Stadium looks to field another Tacoma team on the rise. The Tigers finished in sixth-place in the highly-competitive 4A Narrows league in 2013 and coach Barry Fretwell sees a group of returning players that has put in the work to climb higher in the standings this season. Leading the team are senior pitcher Jake Vieth and senior catcher Matt Gunn, who both hit over .400 last year. Fretwell says they look even stronger this spring. Senior pitcher/outfielder Michael Van Orden returns after batting .382 and look for breakout seasons from sophomores Tyler “Smurf” Mick and Jacob Hinkle. With a strong offensive lineup, solid defense and pitching, look for the Tigers to move up in 2014.
Wilson was the top Tacoma team in the 3A Narrows in 2013 finishing in fourth place and advancing to the playoffs. Coach Doug Rupe believes he has the makings of an all-around competitor this year and expects every game to be a good matchup for the Rams. Senior pitcher Brady O’Keefe, a second-team Narrows selection last year, has the ability to keep Wilson in the game whenever he’s on the mound. Senior leadoff hitter Thomas Norisahn was a second-team Narrows pick and is one of the team’s best gloves and fast on the base-path. Junior infielder and first team Narrows selection Matt Stortini may be the “best defensive baseball player I have ever seen in high school,” said Rupe. Curtis High School transfer John Halseth takes over at first base and brings a power bat to the middle of the Rams lineup. With a trio of senior pitchers – O’Keefe, Jared Horner and Evan Stout, along with talented sophomore Mack Larson – Wilson plans on going after opposition batters with a steady diet of strikes backed-up by a solid defense. Sophomore Noah Hill takes over behind the plate and is expected to excel calling games for the Rams.
Foss finished in the middle of the 3A Narrows pack last season and coach Roy Young sees potential for a step up the ladder. With five solid seniors returning-catcher Ryan Phillips (two-time all-league), pitcher Marcus Ransom, pitcher Omar Morris, first baseman Brady Todhunter and outfielder Erik DeRusha, coach Young will field a veteran group ready to battle for a league or even a district playoff spot. Keep an eye out for sophomore utility player Austin Eisenmenger.
The Lincoln Abes are going to have to grow up real quick this season. Coach Ron Gee starts just one senior, Zach Bennett, who will at times be counted on to play nearly every position on the field. Junior shortstop and sophomore pitcher Mark Jones were both second-team Narrows selections last year. The Abes only won two games in 2013 and will rely upon new blood and enthusiasm to improve upon that mark. Look for sophomore Devan Brady and freshmen Austin Music, Zavier Huebner and Caleb Ford to step up for Lincoln.
New coach Todd Roos has high expectations for the Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds this season. The squad returns five solid seniors: shortstop Kasey Baily, pitcher Garret Granvold, third baseman Kyle Couture, catcher Kyle Bailey and outfielder Lawrence Cade-Batek. New faces expected to step up are junior Kasey Hanipale and freshman Garret Rohrs. Coach Roos is counting on his experienced players to improve upon the teams three victories from 2013 and has set a team goal to make the Narrows 3A playoffs this year. Fun fact – Roos has fewer names to remember with two Kyles, two Kaseys, two Garrets and two Baileys on the team.
CHARLES WRIGHT/LIFE CHRISTIAN
The Charles Wright Terriers and Life Christian Eagles will again field a joint squad this season as the CWA/LCA “A’s” and compete in the 1A Nisqually league. The A’s boast two 2013 Tacoma Weekly All-City selections in senior pitcher Taylor Roeloffs and junior second baseman Drex Davis. Junior shortstop Sam Absten was a second-team Nisqually pick along with sophomore catcher Henry Cheney. Coaches Tyler Francis and Gregg Leach expect the A’s to challenge for the league title as well as a run in the 1A state playoffs.
Crusaders coach Kraig Gillman must refill some slots on the 2014 squad, as six starters graduated last year from the Sea-Tac League champs. Last season TBS fell one game short of making the state tournament and Gillman doesn’t see his team dropping off. Cool and calm senior shortstop/pitcher Tommie Brazile, a first team all-league pick, returns along with number one pitcher BJ Peterson, a junior. Look for breakout seasons from senior center fielder Kavon Yazdi and all-league basketball player junior Dayton Pascua, who returns to baseball after a two-year hiatus. Freshmen Seth Talen and Ryan Ratliff are both expected to make an immediate impact. “We have a young, energetic, hard-working group of guys who believe they can compete with anybody,” Gillman said.