The Sweets have put an infield together that has a potential to not only save a lot of runs, but score and produce a fair share as well. The infield looks to improve from a position group that last season had its problems in both of those facets.
“Last season we could score runs but continued to give teams extra opportunities to score,” manager Frank Mutz said. “At times are pitching had to get 4 and 5 outs each inning. Our focus this off season was to shore up the defense particularly the infield and I believe we accomplished that.”
One of the most impressive parts about this group looking at it from afar is the ability of the players to field at multiple positions. There is Myles Hager (Cal State Monterey Bay) who played second, shortstop and third for the Sweets last season and he is joined by Nick Nyquist and Patrick Chung (Gonzaga) who can also play different positions. Jarren Duran and Chris Fife (Long Beach State) can both play up the middle on either side and so can Coby Kauhaahaa (Cal State Fullerton). Ben Baird (Washington) presents young talent up the middle and Cole Rutherford (Cornell) brings veteran leadership to first base.
Mutz is pleased with the polished playing style that these players bring into Walla Walla.
“I believe all of these guys are special players,” he said. “What I like about all of them, is they are all MLB prospects and not projects. They are all steady players which will give our ball club a chance to be competitive every game.”
This allows Mutz and the rest of the coaching staff to trust their durability throughout the season, but it also gives him options in the different positions. He says that there are no favorites for the starting positions currently, but he is sure that a lot of the players will get significant playing time over the long season.