East Valley Baseball on a Mission to Claim 2018 CWAC Throne
East Valley was a consensus top 5 team in the state the entire 2017 season.
The problem was they shared a conference with the #1 and #2 team's, Ellensburg and Selah.
East Valley would go on to finish third in the CWAC, before falling to Quincy in the district playoffs.
"We graduated 9 seniors from last year's team," said East Valley Coach Jesse Benedetti, "this is a very young team, but these kids have bought into the tradition. I am fully confident by the end of the season we'll be a team to reckon with."
An anchor on this team is senior catcher Max Hagler. Acting as part-time catcher in 2017, Hagler will take a full-time responsibilities behind the dish this season. He hit an eye-popping .426 across 54 at-bats in 2017.
Lining up at first base will be 6-7 senior Shane Maybee. Maybee finished second on East Valley in RBI this past season, and will be counted on to deliver the same run production.
Projected up the middle infield will be sophomore Brock Albrcht at second base, and junior Nate Uriostegui at shortstop.
"Brock is a young guy, but he's come up through the (East Valley) system," senior Zach Himes said, "Nate got some work on varsity last year, so he's definitely a guy we trust at shortstop."
Another sophomore taking the infield will be Jacob Changala at third base. A player that teammate Max Hagler spoke highly of.
"He's got a really good throw across the diamond, he's a solid fielder as well. He'll be a guy we can count on to make solid contact."
Two cornerstone piece's of East Valley's outfield will be center fielder Zach Himes and right fielder Chase Oldham. Both will be returning all-conference players.
"This will actually be my first year starting in centerfield," said Zach Himes, "Chase Oldham has been playing in right field for several years now, so we definitely have solid leadership out here."
Holding his own in left field will be sophomore Moses Alexander.
"Moses just brings the speed in the field and on the base path, and he's got a consistent arm as well," said Chase Oldham.
Featured on the mound will be Zach Himes as the opening day starter, with Shane Maybee and Chase Oldham coming out behind him.
The first man coming out of the bullpen will most likely be Connor Batali. A pitcher described as having over-powering stuff for the late inning close games.
The pieces are in place for a CWAC title run, and it appears once again the top of the division will be stacked with East Valley, Selah and Ellensburg. This is something that senior captain Max Hagler had no problem acknowledging.
"Ellensburg and Selah have really taken over the conference, they've each won a CWAC crown over the past two seasons. We're hoping this team can beat them both. Doesn't necessarily have to be a sweep of both, but it'd be great to sweep one of them."