The Columbia Basin College baseball team may have a new manager this year, but the expectations are the same.
Chris Staton, a former CBC player and assistant coach, takes over for Steve Farrington, who resigned after a successful four-year run that included four consecutive NWAACC East division titles.
Staton’s first order of business was to help build up the roster, so he hit the recruiting trail and signed 33 new players to join seven returnees to the 2013 Hawks roster.
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“I’m really happy with the class we got,” Staton said. “You have to have pitching to win in this league, so we tried to find as many arms as we could.”
He also bolstered an infield that he hopes will set the standard for defense.
“We’re going to be a defense-first team,” he said. “I’ll be playing everybody in the first couple games. Everybody’s going to get their feet wet.”
Zach Rapacz, a sophomore outfielder out of Richland, leads the returnees for CBC. Rapacz hit .247 with 24 runs and 16 RBIs a year ago. Seth Lochridge, a sophomore infielder from Pasco, is also back to help lead the new recruits.
The Hawks will open an 18-game homestand with a doubleheader today against Shoreline at 11 a.m. in Pasco.
The CBC women didn’t have much to show for in 2012 after a 12-31 record and just six division wins. But they did reach the playoffs.
This season, the Hawks return six players with considerable experience, and they’ve set their expectations much higher.
Madison Chambers, a sophomore outfielder from Richland, leads the returnees after leading the team in batting (.389), doubles (13), RBIs (33) and stolen bases (6) a year ago. Sophomore infielder Kelsey Randich, an Olympia High grad, drove in 18 runs and swatted three home runs.
Several top recruits from the Mid-Columbia will join the team, including INF Bailey Walthers (Richland HS), P/INF Brenda Rodriguez (Othello HS), Hannah Sams (Southridge HS), OF Kendra Boehning (Chiawana HS) and INF Marissa Menchaca (Pasco HS).
The Hawks open their season today at Columbia Playfields in Richland. They’ll take on Olympic at 9 a.m. and Shoreline at 11 a.m. in the NWAACC Preseason Tournament, which concludes Sunday.