Capsules for 2022 baseball programs in the Greater Spokane League.
In alphabetic order. Records from the COVID-shortened 2021 season.
Central Valley (6-4, 6-2 GSL): Coach Aaron Gruis will rely heavily on two senior All-GSL first-team players: goaltender Aiden Chase, MF Tim Jones.
Cheney (4-7, 2-7): Head coach Nick Hamer, former Mead Panther and Gonzaga Bulldog, needs to replace his top scorer from a season ago. He has five starters returning, including seniors Josh Bingham, Garrett Heuett and Keenan Hahn, but he would like to see more aggressiveness from his players. “We play a bit shy and scared, we have to get out,” said Hamer. Newcomer Nic Alderson – who plays for the Cheney Storm Club – joins the squad.
Giants (2-9, 2-7): Team chemistry is strong at the Saxons this season, even with a young squad with just two seniors and nine sophomores. Staying healthy will be important for a team without much depth. Head coach Robin Crain will be relying on seniors Dylan Sides and Wallace Sandobal as he enters his 25th season.
Gonzaga Prep (5-6, 4-5): Johnny Finnegan returns as a second-team All-GSL player. Head coach Johnny Bartich calls him the engine of the team and the leader of the midfield. His older colleague Cooper Looney is the team’s captain, and Bartich said he’s fielding the back row. There are many new faces, so competition will be key. The Bullpups lost three All-GSL selections as of 2021.
Lewis and Clark (11-0, 9-0): The Tigers have restocked their shelves for the 2022 season, but they’ve lost a ton of talent. Centerback and Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year Thomas Vlasak and GSL Offensive Player of the Year and league top scorer Dane Cobb are both gone. However, head coach Mica Lamb expects a solid continuation of a successful 2021. First-team All-GSL players Tasyn Oosting and Benjamin Orton are back and expected to provide offense.
Mead (8-3, 7-2): A strong defensive line will see the Panthers contend for a championship title and a possible state spot for the first time under sophomore head coach Steven Acosta. Nathan Mahaffey returns to goal but Mead is still looking for a consistent goalscorer.
Mount Spokane (5-5, 4-4): Former East Valley head coach Todd Slater is playing in his first season as head of the Wildcats, who are bringing back 11 letter winners starting in 2021. Senior Zane Van Hook leads the defense and Junior Blake Speer directs the offense.
North Central (9-2, 7-2 2A): Ninth-year coach Matt Leonard has 16 letter winners and 10 starters back from last season’s 2A regional champion. GSL 2A Offensive MVP MF Ben Hippauf is back for his senior season along with fellow first-team picks MF Bryce Anderson and D. Andrew Harle. “Our captains have helped create great team chemistry and we feel we will be competitive in our league,” Leonard said.
Ridge line (n/a): A new team with a new head coach – Ernie Merino – will try to force its way into a competitive league. The Falcons are bringing in some former Central Valley players, including junior Rudy Malloy and sophomores Caden Thompson and Griffin Ryder. They’ll try to be strong in defense and midfield and come up with a creative attack. “Our team needs to come together quickly as a young group to compete at a high level against so many high-quality older teams,” said Merino.
University (2-9, 1-8): Head coach Kevin Houston returns from high school after a year-long coaching hiatus. He takes on a squad that has a solid group of players to lean on. A lack of depth means there are more potential obstacles to overcome. After a two-win 2021 season, Houston is hoping for a strong rebound for the Titans. Four seniors, Logan Crum, Espen Sande, Ryan Crippen and Taylor Lenhartzen are some key returnees.
Clarkston (1-7, 1-7): A year on from a tough season, the Bantams will continue to build under sophomore head coach Jerry McGowen. The returning team is young and had few players at the start of the season. Only three starters are returning, including junior goalscorer and team leader Juan Sabogal, who should be a player to watch.
East Valley (5-5, 5-3): Senior Ryan Conrath was an All-GSL Honorable Mention last year.
Pullman (7-4, 6-3): Senior MF Ian Oately was a second-team All-GSL selection and second-team MF Evan French received an honorable mention. Senior F Aidin Crossler already lights the scoreboard, while junior Clarens and freshman Carlens Dollins provide ample support.
Rogers (0-9, 0-8): The Pirates will be thrilled to be a thorn in the side of the rest of the GSL. Head coach Mike Duke, a sophomore, is tasked with creating a roster that includes varsity experience and new players. Aaron Cox, a defenseman, is a recurring All-League honorable mention.
Shadow Park (6-5, 4-5): It will take time for the Highlanders to grow this season as a strong core of players graduated a season ago. Third-year coach Russell Davis said his team will show plenty of energy and focus but a lack of depth means many players will need to step up, including a goalscorer. Seniors D Camden Harlow and MF Mason Davis will lead.
West Valley (2-4, 2-3): The pandemic year hit the Eagles harder than most, limiting them to six games. Sophomore Rylen Allen was an All-GSL Honorable Mention.