Photo credit: 1460 ESPN Yakima 

Key players

Jadon Bugni C - Bugni is one of the top overall baseball recruits in the state. Last year he hit .431 with six home runs, en route to 2A Player Of The Year honors. Bugni had multiple Division I schools reach out to him, and he chose Washington State this past Summer.

Tyler Polacek OF/P - Polacek is a returning all state player. He’s highly productive on the field, and is also a clubhouse leader. He’ll be counted on to do many tasks this year, including being an ace pitcher, and a power source in the lineup.

Brady Helgeson SS/P - He’s another returning all state player that will once again hit at the top of the order. He's the teams top returning base stealer. Last year Helgeson played third base, but now he’ll move to shortstop and anchor the defense.

Overview

Anytime the signature pinstripes of Ellensburg Baseball takes the field, you know you’re about to see some good baseball being played.

Right now their amidst one of the most torrid stretches in program history, having won three of the past five state championships.

Every single year Ellensburg graduates an elite class, and yet new stars continue to emerge.

The Bulldogs will have the luxury of returning their top three pitchers. Those are seniors Tyler Polacek and Brady Helgson, as well as junior Davis Spencer.

Expect Polacek to toe the rubber on opening day. The lefty has an array of off-speed pitches he likes to use, and he complements his pitches with a deceiving windup.

Helgeson was incredibly productive during his junior year, spinning a quality 2.12 ERA across 46 innings. He knows how to paint corners to get guys out.

A couple big arms coming out of the bullpen (that will also make spot starts) are Davis Spencer and Hunter Gibson.

When you’re talking intimidating reliever that can blow past hitters, that’s exactly what Spencer is. The lanky 6-foot-6 junior has a fastball that regularly hits upper 80s.

Gibson is another hard throwing relief guy that had a solid 1.14 ERA last season.

Acting as the workhorse catcher will once again be Jadon Bugni. He’s going into his third year doing that role, and he knows how to do it right.

It’s not often a high school player can regularly hit home runs, but Bugni could actually hit double digits this year. He’s easily a CWAC MVP candidate.

The Bulldogs did graduate both middle infielders from last season, but there’s high confidence that Brady Helgeson, Ty Morrill, and Damon McLaughlin can replace them.

Usually you want your best defender to play shortstop, so that’s why Helgeson made the switch from third base to shortstop this year.

Regardless of who plays second base, it’s likely they’ll be quality players. Last year Morrill hit .333, while Mclaugin hit .348. There’s also some strong freshmen that are getting looks.

Projected at third base is Hunter Gibson. He primarily played there last year, but was DH’d for at the plate. Now he’ll be a full time starter.

Holding down first base is likely to be Davis Spencer. He’s got the exact type of range coaches look for in a first basemen.

Lining the outfield is going to be Riley Seed in center field, Tyler Polacek in right field, and a combination of Dillon Young and Damon McLaughlin in left field. Some rotating is expected here depending on who’s pitching.

Projection

The biggest difference maker for Ellensburg is they return three All League level pitchers. There’s not a team in their CWAC that’s even close to that. Selah lost their ace this year Reid Rasmussen, and East Valley is still looking for arms. Of course, Ellensburg’s aspirations go far beyond just winning their conference. With nearly their entire core returning, Ellensburg is easily a top five team in the state. The belief is strong they’ll be playing for a title come June.  

Key Games

Ridgefield Tournament 3/16

Selah 3/30

@ East Valley 4/6