank, Kyle and Raul have extended their efforts to see more of our incoming players in person this fall,” said Fraser. “We are also really excited about the returning players – all are significant contributors who are excited to come back to our community.
“This is a year where the playoffs are expected.”
Opening Day Tickets to go on sale Friday, December 1: Opening Day continues to be one of Walla Walla’s grandest celebrations. Last season, a record crowd saw the Sweets shut out the Wenatchee AppleSox. Tickets for the 2018 Opening Day will be on sale starting December 1, with a goal to get the building full before the calendar turns the page to January 2018.
“We’re about 35% of the way there,” said Ferguson, noting that the goal is to top the 2,196 that came through the gate in ’17. “I see no reason why #SweetsCountry can’t beat that number – even if it is by 1 additional person.”
Remaining single-game tickets will be on sale Monday, April 2, 2018. Season, mini-plan and group tickets are now on sale and moving swiftly.Read Less
Job Opening: Radio Play-by-Play/Communications Coordinator
Walla Walla (WA) Sweets/West Coast League
Start Date: January 1, 2018 (in-market May 1, 2018)
The Walla Walla Sweets, the West Coast League’s premier baseball and fan-experience franchise, seek a talented, driven, and team-oriented broadcaster to become the team’s play-by-play voice on the Walla Walla Sweets Radio Network. If you love baseball, have a talent for painting pictures on the air, and like the idea of working with a Front Office that is focused on quality customer service and winning championships—then you would be a great fit as the next voice of the Sweets.
The Walla Walla Sweets broadcast all regular-season and playoff games live on-air, over the internet, and via mobile device. ESPN Walla Walla is our network partner, simulcast on 1490 AM and 100.1 FM, reaching over 50,000 local listeners in the Walla Walla Valley and into southeastern Oregon. We produce a broadcast on par with minor-league-standard broadcast facilities, in concert with a wonderful team of professionals from ESPN Walla Walla. Our new play-by-play voice is expected to take the broadcast helm at a minimum of 59 games in 2018—not including playoffs. As team broadcaster, you will travel with the team throughout the beautiful Pacific Northwest—experiencing a professional and creative environment that is unmatched at the summer collegiate level. You will welcome guests and color commentators into the booth, and seamlessly weave their dialog into action on the field. Our goal is to have you recognized as the top voice talent in the WCL – and there are many great ones.
The Sweets have a long history of deploying the most sophisticated broadcast and integrated communications platform in the WCL—and we expect that tradition to continue. We will be adding a live-stream video component for the 2018 season, so a broadcaster well-versed in multi-media editing and presentation is a must.
In addition to play-by-play responsibilities, this position comes with the title of Media Relations & Communications Coordinator—working side-by-side with the general manager and team president to develop pre-season/in-season/post-season content for print, digital, and video platforms. This position also works closely with Front Office personnel to enhance the team’s social media experience, by regularly contributing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others. As the in-season media relations contact—you will be responsible for press release creation/distribution, and the fielding of all inquiries from local newspapers, and television/radio stations.
Walla Walla is a wonderful community that has enthusiastically supported the Sweets (in record numbers), ever since our inaugural season in 2010. Having drawn 335,000+ fans in-stadium since 2010, we are seeking a broadcaster whose personality can mirror the enthusiasm of fans every single night of the season. Are you that person? Then keep reading and apply below!
NOTE: You must have (or be able to obtain by April 15, 2018) a valid U.S. Passport for international travel.
Applicants must provide the following in addition to their resume to be considered:
At least (3) play-by-play audio samples, with a strong preference given to baseball calls
(3) writing samples, with one in each of the following formats:
AP Format (press release)
(1) example of design work in Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc) – please note in your application if you do not have an applicable example
Example of video editing / creation
Any other multi-media samples that will help distinguish you from other applicants
Proof of valid passport (or the ability to get one, such as a valid driver’s license and social security card)
At least (2) years of radio play-by-play experience at the collegiate or pro level is required, with experience in baseball given high priority
Have a current and working knowledge of broadcast equipment, both analog and digital – you are your own IT guy on the road
Possess a strong multi-platform writing ability – AP format, article format, blog and conversational format, etc
Have experience with video and audio editing software
Show an understanding of and proficiency in using social media applications, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others
Exhibit experience with content management systems, such as websites, back-door statistical sites, mobile application management, etc
Proficiency in Microsoft Office programs and preference to candidates with experience working with Adobe Creative Suite
Display the ability to multi-task
Must work comfortably with abnormal hours, including travel with the team
Must maintain a professional presentation – you are an ambassador of the team in the community and on the road!
This position requires a team player, familiar and comfortable with the game of baseball, and capable of pitching in when the need arises, even if it isn’t a media or radio need
Display the ability to work closely with players and coaches, maintaining a professional manner within those relationships
Projects begin as soon as hired – Targeting a January 1, 2018 start date (with work done remotely)
Must be available to be in market no later than May 1, 2018
Must be able to stay in market through the end of the season (no earlier than August 25, 2018
Lead PXP voice over a full summer season – great resume builder
Host Family will be provided
Compensation based on experience – this is a PAID position
Hotel and per diem expenses are provided while traveling with the team
Ready to apply? Please do the following:
Email your cover letter, resume and portfolio pieces to our general manager – firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: Click on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SweetsBroadcast18 to fill out an application.
Harvard star Jake Suddleson set to return to Borleske for 2018 Season
Walla Walla, WA – When an offensive player slugs at a clip of .523 and is responsible for creating nearly a run a game, a team does all that it can to make sure he will return to the lineup. The Sweets have been able to do just that in the process of building the roster for the 2018 season. Outfielder Jake Suddleson, a sophomore with the Harvard Crimson, will return to Walla Walla for the upcoming campaign.
“I’m ecstatic to be back in Walla Walla and have the opportunity to bring a WCL championship to such a great city,” said Suddleson. “They have welcomed me with open arms.”
Suddleson was one of the top producing bats in the Sweets lineup, while manning right field and spending time as a DH. He hit .295, led the team in homeruns (6) and RBI (39), and his OPS (.888) was third-best in the lineup. He was named an All-Star for the North and finished the year with All-WCL Honorable Mention honors. His offensive production is more impressive when considering he missed nearly 2 weeks of games early in the season while in concussion protocol.
“I am so pleased to have Jake back with our club this summer,” said Sweets manager Frank Mutz. “He is a tremendous player and person. He has power to all fields, works tirelessly on his game, and brings leadership to our clubhouse.
“We are very fortunate to have a quality bat in the middle of our lineup, particularly a returning All-Star.”
The Sweets new general manager, Dan Ferguson, has made bringing returning contributors back a priority when the opportunity exists.
“Returning players have been a significant contributor to our success over the years,” said Ferguson. “Jake made a connection with the Walla Walla community. To match that connection with a player that produces the way Jake did – knowing he will only be better with another year of college baseball under his belt – is exciting for our fans.”
The 2018 season will open with the Sweets on the road, taking on the Yakima Valley Pippins (both teams are owned and operated by Pacific Baseball Ventures). The home opener at Borleske Stadium is slated for June 8, 2018 vs. the Corvallis Knights. In earlier announcements, it was noted that the Sweets have flipped spots with the Pippins and now play in the WCL South Division (after 8 seasons in either the North or the East Division).Read Less
Johnston becomes latest 3-Year Sweet, Riddle returns to the mound
Walla Walla, WA – A league leader in getting on base and one of the best two-way players in the West Coast League, along with a powerful left-handed pitcher with plenty to prove, will be returning to the home-side dugout for the 2018 season. OF/RHP Ryan Johnston, a redshirt sophomore for the UC-Irvine Anteaters, and LHP Dylan Riddle, another redshirt sophomore for the ‘Eaters, will both be returning to Walla Walla for the 2018 WCL campaign.
“RJ continues to be a quiet leader in the clubhouse, on the road, and in our community,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “In addition to be a great baseball player, he provides a great example to our young fans.
“I’m excited that he is becoming one of the few players in Sweets history to be invited back for a third full season.”
In addition to the intangibles that he brings to the table, Johnston was one of the most effective two-way players on the circuit. He finished third in the league with a .467 on-base percentage, often in the leadoff spot for the Sweets. His ability to get on base, by hook or by crook, is something that Frank Mutz and his staff are looking forward to putting to good use once again. When he wasn’t patiently pacing the offense, he was a deceptively effective relief pitcher. In 17.1 innings pitched, primarily in short relief, he struck out 15 while walking only 2. His versatility and his experience have the Sweets anxious to have him back in the lineup.
“I am very excited to have another opportunity to be back in Walla Walla,” said Johnston. “I love the atmosphere Walla Walla brings and the amazing family I’ve created with my time (in the community).
“I look forward to getting out there with a new group of guys and hopefully bring the team a championship.”
This will be Riddle’s third season in the WCL, second in Walla Walla after spending the 2016 campaign with the Wenatchee AppleSox. He featured electric stuff last season despite results that were decidedly mixed. Early in the season, he was dominant, and was among the league leaders in key statistical categories. He faced a slump in the middle part of the year, as he was part of a pitching staff that battled a record number of injuries. Sweets coaches are confident in Riddle’s ability to both start and offer relief in the bullpen, given what pitching coach Raul Camacho saw over the course of the season.
“Just the competitiveness,” said Camacho when asked what stood out for him about Riddle over the course of the season. “He’s a student of the game and wants to do the work to get better. There wasn’t a time when he was ‘unavailable’ to pitch…
“He carried our staff early in the summer, even coming back from an injury. I think he just hit a wall as the innings built up, and with another year removed from the injury, I think we will see more of the Dylan we saw early – and that is pretty special.”
Camacho went on to note that the toughness of both players in indicative of the Anteater program, believing that both are important pieces in the singular effort to bring a WCL to Walla Walla. For his part, Riddle is looking forward to returning to a great community that embraced him and made him feel at home.
“It’s a blessing to be playing in such a great community with an amazing fan base,” said Riddle. “I look forward to getting back out at Borleske and helping bring Walla Walla a West Coast League title.”Read Less
A pair of key returning players plus a dynamic LHP signed for 2018 campaign
Walla Walla, WA – Cougars will be on the prowl again this coming season – which is good news for both WSU and Sweets baseball fans. Sophomore Danny Sinatro (OF/Washington State), junior Kevin Calderhead (RHP/Washington State), and freshman Bryce Moyle (LHP/Washington State) will make the short trip from Pullman through the Palouse to help lead Walla Walla to the WCL playoffs.
Sinatro paired with fellow WSU outfielder J.J. Hancock to create a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup during the 2017 season. Hitting .297 and with a robust on-base percentage of .408, Sinatro’s combination of speed and a keen eye at the plate allowed him to serve as a catalyst for sluggers like Hancock, returning OF Jake Suddleson and All-Star Nick Nyquist. Originally signed as an infielder last season, he was converted to an outfielder for the WSU squad and proved that he was a plus defender.
“(Danny) Sinatro brings so much speed to the top of our lineup,” said Sweets manager Frank Mutz. “After another PAC-12 season under his belt, we believe Danny will be one of the top prospects in the West Coast League during the 2018 season.”
Sinatro, a Sammamish, WA native, is looking forward to returning home to Walla Walla.
“I’m truly thankful for another opportunity to play in front of such great fans and for a great organization,” he said, when asked what he looked forward to the most about coming back to Borleske. “I can’t wait to be a Sweet again this summer.”
A late addition to the roster due to academic requirements in Pullman, Calderhead was impressive in a limited role. With a fastball that sat 9194 MPH, and a devastating wipe-out slider, he kept hitters off-balance out of the bullpen. In 16.2 innings pitched during the 2017 season, he struck out 18 while walking 7, and opponents hit just .227 off of him. While it is likely that he will be used in a multitude of roles, Mutz anticipates that one of those roles could be as the Sweets closer.
“This season, we get him for the full year – I can see him developing into one of the top closers in the WCL,” said Mutz. “Knowing that we have a guy that we can run out of the bullpen with electric stuff is of great comfort to our coaching staff.”
The Redmond, WA native is a strong student as well. He was among six WSU student-athletes (including 2017 infielder Shane Matheny, who was drafted and signed by the San Francisco Giants while with the Sweets) named to the All PAC-12 honorable mention academic team.
“I’m excited to be back in front of the best fans in the WCL,” said Calderhead while home during the Christmas break.
Moyle, from Carson City, NV, is a freshman who the Cougar coaching staff is expecting will make an impact this coming season. Dan Spencer, the Cougars pitching coach, was quoted in a Nevada Appeal article highlighting Moyle’s letter of intent signing, that Moyle is a strike thrower who can deliver to both sides of the plate.
“We believe that Moyle will add depth and important match-up problems for left-handed hitters,” said Sweets general manager Dan Ferguson, a WSU alumnus. “We’re excited to welcome him to Walla Walla.”
Moyle has already heard about the experience players have in the Walla Walla Valley, and can’t wait to make his way to the market.
“I feel blessed to start my WCL career with the best market in the league,” said Moyle.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets offer summer internship opportunities for 2018
The thrill of working in an industry where success is measured by smiles, trophies and championship rings begins with enriching and hands-on internships – and pulling the tarp.
The Walla Walla Sweets, in an effort to create real-world experience not only for players but for talented management students as well, have posted three exciting internship opportunities for the 2018 season. Students seeking experience in sports management, facilities management, sales and marketing, and baseball operations are invited to apply, with positions involving Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Baseball Operations. You can see the job descriptions by clicking here
“I was lucky to be able to start my career in baseball and sports management because of an internship,” said Sweets President Zachary Fraser. “That internship created relationships that are still important in my life today, and opened doors for new relationships and experiences that have allowed me to enjoy sports as a profession. I want others who are like-minded to have that opportunity.”
In addition to operating in a timeframe that matches well with school schedules, the Sweets franchise has strong professional relationships with many professional sports teams, management firms and companies tied to the sports world.
“Internships are valuable because of the real-world experience,” said Fraser. “But they are almost more important because of the ability it provides the students to build relationships and to start creating a network within the industry – a great intern can become a fantastic coordinator or manager with the right opportunities, opportunities that are found through meaningful internships.”
Fraser stresses that these internships aren’t just “making copies and fetching coffee”. Interns will leave with intimate understanding of how the business of baseball is conducted, and while the numbers at the major league level may be bigger, the operating metrics are no different. Interns with the Sweets will have had day-to-day management opportunities that would not exist with a major league club.
The best part? When the Sweets are champions, the ability to look back and say “I was there when…”. It is a rarity in one’s career to be a part of something successful from its inception, and internships provide that opportunity. Plus, you get to spend your summer at the ballpark and in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest – it will be a truly memorable experience.
To apply please email a resume and cover letter to General Manager Dan Ferguson at email@example.com.Read Less
Opening Day at Borleske Stadium has become a Walla Walla tradition. Sunshine, blue skies, cold drinks, face-painting, giveaways – it is the official start to summer in the Valley. Sold out each year, the team will look to make it (3) Opening Day wins in a row in 2018 when welcoming the defending WCL champion (and now division opponent) Corvallis Knights. The front office is hard at work building the rest of the promotion around the evening, but you can be certain of one thing: it will be the place to be on June 8th.
Through 12/31/17, when buying online (not available in the office), you can purchase reserved seat tickets to our 9th home opener at Borleske for just $7. Click on this link and let’s make sure we remind the Knights who has set (and maintained) the standard as the WCL’s best fans…
The Sweets have named a new general manager, promoting assistant general manager Dan Ferguson to the post for the 2018 season.
Walla Walla, WA – The Sweets have named a new general manager, promoting assistant general manager Dan Ferguson to the post for the 2018 season. Team president Zachary Fraser, who had returned to the GM role for the 2017 season, is continuing on in his role as president of the Sweets and the Yakima Valley Pippins. Both WCL clubs share the same ownership.
“Since Dan has joined the Sweets front office, ticket sales have increased by nearly 40%,” said Fraser. “That kind of performance is significant. He has been instrumental in improving the day-to-day operations of the team, and allowing me to continue to build the brand and the fan allegiance in the Walla Walla Valley.
“I’m thrilled for him to take this next step with our team.”
Ferguson, a WSU graduate and native of Seattle, joined the Sweets after serving as the Director of Ticket Sales for the Richmond (VA) Kickers of the USL. He has more than a decade of sports management experience, including stops in Seattle, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and St. Paul, MN. He will continue to oversee ticket sales and operations and now assume the day-to-day operational charge of the Sweets front office. Ferguson will work with Fraser and manager Frank Mutz in construction and oversight of the roster for the 2018 season. He will be the third general manager in team history, following Fraser (2010-2013,’17) and Katie Biagi (2014-16).
“I’m excited to continue and grow my role in the Walla Walla Valley,” said Ferguson. “Since arriving in 2015, I’ve been warmly welcomed by the team and the fans in #SweetsCountry, and I’ve made Walla Walla my home.
“We’re already deep into work and preparations for the 2018 season, and expect our ninth campaign to be the best we’ve ever had.”
2018 will represent the Sweets ninth season at Borleske Stadium – the longest run of a professionally-operated team under one ownership group in the history of the community.
NEW START TIMES FOR 2018: As the general manager, one of Ferguson’s first orders of business is the changing of standard game times for the 2018 season. The team will still have gates opening at 6 P.M., but first pitch will move to 6:35 PM, instead of the 7:05 P.M. that has been in place since the 2010 season. Sunday games will move to a 4:35 P.M. start instead of a 5:05 P.M. start. Special times for select games will be determined and publicized with the release of the 2018 schedule.
“After receiving feedback from our community roundtable, our core fan base and seeing the results of our post-season survey, these changes to start times reflect what is the overwhelming majority of responses,” said Ferguson.
“That 30 minutes means that families with children can make it longer into the game without a meltdown, that people who have to work early the next day don’t have to miss our exciting comebacks in the later innings, and it will make it easier on our players and staff to not be at the ballpark so late into the evening.”
It is anticipated that the West Coast League 2018 schedule will be released later this week. The Sweets will be preparing the promotional schedule and release for later this off-season.
Join Pacific Baseball Ventures as we head down for our 4th trip to the desert as we check out the early editions of Mariners baseball 2018.
Do you remember last winter? Do you remember the old and ice? Do you know where there isn’t cold and ice in February and March? Arizona. Spring Training. It is 80+ degrees with sun, blue skies and the windows down. It’s really close to being perfect.
Join Pacific Baseball Ventures as we head down for our 4th trip to the desert as we check out the early editions of Mariners baseball 2018. The details on the trip are as follows:
1. Round-Trip Airfare from Pasco, WA to Phoenix, AZ
2. Ground Transportation from Airport to hotel and hotel to ballparks
3. (2) MLB Spring Training games – (1) in Peoria (Mariners camp) and (1) on the road (TBD)
4. Hotel Accommodations in Peoria (mere blocks from the Stadium)
5. A special “behind the scenes” visit with the Mariners that you cannot buy…
The Price: $995/per person (assuming double occupancy). The price is $1,295/per person for single occupancy. Special pricing available for parties traveling with 4 or more people.
The deadline: By December 22, 2017. Prices increase for parties scheduling from December 23 – December 31 (if space is still available).
We have options for different travel parties this season, as well as the opportunity to extend the trip for an entire week (additional charges apply). Please let our travel partner know if that is of interest.
To reserve your space (this fills up REALLY FAST) – contact Paul with World Wide Travel – 509-525-8040 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t wait to escape the cold and snow with you and start the 2018 season off right!
The Walla Walla Sweets continue to be a destination for top draft prospects. That reputation has been solidified with Chris Lincoln (RHP, UC-Santa Barbara) being named the top prospect in the West Coast League (WCL) by Baseball America. The announcement was made Monday, August 28 by the WCL office. RHP Darius Vines (Yavapai CC) was also listed as a top prospect (#8).
Blessed with mid-90s velocity and three strong pitches, Lincoln’s ceiling wasn’t necessarily reflected in his season statistics. He did strike out 36 in 33.1 IP. An opposing manager had this to say about Lincoln’s ability: “He was 91-93, touching 94,” said one league manager. “He has the kind of curveball that makes righthanded hitters jump out of the box and a changeup that made our lefties miss by 8-12 inches. I think the most impressive part is how easy it looked; very smooth.”
Sweets manager Frank Mutz was impressed with what he saw, and more importantly, how Lincoln developed over the course of the season.
“He was one of the most dominant pitchers in the WCL this summer,” said Mutz. “Like most young pitchers, once he learns to pitch consistently to both sides of the plate, he could pitch at the big league level.”
The sophomore at UC-Santa Barbara was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 13th round, opting instead to maintain his commitment to the Gauchos. Anticipate that his stock will rise as he continues to improve upon and apply what he learned in Walla Walla.
The lanky righty wasn’t the only pitcher on the Sweets staff to make the list; RHP Darius Vines (Yavapai CC) made the list as the #8 prospect. He made an impression on Sweets fans and manager Frank Mutz.
“Darius was one of the most underrated pitchers in the WCL,” said Mutz. “His goal was to develop his changeup to go with an outstanding curveball and slider, and he did that.
“For the first time in his baseball career, he only pitched. His velocity improved as the season progressed and his command of both sides of the plate turned him into a top prospect.”
Vines was a WCL All-Star, and was a 27th round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2017 MLB Draft.
“While we are still waiting for the first former Sweet to pop on an MLB roster – and we are really close – Lincoln and Vines add their name to a long list of bright prospects that our fans will have the opportunity to say ‘I saw him at Borleske!’,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser. “We continue focused on winning a WCL Championship and bringing the best young players in the game to Walla Walla for our fans to see.”Read Less
We’re hiring! See below and join our team.
Job Opening – Walla Walla Sweets Baseball
Job Title: Front Office Coordinator – Walla Walla Sweets Baseball
Job Type: Hourly, part-time (20-24 hours/week)
Projected Start Date: Monday, 10/23/17
We love baseball and Walla Walla.
The Walla Walla Sweets Baseball Club has become an agent for positive change in the Valley and in the West Coast League since our inaugural season in 2010. Having drawn over 335,000 fans through eight seasons at Historic Borleske Stadium, the Sweets are Walla Walla’s team.
We are looking for a person to join our front office staff that seeks to make a great connection with our fans, with our community, and our partners – and help us be even better at having fun at the ballpark. With a centrally located office and Shoppe (5-10 minutes from anywhere in Walla Walla) in the heart of bustling downtown Walla Walla, you will be at the center of community activity and be an integral part in making 2018 our best season ever.
The details on the position:
Retail (Sweets Shoppe)
Manage retail inventory, including the online store – making sure that we are well-stocked with cool stuff and that our customers are happy with our merchandise lines!
Fulfillment of online orders
Assist customers that come into the Shoppe with daily merchandise and ticket orders
Execute day-end close procedures, including cash management
Assist the team GM and finance department with management of the ticketing database, including data entry of orders
Coordinate output of ticket products, including season ticket books, mini-plans, group tickets and other pre-season, pre-purchased product
Oversee office supplies and re-ordering when needed
Assist the team president and team GM with office administrative functions
Manage special projects as assigned by the team president
Other projects as assigned.
The skills needed:
Strong written and verbal communicator
Friendly and willing to create a great experience for fans at every touchpoint – even if it isn’t “their department”
Proficient with MS Office products, particularly MS Word, MS Excel, and Outlook
Ability to find ways to be productive even if it is slow – be a problem solver
A plus if you have it: bi-lingual (Spanish/English)
Starting at $11.75/hour – raise after the first 90 days based on performance
The Projected hours:
Targeting 20-24 hours per week in the afternoons (1:30 pm – 5:30 pm)
Saturdays in November/December (Shoppe is closed Saturdays Jan – Mar) and again starting in April (Saturday hours are 9:45 am – 2:15 pm)
Must be available to work Friday, 11/24/17 (the day after Thanksgiving)
Potential for additional hours as needed as we approach the start of the season
The projected start date: We’d like to be able to start this person on 10/23/17.
Additional: Season Tickets for immediate family to the Sweets regular season
Please apply here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Sweets2018
Following your application, please email your resume to email@example.com.Read Less
The Walla Walla Sweets have developed a strong reputation for creating opportunity both on and off the field
The Walla Walla Sweets have developed a strong reputation for creating opportunity both on and off the field. Having worked closely with the Lillie Rice Center over the past few seasons, the ball club has created opportunities for employment for members of the Walla Walla community that have developmental disabilities and have an incredible work ethic, skill set and passion for making Sweets games a fun community staple. That work was recognized with a nomination, received this week, from the Governor’s Office, as the team was nominated for the Governor’s Employer Award for the 2017 Small Private Employer of the Year.
“We are humbled and honored to receive this nomination,” said team president Zachary Fraser. “We’ve been lucky to have a strong genericos de cialis group of team members since we started in 2010, and the addition of our friends that have come from the Lillie Rice Center has only improved our fan experience.”
The relationship started following a Rotary presentation in 2015 by Jim Corey with WISE and Debbie Dumont, the Human Services Manager for the Walla Walla County, which focused on work opportunities for community members with developmental disabilities and the benefits to both employers and employees of such employment relationships. Fraser was in attendance, and floated the idea to his staff, who moved forward with a plan. The Lillie Rice Center was instrumental in assisting the Sweets to find the right candidates, and team members began working during the 2016 season.
The Lillie Rice Center is a non-profit corporation in the Walla Walla community dedicated to providing employment and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities while enhancing their quality of independence. In addition to their collaboration with the Sweets, the Center works with many businesses in the Walla Walla Valley in finding gainful employment. For more information on the center, please visit http://www.lilliericecenter.org/.
It is a program that Fraser would recommend to other employers in the Valley.
“In any small business, finding people that care about the success of the business on a personal level is a real plus. Our team members from the Lillie Rice Center are passionate, attentive to detail, and are fans of the team – which is a great combination for making sure that fans arriving are having a positive experience.
“They make our game-day business better and the same benefits can be realized by other employers in the Valley.”
The nomination will be celebrated at a ceremony in Redmond, WA on October 31 at 8:30 AM. Staff from the Sweets front office will be in attendance.Read Less
Sweets President Zachary Fraser to compete in fundraiser for VRS
You can’t really throw tomatoes, but you can certain come enjoy watching Sweets president Zachary Fraser try to impress the judges in Walla Walla’s own “Dancing with the W2 Stars” this Saturday night, October 7, at the Gesa Power House Theatre. The event is slated for 7 PM, with an after-party following the show.
The Sweets have (2) pair of VIP tickets – which include the after-party with drinks and appetizers and of course, dancing, with the stars themselves – for customers that make a $25 or more purchase at the Sweets Shoppe before Friday, October 6 by 3 PM at the downtown store.*
The competition is a fundraiser for Valley Residential Services. VRS is a community based non-profit organization offering supported living, transitional housing and family support opportunities in Walla Walla and Columbia Counties in Washington since 1982. With more than 200 employees (the vast majority of which are full-time), VRS is the 23rd largest employer in Walla Walla County.
Last year, Fraser was a judge in the inaugural event. This year, he has the pleasure of showing how un-athletic he has become as he approaches 40 years old. While he is a bit sore as the training continues, he has sharpened his trash-talking game, enjoying competitive barbs with friends Scott Peters of Columbia REA and Chris Coates of the Marcus Whitman Hotel.
“I can’t wait to see them lose.”
For those interested in purchasing tickets, please visit here: http://www.valleyresidential.org/donate-now/fundraising-events/dancing-with-the-w2-stars/
For those interested in donating to support Zachary in his fundraising effort, please visit here: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E245455&id=8
*Purchase at the Sweets Shoppe of $25 or more required to enter. Tickets cannot be exchanged for any other prize or cash. Purchase value of VIP tickets is $65/ticket. Must be 18 years or older. Winner will be drawn and announced Friday, October 6 at 3 PM. Tickets may be picked up at the Sweets Shoppe or left at Will Call at the Gesa Power House Theatre.