by Steve Mims
Zach Ediger saw pictures of Hamlin Field, but still couldn’t believe the view when he made his first visit to the stadium last month.
“I love that field,” Ediger said. “The pictures I saw looked amazing, but those did not do it justice. It is easily one of the best fields I’ve ever played on.”
Ediger tossed a scoreless inning during Lewis-Clark State’s 17-2 win over Bushnell at Hamlin on April 29. He will be back at the field during the summer when he suits up for the Springfield Drifters during their second season in the West Coast League.
“I am excited to go back there,” Ediger said. “Any time you get to play in a new stadium, it is a blessing. I thought that was one of the coolest experiences I had playing on a nice field. Playing in the Pacific Northwest, there are not a lot of nice fields and not many compare to that.”
Ediger will spend his third summer in the WCL, a college wood-bat league featuring some of the top players in the country. He played for Port Angeles in the second half of the 2021 season and then started last year with the Lefties before finishing up with Walla Walla.
“I’ve been around the league a bit and it is always fun,” Ediger said. “I think it balances well with competitiveness and also getting better in the summer. You want a spot where you can compete and also work on your craft and I think the West Coast League does a nice job of that.”
The Mill Creek, Wash. native was an all-conference pitcher at Henry M. Jackson High School before spending last year at Everett Community College where he compiled a 3.81 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 26 innings as a reliever. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander has struck out 11 in 8 1/3 innings as a reliever during his sophomore season with the Warriors while compiling a 8.64 ERA.
“I started a bit in high school, but now coming out of the bullpen is my game,” Ediger said. “I love to come out and set the tone. I didn’t think I would like it as much, but as I have done it more and more, I have come to love it.”
Lewis-Clark State is a perennial powerhouse ranked No. 16 in NAIA at 30-15 as it begins the postseason.
“As a team we are heating up,” Ediger said. “Last year at Everett, the NWAAC had powerhouse teams in the Pacific Northwest that hunted you, but now the whole country is on our back.”
Depending on how far L-C goes in the NAIA World Series – which it hosts in Lewiston, Idaho – Ediger could join the Drifters when they open the season on June 2 against Port Angeles, his former squad. Tickets for Drifters games at Hamlin are on sale now.
Ediger’s parents, Joelle and Brent, will travel down to see some Drifters games and he has family members in Salem who have a short trip to Springfield.
“I love the West Coast League because you are showing up to the ballpark every day instead of once or twice a week,” Ediger said. “That helps you stay locked in.”