BASEBALL PREVIEW '10: SPSL North at a glance; 10 players to watch; Games to circle on the calendar

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, March 22, 2010 3:10pm
  • Sports
Kentwood's Zach Corpuz was a first-team All-SPSL North selection in the outfield last spring.

Kentwood's Zach Corpuz was a first-team All-SPSL North selection in the outfield last spring.

SPSL NORTH BASEBALL: AT A GLANCE

∙ FAVORITES: Kentwood.

∙ CONTENDERS: Kentlake, Kentridge, Federal Way, Tahoma.

∙ SLEEPER: Jefferson, Auburn.

∙ LEAGUE OUTLOOK: It's going to be a wire-to-wire, day-in, day-out battle. While Kentwood is the early favorite, Kentlake, Kentridge, Federal Way and Tahoma all could be on top come late April. Tahoma has won three of the last four SPSL North titles outright and earned a share of the other. That said, the Bears don't enter the season as the frontrunners, especially after graduating ace Chris Marangon and slugger Kyle Conwell, both of whom are now playing at Western Nevada College. Tahoma does return standouts Taylor Smart, Jared Casper and lefty Spencer Hobson and will challenge, but do the Bears have the pitching depth to win it? That's where Kentwood comes in. The Conquerors graduated ace Alexander Lee (Skagit Valley CC) and Kent Hagen, who was No. 3 on last year's staff, broke his leg in January and isn't expected to return. However, Kentwood still has a strong collection of arms, led by Austin Voth, who will play at UW next year. Voth, who also has lit up the radar gun at 90 mph., will be backed by Avery Kain and Matt Bell, among other plenty capable arms. Meanwhile, Kentlake might have the toughest 1-2 punch in the league with Zach Wright and Doug Christie, who'll join Voth at UW. Kentlake graduated 11 seniors, so Wright and Christie will have to carry the Falcons to the top — something that's not out of the question. Kentlake also received transfer Ryne Shelton from Timberline. Shelton whiffed eight in four scoreless innings of work in his season debut on Monday. Kentridge, however, could find its way to the top as well. The Chargers graduated just one position player from last year's team and have good pitching (Matt Jackson) and one of the area's top shortstop (Stetson Olson) to build around. Meanwhile, with UW-bound ace Jeff Brigham at Thomas Jefferson and rising star Nick Tanielu at Federal Way, neither the Raiders nor the Eagles can be counted out.

∙ NOTABLE: Tim Akins, who spent the last six years assisting at Kentwood, has taken over at Kent-Meridian. A 1996 K-M graduate who played college at Central Washington University, Akins has the Royals pointing in the right direction. ... Former Kentridge standout David Patton, who pitched for the Chicago Cubs last year, was optioned to Double-A Tennessee this past Sunday. Patton posted a 3-1 record with a 6.83 ERA in 20 games last year. ... Since 2000, the SPSL North has accounted for 21 state berths. During that span, the North has produced two fourth-place finishes, three third-place finishes, three second-place finishes and one championship (Kentwood, 2000). ... The SPSL North is always deep, though it may be even deeper this spring as the majority of last year's all-leaguers are back on the diamond.

∙ RETURNING ALL-LEAGUERS: First-teamers — Doug Christie, Kentlake, pitcher; Jeff Brigham, Thomas Jefferson, pitcher; Jerad Casper, Tahoma, second base; Travis Hagel, Auburn, second base; Bryant VanEngelenburg, Kentwood, shortstop; Nick Tanielu, Federal Way, shortstop; Drew Cratsenberg, Federal Way, outfield; Zach Corpuz, Kentwood, outfield. Second-teamers — Shayne Olson, Kentridge, pitcher; Zach Wright, Kentlake, pitcher; Spencer Hobson, Tahoma, pitcher; T.J. Horsfall, Federal Way, second base; Stetson Olson, Kentridge, shortstop; Craig Rasmussen, Kentridge, outfield; Marshall Klontz, Auburn, outfield; Harold Adams, Thomas Jefferson, outfield; Andrew Martin, Kentridge, designated hitter.

∙ ON THE WEB: If you're looking to track players from around the Northwest, look no further than www.baseballnorthwest.com. The Web site is the most comprehensive prep baseball site around and worth a bookmark.

∙ CIRCLE ON THE CALENDAR:

Kentwood at Federal Way, March 23, 4 p.m.: Both teams return majority of players from last year and are expected to be in the top half of the league.

Kent-Meridian at Auburn Riverside, April 5, 4 p.m.: The improving Royals should give the Ravens a stiff early April challenge.

Kentridge at Thomas Jefferson, April 21, 4 p.m.: Two teams that should be in the hunt for a playoff berth come mid-April, this showdown could be pivotal.

Tahoma at Kentwood, April 27, 4 p.m.: With two games remaining after this one, Bears vs. Conks could decide the SPSL North champion.

SPSL NORTH: PLAYERS TO WATCH

NAME/POS./SCHOOL/YR.

Zach Wright/Pitcher/Kentlake/Senior

Notable: UW-bound ace has 88-90 mph. heat to go with deadly change-up.

Doug Christie/Pitcher/Kentlake/Senior

Notable: KL's second ace is pure power and also will be heading to UW.

Dylan Tanner/Shortstop/Kent-Meridian/Senior

Notable: Athletic infielder is leader of a program that's on the rise.

Austin Voth/Pitcher/Kentwood/Senior

Notable: KW ace brings it in low-90s and will also play at UW next year.

Stetson Olson/Shortstop/Kentridge/Senior

Notable: WSU-bound senior hit .462 in league last year.

Bryant VanEngelenburg/Shortstop/Kentwood/Senior

Notable: KW standout flat rakes, batted SPSL North-best .623 last year.

Taylor Smart/Shortstop/Tahoma/Senior

Notable: Slick fielder who hit .365 last year has signed on with UNLV.

Jared Casper/Second base/Tahoma/Senior

Notable: First-team All-Leaguer heading to Bellevue CC next year.

Jeff Brigham/Pitcher/Jefferson/Senior

Notable: Another UW-bound pitcher, whiffed 42 in 25 2/3 IP last year.

Nick Tanielu/Shortstop/Federal Way/Junior

Notable: Gifted athlete led North in home runs (7) as a sophomore.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentnews.us.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://kentnews.us/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter
Jaylen Petty drives against Lincoln inside the Tacoma Dome.
Two-time NPSL MVP to leave Auburn High School for Rainier Beach

Jaylen Petty will play his last high school season as a Viking in Seattle.

Skylar Diggins-Smith conducts the offense against the Sparks. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Storm pour it on in the fourth, wash out Sparks

Seattle used a huge 10-0 run late in the fourth to take control over Los Angeles.

Federal Way Memorial Field. Photo provided by Bruce Honda
Federal Way Memorial Field to host high school boys soccer tournaments

Class 2A, 1A competitions to move to Federal Way from Renton for 2025 to 2028

Kentwood and Kentridge players go at it for possession. Ben Ray / The Reporter
NPSL All-League Soccer Teams: Kentwood's Logan Hasting is POTY

Other Kent School District athletes make the list.

Photo provided by Rodney McCurry.
Seattle Majestics play in postseason

Seattles women’s tackle football team goes to Las Vegas to open up the playoffs.

2024 Kent News Athletes of the Year are Ella Wick and Ethan Loghry. Pictured left to right: Kent News sports writer Ben Ray, Ella Wick, Ethan Loghry, and Brian Smith, Kent School District Director of Athletics and Activities. Photo provided by ROBBY MULLIKIN
Kent School District and Kent News's 2024 Athletes of the Year

Kentlake’s Ethan Loghry and Ella Wick take home top awards.

Hazen’s Illia Biezak leaps over the bar. Ben Ray / The Reporter
State track and field: Liberty boys, Kent-Meridian girls place inside top four in 3A

Cassie Atkins (FW) continued to dominate, has now won five titles in three years.

Brock England. COURTESY PHOTO, Canadian Sport School Hockey League
Kent-based Thunderbirds load up on Western Hockey League draft picks

Eleven players taken in Prospects Draft; two in U.S. Priority Draft, both from Dallas team

T20 World Cup trophy waits for fans to take photos. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Seattle Orcas, ‘America's Favorite Cricket Team,' builds local support

Event held at Bellevue Downtown Park can be catalyst for the world’s second most popular sport.

Ethan Loghry on the bump pitched a gem for the Falcons. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentlake baseball stays alive with a walk-off win

Falcons move on to winner-to-state game.

Keilor Cacho Garcia takes on a Stadium defender. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Royals soccer sent home in whirlwind of a second half

Kent-Meridian loses to Stadium 3-1, allowed three goals in six minutes in second half.

Quay Miller taking a shot during warmups in Canada. Photo provided by Seattle Storm.
Kentridge's Quay Miller fights for spot with Storm

Miller wrapped up her college career in March and now sets her sights on the professional level.