September 13, 2013, BELLEVUE, Wash. – The Seattle University baseball team battled through one of the hottest days of the year as the Redhawks opened fall practice for the 2013-14 season Wednesday at Bannerwood Park.
Head coach Donny Harrel begins his fifth season of competition at the helm of the Redhawk baseball program, welcoming 31 players to the six-week fall camp. His coaching staff now consists of Mike Nadeau as a full-time assistant, Elliott Cribby as the new pitching coach, and Jeff James being promoted from director of baseball operations to volunteer assistant coach.
“It was an exciting day, but it was also a reminder. We started the day reflecting on 9/11 12 years ago and how lucky we are to do the things we do and play this incredible game in our country. This is a working fall, as we look to improve on the areas we lacked in last spring. The guys are hungry to learn and really got after it today,” said Harrel.
Harrel brings back 18 letterwinners from the 2013 season, including the team’s entire starting outfield consisting of seniors Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) and Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) and sophomore Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.). Fields batted .305 with a team-high 14 stolen bases last season and earned the defensive player of the year award after covering significant ground in center field to collect 135 putouts. Somers played every game in 2013 for the Redhawks, batting .279 with 15 doubles and 38 walks, while Cray picked up rookie of the year honors after leading the squad with a .313 batting average.
On the pitching mound, senior Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.) returns after a solid second half of 2013 resulted in a 7-5 overall record, as he walked just 12 batters in 66 2/3 innings of work. Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.), the team leader with 31 appearances, also returns for the 2014 campaign, as does fellow lefties Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) and Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.) and righthanded pitchers Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) and Mason Stidham (Star, Idaho).
The newcomers for Seattle U include three players who were drafted in the 2013 MLB Entry Draft: Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.), Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.), and Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.). Carpenter and McCann will look to gain immediate playing time in the infield, while Finfer will potentially team with junior Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) to give the Redhawks a solid catching duo.
“I am really excited to see how our new players adapt to Division I baseball and the pace of the game,” Harrel said. “We need to get some of our arms healthy that got banged up this summer, but should have great competition at all positions. We look to keep this pace going and really improve over the next six weeks.”
The schedule for the Seattle University baseball team is being finalized and should be released shortly. The Western Athletic Conference consists of 10 schools for baseball: CSU Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State, Seattle U, Texas-Pan American, and Utah Valley. The WAC Baseball Tournament, featuring the top six eligible teams in the final regular season standings, will take place May 21-25 at a location to be announced.