Former West Coast League pitchers Ryan Walker and Trenton Dupre of Washington State both excelled in the WCL for the Corvallis Knights; Walker following his frosh season in 2015 and Dupre after his junior campaign in 2016. Both also pitched in the WCL All-Star Game and have contributed to the Cougars late season surge that has seen WSU win three straight series including wins vs. Washington and Oregon.
The hot Cougs meet the sizzling #1-ranked Oregon State Beavers May 19-21. They host UCLA this upcoming weekend.
Walker is a junior now and has made 17 appearances and 9 starts this spring. The right-hander is 5-5 with a 5.46 ERA over 57.2 innings pitched for the 22-22 Washington State Cougars (8-13 in the Pac-12). Dupre has made 23 appearances and is 1-0 with a 3.73 ERA. The lefty from Yakima has struck out 25 and walked only 9 over 31.1 innings pitched.
Dupre led Corvallis to a WCL title last summer. He made three appearances in the post-season and did not allow a single run while recording a win and two saves while striking out 8 over 6.1 innings. For the regular-season, he posted a miniscule 0.64 ERA, went 3-0 with 4 saves and earned honorable mention all-WCL honors. His playoff effort earned the senior WCL Player of the Week honors and the honor of throwing the final pitch of the WCL season to wrap his final summer collegiate season with a 6-4 WCLCS finale win.
Following the summer of 2015, Walker was named the #7 top prospect in the WCL by Baseball America. He went 3-2 with a 4.17 ERA over 8 appearances and 5 starts that summer; and registered a save in the WCL All-Star Game.
Both made key relief appearances in home wins over Oregon last weekend, and are a big part of Washington State’s resurgence. They were both kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules to give us some insight on upcoming series and to reflect on their WCL experiences.
WCL: Congrats on your series win vs. Oregon. You have series wins now vs. UW and UO. You can sweep the NW with a series win at OSU. Are you guys looking forward to returning to Corvallis to face the #1 ranked Oregon State Beavers? Preview that series for us.
WALKER: I am definitely looking forward to it. I have always enjoyed playing them at their home field. The fans are wild and really cheer on their Beavers which I think is great. I think we can give them a good run for their money this year and put up a good fight. We’re excited to get this series going.
DUPRE: I am very excited to return to Corvallis, the atmosphere at Goss Stadium is unreal. The Beavers have been lights out this year and we are excited to see how our team matches up against them after taking the series from them last year. I feel that our team is capable of competing with anyone out there. We just need to go into those games with the same mindset like we have in the last three series we have won.
WCL: You both pitched in Corvallis, what are your fondest Goss Stadium summer memories?
WALKER: My fondest memory was playing the Bellingham Bells because it was a team close to home and I pitched pretty well against them. I also enjoyed the food provided in the locker room. There was always pasta or Qdoba which were both amazing. You never went hungry, that’s for sure.
DUPRE: My fondest Goss Stadium memory was beating the Bellingham Bells 6-4 in the WCL Championship final and throwing the final out to record the save and getting dog piled by the team.
WCL: What was your impression of the West Coast League; from the competition to the ballparks you pitched in?
WALKER: I was very impressed by how good the competition was. I thought that all the teams we played were very competitive and challenging and I loved playing against the Bend Elks. The stadiums were nice as well. I enjoyed playing at Goss because its very well kept and I also liked playing on the traditional fields like the one in Bend.
DUPRE: I felt the competition that I faced as a pitcher was just like facing hitters in the Pac 12, hitters were tough outs and the pitching was dominate. It was sure a change facing hitters using wood rather than metal bats. The way I pitched made a huge difference on pitch selection and location. As far as the ballparks, I thought that being a part of the Corvallis Knights, we had a huge advantage playing at Goss Stadium everyday. No one else in the WCL had a field like Goss.
WCL: What did you enjoy most about Corvallis and your Knights experience?
WALKER: The thing I liked the most about the Corvallis Knights was the team itself. Everyone got along really well and we all included each other. When I first showed up the first day, it was like I had been on the team for years. It was very welcoming and it was such a great environment to play in.
DUPRE: Some things that I enjoyed about Corvallis was the way the community was so involved with the Knights. The fans supported us just like they support the Beavers in their season. Packed crowds night after night. My host family (Peter and Patty Kenyon) were amazing people as well. The brotherhood that my teammates and I made throughout the summer was surreal, which was a huge factor for us coming together. Winning a WCL championship with the Knights was an experience and memory I will never forget.
WCL: What was your favorite road trip in the WCL?
WALKER: My favorite road trip was Yakima just because I enjoy playing at their stadium. I think the traditional, old school look is sweet. Plus, that was one of the series that was closer to the west side of Washington and my family was able to come out for it.
DUPRE: My favorite road trip was going to Kelowna, British Columbia because I had not been to Canada since I was about 10 years old and getting to go out of the country to play baseball was a great experience.
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 13-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest features pro prospects from major conferences across the nation and an unparalleled history out west of great fan and player experiences in addition to the best summer weather in North America. In 2016, 88 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB June draft, and more than 230 WCL alums appeared in affiliated professional baseball including 28 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore), 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay) and rising star pitchers Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay), Matt Boyd (Detroit) and James Paxton (Seattle). Overall member attendance was 379,611 this past season.