by Steve Mims
The second edition of the Springfield Drifters will feature 26 Division I baseball players at Hamlin Field this summer.
The Drifters will have 11 Pac-12 players, including five from Oregon and three from Oregon State, when they embark on a 57-game West Coast League schedule that begins at home on June 2nd against Port Angeles.
“I am really excited about the roster,” second-year coach Tommy Richards said. “I think it is a clear step forward as far as the guys we are bringing in so I am excited to go to work with them. This is a different caliber of player so I am excited to go to work with them.”
Richards expects to compete in the South Division after upgrading the roster following a 17-37 finish in the inaugural season.
“I definitely believe that we have everything we need to be successful,” Richards said. “The roster is a big part of that and the stadium and locker rooms. It is a different feel than last year.”
The WCL is a summer wood-bat league that features some of the best player from around the nation. Tickets for all 30 home games are on sale now.
Springfield’s 41-man roster is headlined by South Eugene graduate Bryce Boettcher, a two-sport star at Oregon who is wrapping up his junior season on the diamond with the Ducks. He is batting .222 in 36 games for Oregon this spring.
The Drifters also feature four members of UO’s recruiting class, including pitchers Toby Twist, Trey Newmann and Cole Stokes. Jesuit High senior infielder Ryan Cooney rounds out the list of future Ducks.
“That will be a good opportunity for me,” Cooney said. “In high school, you play a good amount of games but not like that and in college you play a lot of games in a short amount of time, so I have to get used to that.”
Thurston graduate Isaiah Burke, a sophomore catcher at Oregon State, will return to his hometown this summer with the Drifters.
Bridger Holmes, a 6-foot-4 sophomore at Feather River Community College, will join the Beavers next season along with infielder Dawson Santana of Lakeridge High School. “Playing in the West Coast League will be big for me,” Santana said. “I will face pitchers from higher levels of baseball and older, more physical guys. You are going to get exposed at times, but that has to happen to get better. Outside of baseball, it will get me ready for the college scenario playing with a bunch of guys in their second or third year of college ball.”
Washington State pitchers Andrew Baughn and Rylan Haider will join Springfield’s pitching staff along with Utah’s Garison Sumner.
Michigan will send four players to Springfield including Cooper Mullens, a senior infielder at Marist High School who will join the Wolverines as a freshman next season along with catcher Brock Leitgeb. Infielder Cody Hutlink will arrive from Ann Arbor along with catcher Joe Longo.
New Michigan assistant Tyler Graham, a former Oregon State star, recommended the Drifters to a few of the Wolverines.
“Tyler said he sent guys to Springfield last year and it is a great spot with great facilities,” Longo said. “With that new field, he said it was a great fit.”
Seattle University will send pitcher Kaden Alberghini, catcher Ryne Hays, infielder Andy Miller and outfielder Cole Kleckner to Springfield. Infielders Ben Newton and Jaden Sheppard will arrive from Fresno State along with outfielder Bobby Blandford and pitcher Bryce Armstrong.
Pitcher Jace Miller and outfielder Gage Bruce from the University of Portland will join the Drifters along with UCSB infielder Rex DeAngelis.
Pitcher Wyatt Doty and outfielder Jason Shedlock are teammates at CSU San Bernadino who will play together again in Springfield.
“My family will be able to come up and watch games and I have some friends in Washington who will watch too,” said Shedlock, who is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Pitcher John Over, a Marist graduate at Linfield, will join the Drifters along with teammates Jackson Koons, a pitcher, and Danny Kahn, an outfielder.
Tacoma Community College will also provide the Drifters will four players as pitchers Eli Holbert, Tanner Douglas and Issac Evaniew join infielder Drew Johnson. Oakridge High School graduate Charlie Updegrave of Lewis & Clark State will play first base.
Everett Community College’s Thomas Blahous and Diego Chavez of Oklahoma Baptist join the pitching staff along with Hunter Dryden of Whitworth University.
Steyr Brinkley of Lane Community College will stay close to home this summer to pitch for the Drifters.