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.


∙ 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 The Web site is the most comprehensive prep baseball site around and worth a bookmark.


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.



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.

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