Bellevue Welcomes Large Incoming Recruiting Class for 2010
August 22, 2009
Deep Recruiting Class of 16 Joins 11 Returners as Fall Season Begins
Bellevue College baseball will begin their defense of the 2009 NWAACC title on Tuesday September 15 with a large incoming class of 16 new players. "We knew early on we were going to get hit hard with graduation, so we went out early and got pretty much every player we wanted heading into spring," notes Coach Mark Yoshino. "Although we are young, this squad could be as good as last year's". Coming from east of the mountains will be Bellevue's second player from West Valley (Yakima) HS in all-stater Cory Urquhart. The infielder is one of the top hitters in the state and will be an immediate impact player. "We are excited to have Cory and Cody (Edwards - a first team North Region DH for Bellevue last year) from West Valley. Coach Klayton Wyckoff, who I played against in college, always has good teams over there, and their summer coach Mike Archer of the Pepsi Paks legion team does a first-class job of running a program; it's no surprise that these guys flourish when they enter the program," says Yoshino. Dan Schmidt and Garrett Patterson are two solid players with sound approaches at the plate. "These two guys come in as polished players under the tutelage of Bill Stubbs, my former coach. They are ready-made players who should contribute immediately. Patterson is yet another DI transfer who should stand out here, like the other transfers do here at Bellevue," says Yoshino. Jake Collier, is one of Bellevue's record-high five two-way players who will pitch and play in the field this upcoming spring. Collier is a second baseman who can hit, run, and is a gamer like no other. "What we love about Collier is not only his clean swing, fielding, and pitching delivery, but his mentality more than anything; he keeps things simple, he plays hard, and he's confident - he's everything we look for in the intangibles of what makes a college player successful," adds Yoshino. Kyle Johnson, another well-rounded player from Mt. Rainier HS, is a two-way player who was originally recruited to pitch only. However, after earning all-state honors as an infielder and establishing himself as one of the top offensive threats this summer for RIPS Brewers, Johnson will play both third base and pitch. Nick Smith is an all-state player out of Eastlake HS who led the KingCo 4A in hitting this spring, and will float from middle infield to outfield with his above average running speed. Will Minice is an All-KingCo 3A corner infielder who is considered a local product to the truest sense. From Sammamish HS, located just down the street, Minice is a left-handed bat with a strong body who is your proto-type corner left-handed swinging corner infielder. Zach Aaker, one of Bellevue's first signees, is expected to come in and be an impact middle-of-the-order hitter for Bellevue. "We are getting a major college left-handed hitter in Aaker, who hit in the heart of the lineup for Chaffey Baseball this summer with Chase Anselment, Jacob Lamb, and James Robbins, who are all left-handed hitters at either Washington or in the pros," adds Yoshino.
Incoming catchers include Ballard HS throwing phenom Emmett Niland and Alex Ross (Lake Washington HS). Niland possesses a cannon arm who can throw out runners at second base off his knees in consistent times of 1.9 seconds from home plate to second base. Ross has emerged from a senior-dominated team at Lake Washington HS as a scholarship recipient at the college level. "His upside is tremendous, not only because of his previous coaching (his father Joe Ross, was one of the top hitting and catching coaches on the west coast while serving as Associate Head Coach at UW for almost 20 years), but the fact that injuries have only allowed this guy to play one year of high school baseball; he has nowhere to go but up," comments Yoshino.
The Bulldogs have only two incoming outfielders in Blake Gray (Lindbergh HS) and all-stater Colin Hering, who comes from Newport HS; a team that finished in the final four in their first year as a 4A classification school. Hering is a two-way player who also emerged as one of Newport's top pitchers down the stretch while Gray is an unknown to many. He is the brother-in-law of former Bellevue outfielder and major leaguer Jason Ellison, who is still playing at the AAA level after starring at Bellevue over 10 years ago. "He plays just like Jason," says Yoshino, "a runner who can track balls like no other, a hustle-high energy guy, a hitter from gap-to-gap, and a plus arm. He's going to be the surprise of the league "
On the mound, Bellevue has several new arms that have exceptional pitch ability. In addition to the two-way players previously mentioned, the Bulldogs also will welcome left-handers Tyler Manke, Casey Bohlmann, and Blake Fulghum along with righty Kyle Swannack. "What's most impressive is that all four of them are strike-throwers who know how to win and pitch. The catchers will love this year's staff since it's not a bunch of project guys who don't know where the ball is going," says Yoshino.