by Steve Mims
Hunter Dryden might be able to help the Springfield Drifters at the plate and on the mound.
The sophomore is 4-4 with a 3.88 ERA during the spring for Whitworth University while batting .233 with two homers and seven RBIs. Dryden is listed as a pitcher and infielder on the roster for the Drifters inaugural season that begins on May 31.
“I’m coming in as a two-way player, but mostly pitching so I am not sure how that will look,” Dryden said. “I don’t know if I will get getting reps in practice or pregame, but whenever I am able to make it happen, I will take that opportunity for sure.”
Dryden is in the starting rotation for Whitworth and plays second base or shortstop on the days he doesn’t pitch. He was exclusively a pitcher as a freshman before finding a spot in the infield this spring.
After going 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA and four saves and 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings last year, he has increased his workload with a team-high 63 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.
“I felt pretty good on the mound this year,” he said. “I changed a couple things and added some different stuff.”
Dryden has 14 hits in 60 at-bats while scoring eight runs and stealing three bases.
“I feel like I am getting back into the groove of things,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t get many live at-bats other than scrimmages or practice. I got some at-bats last summer, but now that I am playing the infield, I am getting back into real game reps. It is all coming back, I think. Just having this year to come in and do that, I think next year will be great.”
Whitworth recently played against Whitman, which features Ben Parker and Julien Hernandez, who will be teammates on the Drifters.
“I am looking forward to getting a taste of what the West Coast League is like,” Dryden said. “I talked to a few of my coaches who told me how much I will enjoy having baseball as the main priority. That is about all you do and I can’t wait for that.”
Dryden is from Deer Park, Wash., a small town just outside of Spokane.
“My girlfriend’s family is from Pendleton, so they will be at the Walla Walla games,” he said. “I have family on the west side of the state who will also come to some games.”