Naches Valley Baseball Returns 7 All-League Players in Quest for State Title
Naches Valley's 2017 campaign ended in a daze.
Pitted against #1 Freeman and their Gonzaga Commit McKabe Cottrell, the boys of Naches Valley played with a chip on their shoulder.
The state playoff game went 10 innings, featured a combined 35 strikeouts, and ended in a painful 2-1 defeat.
"The guys took it pretty hard," said Naches Valley Coach Jake Fife, "but these guys have come out this year and worked hard. If we play like we know we can, we'll have a chance in the end."
A huge storyline for Naches Valley is the return of seven all-league players. Something that has launched them up several pre-season rankings.
Two workhorse pitchers Naches Valley will lean on is Evan Devolve and Kobe Kohls.
"This is actually my first year pitching on varsity," said Kobe Kohls, "we needed another pitcher, so I put in work over the Summer to prep myself."
Evan Devolve will take the opening day start for the second straight year.
Handling catching duties will be Gavin Christopherson. Hitting .311 with 19 RBI as a junior, Christopherson will be a power source for this Naches Valley lineup.
Manning first base will be the only sophomore in the lineup Caleb Deaton.
"Deaton is making his baseball debut this season," Evan Devolve said, "his height stands out at 6-3, and he's got the intangibles, so he's putting it together."
Playing the middle infield will be the veteran combo of second baseman Kobe Kohls and shortstop Christian Casey. Both players received first-team all-league honors this past season.
Along with his pitching duties, Evan Devolve will also take the brunt of the innings at third base.
Devolve played very little in the field as a junior, but is confident he can take the extra workload.
Lining up in the outfield will be Jake Stohr and Jarrett Symons in the corner spots, with Sean Coyne running centerfield.
"The first thing you need to know about our outfield is they are really fast," said Christian Casey, "Stohr and Symons are great in the field and they can bunt like no one's business. Coyne is a leader out there, he's been doing it for a while."
With all the hype coming through the Naches Valley Baseball, Coach Fife is excited not just for this season, but the direction of the program as a whole.
"We only had 18 kids come out last year, barely enough to field two teams. This year we had 34 kids come out, and some of them are just getting into it for the first time. I love that my senior class is taking leadership to make this team special for years to come."
When asked if he felt this was a state championship caliber team, Coach Fife had this to say:
"We've got the athletes and talent to do it. These guys love the game and they're working hard right now. I don't see why we wouldn't have a shot, if we do what we're capable of."