Category Archives: baseball

LCC Baseball: Championship coach leaves for Tulane University

Oct 12, 2017 Longview Daily News

It was an opportunity Eddie Smith couldn’t pass up.

Smith, the baseball coach at defending NWAC champion Lower Columbia College, has accepted a position as lead assistant baseball coach and head recruiter at Tulane University in New Orleans.

“Tulane is one of the top programs in college baseball for the last 20 years, and when you get a chance like this, it’s something you get excited about,” LCC coach Eddie Smith said. “It all came to pass late last night (Wednesday).”

Like his LCC predecessor, Donegal Fergus, Smith will be an assistant coach at the Division I level. Fergus is currently on staff at the University of Washington. Smith’s successor as Red Devils’ leader is former LCC player and current Associate Head Coach Eric Lane.

“Eddie’s a rising star, and this is a great opportunity for him,” LCC Athletic Director Kirc Roland said. “He did a great job for us here, and we will be moving forward.”

Smith joins a Tulane program led by ex-LCC standout Travis Jewett. Another assistant coach, Billy Jones, is an LCC alum, and assistant Tighe Dickinson is a Montesano native who coached at Montesano and Edmonds College.

“I’ve known these coaches for a long time, and these types of hires are people you know and trust,” the 33-year-old Smith said. “The whole process went quickly with a mutual understanding. I’ll fly out Sunday, and be ready to go on Monday.”

This is not Smith’s first foray into Division I baseball. After earning a spot as a walk-on infielder at Notre Dame in 2005, he later served as director of baseball operations and later as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia. He also served as an assistant at Santa Clara University and Notre Dame before coming to LCC.

During his four seasons at LCC, Smith was 146-49 overall, and 83-19 in the West Region. He won NWAC Championships during the 2015 and ‘17 campaigns. In 2015, Smith was named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Diamond National Coach of the Year for the Pacific Association Division. He was also named the ABCA/Diamond Pacific Association Division Regional Coach of the Year, and was a three-time NWAC West Region Coach of the Year.

“Eddie is a bright young coach who is a great recruiter,” Roland said. “He’s also very detail-oriented, and it was all we were looking for when we hired him.”

Lane is excited about the opportunity, but he will miss Smith.

“It’s a little surprising for me, but it’s not surprising that Eddie was able to get a job like that,” Lane said. “It’s a great opportunity for him to move on and do that in his career.”

This is Lane’s first head coaching opportunity, and he’ll retain LCC’s other assistant coaches, Ian Sanderson and Kurt Lupinski.

“Eddie is a tough act to follow, but I’m happy for Eric who is a great Red Devil,” Roland said. “Eric will put his stamp on the program, and he’s been a large part of our success both as a player and as a coach.”

Some of Smith’s and Lane’s assignments with the team will be parsed out to the other assistants. Sanderson will take over mentoring pitchers, and Lupinski will tackle a larger role in recruiting.

“Coach Sanderson has pitching background and will help our pitchers,” Lane said. “Coach Lupinski has done a lot of our recruiting and see a lot of players during the summer. We’re excited to get out and continue to see future Red Devils.”

Smith said the toughest part about taking the new job was notifying the current group of Red Devils. He met with players at 7:15 Thursday morning.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Smith said. “It was hard for me because we had recruits come here because I told them I wanted them. Six or seven players visited me in the office, and many others sent texts after the meeting.”

Lane noted it will be business as usual for the next two weeks of fall ball, culminating with the annual 100-inning fundraiser on Oct. 26.

“We have a good group of sophomores and our system is in place,” he said. “The sophomores are our leaders and it will be a challenge for them, but I think they’re up to it.

“We don’t want to change a lot since we already have a good product.”

Everett’s Levi Lacey hired as Scout for Texas Rangers

Photo of Levi Lacey

Levi Lacey. Photo courtesy of William Frankhouser

EVERETT, Wash. – For the first time since 2002, the Everett Trojans baseball team will deliver the first pitch of the 2018 season without Levi Lacey as their Skipper. 

Earlier last week, Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers announced Lacey as their Four Corners Area Scout, based in Arizona and began official team business on October 9th.  The Rangers finished the 2017 season tied with the Seattle Mariners in the American League West standings and 7 games back from the final wild card playoff spot.

Coach Lacey resurrected a program that had been cut from EvCC Athletics after the 1982 season, first bringing the program to club status in 2001 and finishing 3rd in the North Region in their first season back to NWAC competition.   Just one year later, the Trojans made their first trip back to post season play in 37 years.

“Building a program from scratch was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done,” said Lacey. “It was a challenge to break through a tough North Region back in 2002 with so many teams that had a history of success, but I’m so proud that the Trojans are a part of that list today.”

Levi Lacey would go on to amass 474 wins, 4 North Region Titles, and capped off his tenure with an NWAC Championship in 2013.

photo of player hugging Levi Lacey during playoff game.

Photo courtesy of 9 Inning Know It All

Beyond the team’s performance on the field, Levi’s teams have also done well in the classroom. Over 80% of the sophomores graduated or transferred to four year schools and had GPA’s of 2.5 or higher. 

Everett Director of Athletics, Garet Studer, had this to say about Lacey’s parting.  “A coach like Levi, is not replaceable.  His dedication, and passion to the game and our student athletes is evident in everything he does on a daily basis.  The Trojan Nation is saddened by his departure, but excited and happy for Levi and his family.  This is an incredible opportunity, and certainly well deserved.”  

Photo of JoJo Howie

JoJo Howie

While the Trojan baseball program will certainly miss their leader of the past 17 years, a familiar face will be taking the reins.  Former Trojan and current assistant coach, JoJo Howie has been named Interim-Head Coach for the 2018 season.     

As a member of the Everett coaching staff, Howie has spent the last two seasons under, Lacey’s guidance. In those two seasons, the Trojans totaled 76 wins, with back to back appearances in the NWAC championship game, finishing runners-up both seasons.

“I feel great about JoJo taking over the program, and he reminds me a lot of myself when I was his age,” said Lacey.  “He demands respect, knows how to win, and cares about his players, all of which are attributes that I feel are necessary to be a great head coach.” 

Howie played two seasons for the Trojans and was a key starting pitcher on the 2013 NWAC Championship team with a 2.41 ERA and 43 strikeouts.  He went on to play Division I baseball at Virginia Commonwealth University where in 2014 he started in 15 games, pitched a team best 100 innings, had a 7-3 record with a 3.15 ERA.

“There are certain times when it is appropriate to hire from within,” Studer said. “This is certainly one of those times.  Coach Howie has shown incredible dedication and commitment to the program, both as a player here and as a part of the coaching staff.  We are confident that the Trojan Baseball program will continue its longstanding tradition of success under his leadership.” 

Another great turn out at Baseball Showcase 2017

Showcase bannerTerrific talent combined with perfect weather made for an outstanding 2017 NWAC Baseball Showcase on Saturday September 23rd at Lower Columbia College in Longview.

94 of the top players from across the NWAC were on hand at David Story Field to show their stuff in front 50 scouts from MLB and four year colleges and universities.

The Showcase featured two scripted games were each pitcher faced four batters and the position players received multiple at-bats.

In the first game, the East beat the South 3-2, although the format certainly did not mirror a regular college baseball game.  The big hit for the East was a two-run double by Zach Inskeep from Yakima Valley. Nathan Harrell of YVC and Kealen Martin of Walla Walla also had doubles.  Thomas Rudinsky of Lane hit a home run for the South. Damon Peters of Linn Benton had two singles and Jackson Soto of Lane hit a double.

The West edged the North 2-1 in the second scrimmage.  Ricky Muzzy of Lower Columbia provided an RBI single in the first inning. Collin Wolf of Tacoma had two singles and Taylor Mondina of Centralia had a double for the West. Jeffrey Cochran of Olympic drove in the South run with an RBI single.  Grant DeLappe of Bellevue had two singles while Daniel Head of Everett hit a double.

NWAC Baseball Showcase Rosters – September 23, 2017

2017 NWAC Baseball Showcase Graphic

The NWAC Baseball Showcase will be held on September 23, 2017 at beautiful David Story Field on the campus of Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA [map].

Unlike previous years, the showcase will not only feature sophomores, but also highly touted incoming freshman prospects.

Every season the event is well attended by pro scouts and four-year college coaches and this year they will get to see the very best the conference has to offer! Come on out and check out the only collegiate league in the entire nation that uses wood bats.

VIEW TEAM ROSTERS (Updated Sept 22 – 2:15pm)

Schedule of Events

8:45 am: South/East Player Check In

9:00 am: South Batting Practice

9:30 am: East Batting Practice

10:10 am: 60 yard dash

10:30 am: South Defense Workout

10:50 am: East Defense Workout

11:30 am: South (Home) versus East (Visitor) Showcase Scrimmage

1:00 pm: North/West Player Check In

2:20 pm: North Batting Practice

2:40 pm: West Batting Practice

3:00 pm: 60 yard dash

3:20 pm: North Defense Workout

3:40 pm: West Defense Workout

4:00 pm: North (Home) versus West (Visitor) Scrimmage

Mt. Hood alum Taylor Williams makes MLB debut with Milwaukee Brewers

Photo of Taylor Williams in Milwaukee Brewers uniform

Taylor Williams can now call himself a major leaguer.

The 26-year-old graduate of Camas High School made his debut for the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. The right-handed pitcher retired both batters he faced in the eighth inning of a 7-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

“It would have been nice to be involved in a win, especially how close the race is now,” Williams told “But it was good to get out there, get my feet wet and really be in control of my nerves.”

It has been a long road to the majors for Williams. He was a top-15 prospect in the Brewers system upon being drafted from Kent State in 2013.

He also played the 2012 season at Mt. Hood Community College where he posted a 6-1 record with a team high 52 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.68. Williams, The Southern Region MVP, helped lead the Saints to the Region title and an appearance in the NWAACC Championship game. He was an All-NWAACC selection as a utility player and earned ABCA Pacific Divison third team honors as a pitcer.

He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. This season, he appeared in 22 games for the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, posting a 3.09 ERA and striking out 57 in 46.2 innings.

Collegiate Sports Management Group Partners with the Northwest Athletic Conference

NWAC & Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) Logos

New York, NYCollegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) has entered into a multi-year marketing partnership agreement with the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). This partnership gives CSMG external exclusivity for managing and packaging the marketing, media and sponsorship rights and assets of the NWAC. The goals are to monetize all asset categories and generate incremental revenue for the conference, as well as enhance exposure for the athletic programs in the NWAC.

Marco Azurdia, Executive Director of the conference, announced, “We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with CSMG as we seek to increase recognition for the community colleges in our conference both regionally and nationally. This new agreement will allow us to further support our student-athletes on the field, in the classroom, and to help them compete at the highest level in the conference for years to come. This partnership is unique to community colleges and we are excited to be the first to enter into such a groundbreaking agreement.”

“We are pleased to be associated with the Northwest Athletic Conference and continue our coast-to-coast reach in the Pacific Northwest,” said Michael Schreck, CEO of Collegiate Sports Management Group. “The NWAC offers our sponsors and partners a broad range of rich assets, and we look forward to helping them build a revenue base regionally, as well as a national profile for their academics and athletics programs.”

About Northwest Athletic Conference
The Northwest Athletic Conference is the athletic governing body for thirty-six (36) community college located in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia competing in 10 men’s and women’s sports for 15 championships during the Fall, Winter, and Spring of the academic school calendar. The NWAC promotes the three ideals of Character, Competition, and Community.

About Collegiate Sports Management Group
CSMG is a “College Properties Group” that drives the business performance of collegiate athletic conferences and schools, providing them with a successful growth strategy, and generating revenue to support their athletic departments and initiatives. CSMG specializes in Marketing Rights/Revenue Generation, Content Creation and Distribution, Media Rights Strategy and Negotiation, and Sponsorship Sales.

Bryan Winston takes the helm of Spokane Baseball

The Community Colleges of Spokane Athletics Department is pleased to announce that Bryan Winston has accepted the position of Head Baseball Coach.  Winston has had a distinguished career in playing and coaching baseball throughout the Inland Northwest.  He is also no stranger to Bigfoot Athletics.

Winston graduated from Richland High School in 2003 where he was a three-year varsity letter winner.  He continued his playing career at the Community Colleges of Spokane in the spring of 2004 and 2005.  In 2004, Winston was named to the Second Team East Region All-Star team as an infielder.  In 2005, he earned both First Team East Region All-Star and First Team All-NWAC selections.  Winston transferred to Gonzaga University after CCS finishing his playing career with the Bulldogs and earning a degree in history in 2008.  In 2010, Winston finished a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education through Gonzaga University.

Winston has a great deal of coaching experience having coached with the Spokane Riverhawks (2009), the Kennewick Bandits (2010-12), and the Spokane Expos 19U team (2013-17).  Since 2009 he has been an assistant coach at the Community Colleges of Spokane working primarily with infielders and hitters.  He also teaches many classes for the college each quarter including Diversity in Sport and Stress Management.  

“This is a great opportunity for Bryan,” said Athletic Director Ken Burrus.  “He is an outstanding coach and teacher who will serve our students well.”
Winston replaces Bobby Lee who coached the Sasquatch for the past nine seasons.  Additional administrative duties as the Assistant Athletic Director/ Dean will keep Lee busy as he continues his work with CCS Athletics and the Community Colleges of Spokane.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to be the next Head Baseball Coach at the Community Colleges of Spokane,” said Winston.  “I appreciate everything that Bobby Lee has done for this program and for me.  I look to build upon the tradition of Spokane Baseball that so many players and coaches have developed.” 

Former Shoreline Dolphin Henry McAree Selected by the Miami Marlins

Former Shoreline Dolphins Baseball Player Henry McAree was recently selected in the 2017 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins in the 29th round.

McAree had a dominant Shoreline career which was capped off by an NWAC All Region Second Team Award in 2015. 

He was a two-year starter for the Dolphins compiling an 8-5 record with a 2.51 ERA in 111.2 innings, appearing 17 times with 15 starts and one save. He struck out 128 batters and only walked 44.

McAree threw a 7 inning no-hitter on May 11, 2013.

Following Shoreline, He pitched two seasons for Lewis-Clark State. In 2016, he had a solid season with a 8-0 record and a 3.00 ERA. The eight wins ranked second on the team.

He made 14 appearances, all but one in relief. McAree pitched 39 innings and gave up 34 hits and 13 earned runs, struck out 42 and walked only 9.

His top performance came against the College of Idaho on April 9 when he allowed just two hits over five innings. He also struck out four and walked one.

In 2017 McAree posted a 2.74 ERA over 23 inning pitched with 38 strikeouts and just 6 walks. Opponents hit just .125 off the 6’2" right hander.

McAree signed with the Marlins in June and was in fact recently promoted from the Gulf Coast League to Class A Short Season Batavia, a minor league affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

Edmonds standout Zach Needham selected by Seattle Mariners

Edmonds Community College infielder Zach Needham was selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball first-year player draft on Wednesday, June 14.

The sophomore was taken in the 40th round and becomes the 70th Triton baseball player drafted from the college.

The Puyallup High School product had a huge year for Edmonds CC after recovering from injuries in his freshman campaign, and this past fall.

Needham led the NWAC regular season in home runs (10) and RBI (55), and was fifth in batting average (.373). He has received a number of awards recognizing his performance on the field this year: Triton Baseball MVP, Triton Athletics Male Athlete of the Year, ABCA Pacific Association All-NWAC 1st-team infielder, and the Baden Sports NWAC Player of the Year.

image of Zach Needham in action
Zach Needham was drafted by the Seattle Mariners on June 14

Needham has already signed a scholarship to the University of Houston, a NCAA D-I school that competes in the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars, who tallied 42 wins this spring and took the regular season and conference tournament title, hosted an NCAA Regional for the second time in three years this spring and were one run short of heading to the Super Regional round.

Right-handed pitcher Alec Kisena was the last Triton to be taken in the draft when he was picked by the Detriot Tigers in 2015 (16th round).


Former Lane Titan Kyle Beam Signs with Milwaukee Brewers

image of Kyle Beam

By ODU Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. — Old Dominion catcher Kyle Beam has signed a professional contract with the Milwaukee Brewers organization as an undrafted free agent, the team announced this week.

Beam started 54 games during his two-year ODU career after transferring from Lane Community College prior to his junior season. A career .222 hitter, the Oregon native hit seven home runs and knocked in 30 RBIs during his tenure at Old Dominion.

This past season, Beam hit .225 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs.

Beam’s signing gives the Monarchs a total of four players who are set to join MLB clubs this summer. Beam joins Zach Rutherford (6th Round, Tampa Bay Rays), Jared Young (15th Round, Chicago Cubs) and Adam Bainbridge (30th Round, Kansas City Royals).