New Faces Set to Join First Place Drifters

by Steve Mims


The Springfield Drifters will return to Hamlin Field on Tuesday in first place.

The Drifters are 6-2 as they head home from a six-game road trip to face Wenatchee in a three-game homestand starting on Tuesday. Springfield holds a 1/2-game lead over Corvallis and Portland in the South Division.

Springfield will have some new faces in the dugout as look to stay undefeated at home.

As is often the case in the West Coast League, the rosters are in flux during the first few weeks of the season as players wrap up their spring seasons. The Drifters are expected to have about 15 players who were not with the team when they opened the season at Hamlin during the first week of June.

Pitchers Bryce Armstrong of Fresno State and Thomas Blahous of Everett Community College will join the staff along with Zach Ediger and Decker Stedman of Lewis-Clark State and Diego Chavez of Oklahoma Baptist. Dylan O’Connor of UC Santa Barbara begins his second summer in Springfield along with Utah’s Garrison Sumner and Oregon recruit Toby Twist of Bakersfield, Calif.

Catcher Ryne Hays of Seattle University also returns for a second season with the Drifters while Michigan’s Joe Longo and Brock Leitgeb will debut behind the plate along with Tulane’s Reid Kellum.

The infield will add Ryan Cooney, a Oregon recruit from Jesuit High School in Portland, along with Andy Miller of Lane Community College. Oakridge native Charlie Updegrave joins the squad from L-C State while Jaden Sheppard arrives from Fresno State.

In the outfield, Bobby Blandford of Fresno State and Cole Kleckner of Seattle U are set to join the roster.