PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State baseball program had 13 student-athletes each sign a National Letter of Intent to play for the Cougars beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut announced, Wednesday.
The class includes 10 in-state signees, a pair of Californians, and a prep from Colorado. The student-athletes are right-handed pitcher Sam Boone (Shoreline, Wash.), outfielder Derek Chapman (Issaquah, Wash.), catcher Alan Crowley (Clovis, Calif.), outfielder Daniel Fredrickson (Woodinville, Wash.), outfielder/catcher Justin Hancock (Kennewick, Wash.), outfielder Weston Hatten (Clovis, Calif.), shortstop Haakon Lande (Snohomish, Wash.), right-handed pitcher Nick Leonard (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), left-handed pitcher Drew Lunde (Sammamish, Wash.), third baseman Shane Matheny (Bremerton, Wash.), outfielder/first baseman/left-handed pitcher Tyler McDowell (Puyallup, Wash.), left-handed pitcher Scott Sunitsch (Federal Way, Wash.) and right-handed pitcher Ryan Walker (Arlington, Wash.).
“I am very excited about this class,” Marbut said. “I cannot give enough credit to our coaching staff, Pat Waer, Gregg Swenson and Michael Naughton, for all their work. Our support staff, strength & conditioning, athletic training and equipment room, do a great job to sell our program. This group of recruits has a good balance between hitting and pitching as well as left-handed and right-handed elements on the mound and at the plate. They are also tremendous in the classroom with an average GPA of 3.38.”
Boone posted a 10-0 mark with a 1.05 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 60 innings last year at Shorewood High School. He was an All-Wesco 3A, All-Everett Herald, All-Seattle Times and all-state selection.
“Sam is a 6-foot-8, right-handed pitcher much in the (current WSU pitcher) Scott Simon mold,” Cougar Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Gregg Swenson said. “He creates great angle and shows terrific pitch ability. From a highly successful high school program led by Wyatt Tonkin, he has had great success throughout his career.”
Chapman batted .350 as a junior and was an All-KingCo Second Team selection while helping Issaquah High School reach a state qualifying game.
“Derek is an outfielder who also possesses that speed tool that you can’t teach,” Cougar Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Pat Waer said. “He is a defensive back on his high school football team and a very tough kid.”
Crowley earned All-Tri-River Athletic Conference and All-Valley First Team honors and was a second team all-state selection at Clovis High School last season.
“Alan is from a storied program at Clovis High School,” Waer said. “He plays for legendary coach James Patrick. He has a toughness that defines being a Coug. He is a right-handed hitting catcher who is very advanced defensively. His arm is his best weapon and will impact our roster as soon as he gets on campus. He is also a safety on the football team (produced Super Bowl starting quarterback Daryl Lamonica) and averages about 10 tackles a game.”
Fredrickson batted .347 in 2013, collecting 26 hits in 23 games, and added a .402 on-base percentage. His 16 stolen bases were second in KingCo 4A. He led the league in runs scored and was a second team all-league honoree. He is also a member of the Bothell High School tennis team.
“Daniel is a prototypical leadoff hitter,” Waer said. “He is a 6.6, 60-yard dash runner and a left-handed hitter that sprays the ball around the field. He projects as a true center fielder.”
Hancock is a three-time All-Mid-Columbia Conference selection, including a first team member each of the last two seasons. He helped lead Kennewick High School to a third place finish in the state playoffs.
“Justin is an outfielder and catcher,” Waer said. “He is a left-handed hitter who has versatility to impact our roster immediately at multiple positions.”
Hatten batted .320 in Tri-River Athletic Conference play with a .485 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter last season at Clovis West High School. He joins Waer and former Washington State and current Buffalo Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel as Clovis West Golden Eagles who made their way to the Palouse.
“Weston is a physical, right-handed hitting outfielder with a power/speed combination that will play nicely at Bailey-Brayton Field,” Waer said. “He is a blue collar kid who possesses the toughness and work ethic needed to be successful at the Division I level.”
Lande batted .344 with a pair of home runs and 22 RBI at Snohomish High School last season. He was also 6-for-6 in stolen bases and was named All-Wesco North First Team and second team all-area.
“Haakon (HAWK-en) is a right-handed hitting shortstop who seems to hit two doubles every time I see him play,” Waer said. “He defines toughness and possesses a blue collar work ethic. That will be a great compliment to members of this recruiting class and returnees we will have on our 2015 roster.”
Leonard pitched primary as a starter at Mountain Vista High School last season after appearing mostly as a reliever during his first two seasons. He averaged better than a strikeout per inning in 2013.
“Nick is very polished with a clean delivery and easy velocity,” Swenson said. “He is a mature player who is determined and disciplined on and off the field. He shows great leadership ability and is well liked by his coaches and peers.”
Lunde struck out 41 batters in 32 1/3 innings as a junior at Skyline High School. He posted a 1.73 ERA and held opponents to a .138 batting average. His season included a one-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts.
“Drew is a complete bulldog on the mound,” Swenson said. “He is a two-sport star who brings his football mentality to the diamond. He pitches with a great feel for the game and has led all his teams to great heights during his prep career.”
Matheny was the MVP of the Olympic League after batting .580 with 28 RBI and 11 stolen bases at Olympic High School. He garnered first team all-league and all-state selections.
“Shane is an advanced hitter for his age,” Waer said. “He projects as a third baseman at the Division I level. He has a great combination of contact consistency and left-handed power.”
McDowell was South Puget Sound League South First Team at utility and an all-league second team selection as an outfielder. He batted .343 with a .528 on-base percentage. He added a pair of home runs and knocked in 22 runs.
“Tyler will be a two-way player for us,” Waer said. “He is a left-handed hitting corner outfielder/first baseman with a power/speed combination that will complement the middle of our order nicely. As a left-handed pitcher, he may be a rotation guy as a sophomore. He is a natural strike thrower with a three-pitch mix up to 88 miles per hour.”
Sunitsch was a South Puget Sound League Second Team pitcher last season while averaging 10.90 strikeouts per nine innings at Todd Beamer High School.
“Scott pitches with an attitude and has an edge about him that we love,” Swenson said. “He will bring a very competitive mentality to our program and shows great desire to be the best. He has bought into our program from day one.”
Walker led Arlington High School with a .437 batting average and was named All-Wesco Conference First Team as an infielder in 2013. He was a second team all-league pitcher and expects to be on the mound when he reaches Pullman.
“Ryan has a low angle delivery that creates great deception,” Swenson said. “He has a plus arm speed that will allow him to add velocity once his strength catches up to him. He has pitched for some great teams in his prep career and has a high ceiling as a Coug.”