Naches Valley Baseball Looking For New Stars To Emerge
Garrett Wolfe C/P - He’s a returning All League player that hit a high quality .429 last season. Wolfe is going to be a workhorse both as a pitcher and catcher. It’s a lot of responsibility, but the Rangers need him to step up.
Colton Lucas DH - Lucas had off-season shoulder surgery, which will keep him off the infield. He’s going to be the full time DH, and his ability to get on base is uncanny. A .481 On Base Percentage will allow him to be a fixture at the top of the order.
Caleb Deaton 3B/SS/P - He’s a highly versatile defender capable of playing all nine positions. He’ll likely carve out a role at third base or shortstop. Highly productive at the plate with a .328 average and 17 RBI last season.
It’s never a good sign when you graduate six All League players, which is what happened to the Rangers this past off-season.
There isn’t a whole lot of concern heading into the 2019 season however. Naches Valley is a true 1A powerhouse, and they’re all about upholding tradition.
Jake Fife is heading into his third year as the head coach. He’s accumulated a 40-7 record over his first two seasons.
He’s going to have to replace his top two pitchers in now Wenatchee College players Evan DeVolve and Kobe Kohls.
Senior Garrett Wolfe’s name is being thrown around as a potential opening day starter. Last year he only pitched a handful of innings, and finished with a 5.25 ERA.
Wolfe will pitch to contact and allow his defense to back him up.
Also look for junior Caleb Deaton to receive starts. He’s been working on throwing consistent strikes this off-season, and he’s eager for the chance to be a starter.
Coming out of the bullpen will be junior Mitchell Cruzen in the closing role.
Holding down catching duties will once again be Garrett Wolfe. He’s had some pretty amazing accomplishments behind the plate, including catching a perfect game last year.
When Wolfe is starting at pitcher, sophomore Danny Cypher will take his spot at catcher. Cypher’s experience at the varsity level isn't there yet, but it’s worth mentioning he’s played the catcher position his whole life.
Returning at first base could potentially be Caleb Deaton, because that’s the position he played last year. Although it’s more likely the coaching staff moves him to third base or shortstop, and allow a new player to play first base.
One of the candidates to take over at first base is Jerry Tatum. He’s a well built 6-foot-1 210 pound senior that’s been waiting for a chance to shine. He’ll likely fill the cleanup role in the lineup.
Lining up the middle infield may be the combination of Deaton at shortstop, and Mitchell Cruzen at second base.
Deaton has played shortstop growing up, so he says that he feels comfortable returning to his old position. Cruzen should be highly reliable at the plate, as he performed well in pinch hit situations last year.
There’s still a wide open competition going on at third base. It may take a few games for that position to be solved. Early candidates include Jack Jenkins and Danny Cypher.
Naches Valley graduated their entire outfield, so it’s going to be brand new faces across the board.
Tucker Austin acted as a fourth outfielder type last year, and will now be patrolling centerfield. Expect him to be a force on the basepaths as well.
Another outfielder that’s establishing a role for himself is senior Austin Melusky in left field. He’ll hit in the 6 or 7 hole, and try and give rallies second life.
Right field is another position that’s wide open, with plenty of young guys jostling for position. It’s likely the Rangers will roll with whoever the hot bat is.
The vibe going around the clubhouse is these players want to prove the doubters wrong. It’d be easy to discount the Rangers given the amount of question marks on the roster, but these aren’t ordinary young players. Many of them could’ve started on other teams last year. Looking at their conference schedule, it’s likely Zillah will give them their biggest fight. If the newcomers produce like they can, there’s no reason why Naches Valley make a deep playoff run.
@ La Salle 4/30