Our spring sports “previews” our running this week. I used the quotation marks around preview because the season began in mid-March and unfortunately for spring sports, that’s right in the middle of the basketball state tournaments. If you read the paper or visited this site during the tournaments, you know that we go all-out on state hoops.
That said, we’re starting with our baseball preview, and softball, track and boys soccer will follow this week. We’ll dive deeper into spring sports next week and throughout the rest of the season.
Here are some story lines to follow during the baseball season:
1. No shortage of top-tier talent in the South Sound.
Central Kitsap’s Drew Vettleson leads a talented class of seniors. The power-hitting outfielder is also an ambidextrous pitcher. Vettleson has signed with Oregon State and will be joined in Corvallis, Ore., by Fife P Cam Booser and Gig Harbor P Scott Schultz. Going to the University of Washington are Kentlake P Zach Wright, Sumner C Alex Sloan, Kentwood P Austin Voth and Jefferson P Jeff Brigham. Puyallup 3B/P Sal Arena, Auburn Mountainview P Brandon Williams and Kentright INF Stetson Olson will play at Washington State. Tahoma INF Taylor Smart signed with UNLV and Bonney Lake P Brian Davis will throw at South Dakota State.
2. Can Puyallup return to the Class 4A Final Four?
The Vikings rolled to their first state championship game appearance last season, falling to Richland, 4-3. Puyallup has the ingredients to make another trip to SafeCo Field, starting the season with a 6-1 record. Sal Arena and Scott Kuzminsky will anchor the pitching staff, while Andrew Barry, Tyler Peterson, Sean Rehon, Rob Ingram and Arena will provide the bulk of the offense. Puyallup has reached the state tournament in six of the last nine seasons.
3. Can Sumner make its first trip to state in 25 seasons?
The slugging Spartans are in position to reach the state playoffs for the first time since 1985. Sumner has won its first seven games, scoring at least seven runs in each and hitting double-digits in four contests. C Alex Sloan and 1B Brad Falk give the Spartans plenty of pop. Sloan, who will play at Washington, already has hit four home runs.
4. What team will win the SPSL North?
Jefferson, Kentlake, Kentridge and Kentwood can all lay claim to being the league’s top teams. The Raiders, Falcons and Conquerors hare top-heavy with pitching, while the Chargers might have the league’s top offense. The four schools are a combined 18-1. The only loss? Kentlake’s 2-0 victory over Kentridge last week. Doug Christie tossed a two-hit shutout to beat the Chargers. Those are the kind of performances that will be needed to claim the SPSL North league title.