SPOKANE, Wash. – Building off of the second-most successful baseball season in Whitworth history, head coach Dan Ramsay has announced a strong incoming class for 2012-13.
"This incoming class should be a great addition to an already proven group of returners," said Ramsay, the 2012 Northwest Conference and West Region Coach of the Year.
Seven outstanding high school seniors have confirmed their admission to Whitworth University and plan on playing baseball for the Pirates in 2012-13.
Blake Thoren is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder from Meridian, Idaho (Rocky Mountain HS). As a junior he was named First Team All-Southern Idaho Conference and this past spring he led Rocky Mountain to an Idaho 5A State Championship, throwing six innings and allowing only one hit as the starting pitcher in the championship game. He was named First Team All-SIC Outfielder.
"Blake brings the ability to pitch and play the outfield and is coming out of a high school program that teaches the game the right way," Ramsay said. "He's a winner and not only the type of player we're looking to build a program around, but the type of person as well."
Nathan Jewett is a corner infielder from Missoula, Montana (Sentinel HS). As a sophomore he helped lead the Missoula Mavericks to an American Legion State Championship (AA). In 2011 he was selected as the AA State Tournament Offensive MVP. During his junior season he batted .369 with 18 doubles, 5 triples, and 7 home runs while driving in 71 runs. He continues to play out his final season in 2012.
"Nate is a big, strong, and physical kid who can really handle the bat," Ramsay said. "His power numbers make him a middle of the line-up type of hitter who will have the potential to drive in a lot of runs for us."
Zach Shuholm is a tall right-handed pitcher from West Linn, Oregon (West Linn HS) who is a two-time Second Team All-3 Rivers League honoree.
"Pushing 6'-5" Zach is a presence on the mound," Ramsay said. "He has the upside and potential to throw a dominating fastball and experience a lot of success in the Northwest Conference."
Zach Scott is a right-handed pitcher from Wenatchee, Washington (Eastmont HS). He threw a no-hitter this spring against Sunnyside HS and is a three-time letter winner.
"Zach is a good athlete who has shown flashes of greatness at Eastmont as exemplified in the no-hitter he threw earlier this year," Ramsay said. "He is a hard worker who will fit in great with our group of players."
Michael Renner is a right-handed pitcher from Spokane (Ferris HS). He led the Ferris Saxons in all pitching categories is past season. He threw a no-hitter in the opener of the 2012 4A District Playoffs against Central Valley.
"Michael will be joining his older brother Jason on the pitching staff next year," Ramsay said. "His no-hitter in the District Playoffs is definitely something to dream on."
Jordan Pearson is a catcher from Tualatin, Oregon (Horizon Christian School). As a junior he was named Second Team All-State while heading Horizon Christian to a 3A state championship. This season he is a First Team All-State honoree and was named the Player of the Year in the West Valley League. He went 4-4 with eight RBIs in a game against Sheridan HS.
"Jordan had an amazing high school career and was recognized for his accomplishments during his senior season by being named Player of the Year," Ramsay said. "He's a winner and a leader is a great addition to the Pirate family."
Jeremy Druffel is an infielder from Pullman, Washington (Pullman HS). He is a two-time First Team All-Great Northern League honoree for the Greyhounds. This past season he batted .455 and stole 18 bases.
"Jeremy is as tough as nails and brings an edge to the way he approaches the game," Ramsay said. "He will be a great addition to an already extremely competitive group of guys."
Whitworth returns six starting position players along with four starting pitchers and the top relief pitcher from 2012 when the Pirates went 31-16-1 while advancing to their first-ever NCAA Division III World Series. It was Whitworth's first trip to the national finals in baseball since winning the NAIA championship in 1960.