WCCBL Pitcher of the Year Tommy Hanson of Riverside CC and WCCBL MVP Steve Marquardt of Columbia Basin College were respectively rated the country’s #3 and #4 Junior College prospects in Baseball America’s 2006 College Baseball preview issue. Both are sophomores and draft-and-follow student-athletes. Hanson was drafted last June by the Atlanta Braves in the 22nd round and has committed to Arizona State for 2007. Marquardt of the WCCBL champion Wenatchee AppleSox was selected in the 23rd draft by the Texas Rangers and has committed to Oregon State University for 2007.
Hanson was also named pre-season Junior College Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America and was part of the publication’s pre-season JC All-America team. The 6’6″ right-hander from Redlands, California pitched for the Aloha Knights last summer and was the only JC pitcher named to Baseball America’s 2005 College Summer All-America First-Team. Hanson went 5-1 for the Knights and led the WCCBL in ERA at 1.12 and strikeouts with 76.
Other WCCBL pre-season Baseball America prospects were sophomore Matt Hague of University of Washington, senior Tyler Graham of Oregon State, junior Bud Norris of Cal Poly SLO and junior Nick Waechter of Western Oregon University.
Two-way Pac-10 star Matt Hague played for Aloha last summer and was rated the #39 prospect of this year’s sophomore class. He was also named to Baseball America’s pre-season All-Pac-10 team.
Graham played for the Bend Elks in 2004. The speedy centerfielder was rated the #14 prospect of this year’s senior class.
Bud Norris pitched last summer for Aloha where he posted a 6-0 record and 1.20 ERA in the WCCBL. The hard throwing right-hander was rated the #10 prospect in the Big West Conference.
Waechter pitched for Aloha last summer and was rated the #6 NCAA Division II prospect.
Baseball America’s 2006 College Baseball preview issue also noted several WCCBL players in its conference features.
Senior Travis Storrer of pre-season #2 ranked Clemson was the Tigers projected starting rightfielder. Storrer played with the Bellingham Bells last summer.
Junior Wally Crancer of pre-season #4 ranked Georgia Tech was mentioned as a possible x-factor that could give the Jackets a boost with his left-handed power in the outfield earning him comparison to current Phillies farmhand Jeremy Slayden, who hit 13 homers for G-Tech last season. Crancer played for Aloha last summer and was a first-team All-WCCBL selection.
Seniors Bill Rowe and Tyler Graham and junior Cole Gillespie of pre-season #8 ranked Oregon State were the Beavers projected starting first baseman, centerfielder and leftfielder respectively. Rowe played for Aloha last summer where he won a WCCBL Rawlings Gold Glove and earned second-team All-WCCBL honors. Graham played for Bend and Gillespie for Wenatchee in 2004.
Juniors Hector Estrella and Johnny Bowden of pre-season #17 ranked Southern California were the Trojans projected starting shortstop and catcher respectively. Estrella played for Wenatchee in 2003 and Bowden for Bellingham last summer.
Junior Kevin Gunderson of Oregon State was named pre-season All-Pac-10 relief pitcher. Gunderson pitched for the 2004 NBC World Series Champion Aloha Knights. Junior Clayton Mortensen of Gonzaga was noted as a WCC top newcomer. Mortensen pitched for Wenatchee last summer and was a first-team All-WCCBL selection. Junior Scott Reese of Creighton University was named pre-season All-Missouri Valley Conference relief pitcher. Reese pitched for Bend last summer and was a second-team All-WCCBL selection. Senior outfielder Andrew Lefave of Missouri Valley College was named to Baseball America’s pre-season NAIA All-America team. Lefave played for Bellingham last summer and was a first-team All-WCCBL selection. Sophomore first baseman Chris Davis of pre-season #1 ranked Navarro College was named to Baseball America’s pre-season Junior College All-America team. Davis played for the Kelowna Falcons last summer and tied Lefave for the WCCBL lead in RBI with 29 and HR with 5.
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