WENATCHEE, Wash. – After the AppleSox fielded a team of fresh faces last summer, three members of the 2014 AppleSox will return to the Wenatchee Valley this summer, AppleSox first-year Head Coach AJ Proszek announced Monday.
Colton Loomis, Hunter Wells, and Kyle Vanderkin will all make their way back to Paul Thomas Sr. Field to rejoin Proszek.
Loomis, a Cashmere, Wash. native, currently pitches for Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
He is 2-1 this season for NNU and has pitched at least six innings in each of his outings. He has a 2.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts to just one walk.
In 2014, Loomis accumulated a 3.58 ERA with the AppleSox, while hurling 42.2 innings in 14 games. Mostly a reliever last season, Loomis started two games and struck out 30 batters. His 17 allowed earned runs tied for fifth-lowest amongst AppleSox pitchers with 20-plus innings pitched.
“I’m very excited to have Colton back,” Proszek said. “I had the privilege to coach Colton for two years at Spokane Falls Community College before he transferred to NNU this year. He’s what I look for in a baseball player. He’s a hard-working kid, he competes, whatever you ask him to do, he’s going to do it to the best of his ability, and he definitely leads by example.”
Wells, a native of Spokane, Wash., is a Gonzaga pitcher who transferred to the Bulldogs from Lower Columbia College. He sported a 5.09 ERA through 11 relief appearances, last summer.
His 34 strikeouts ranked fifth amongst AppleSox pitchers, and he had the highest batting average of all Wenatchee hitters in 2015. Wells came through with an extra-inning infield single, July 28, to catapult the AppleSox to a 14-inning win in Bend. He was substituted into the game as a left fielder the inning prior to his at bat.
Wells has appeared in two of Gonzaga’s eight games this season, tallying 2.2 innings out of the bullpen. He has struck out two batters, while walking one of the seven he’s faced. He has yet to surrender a hit.
“The best word for me is privileged to have a guy who is going to be helpful out of the ‘pen for us and eat up some innings, but also show the guys what I’m looking for,” Proszek said. “When I’m spending time with position players and hitters, he and Colton Loomis can help out with directing traffic a little bit. He can make sure guys are getting things done and showing them how I want it done.”
Vanderkin, a native of Forest Grove, Ore., saw limited action on the diamond for Wenatchee in 2014 as he worked out the details of his transfer from Clark Community College to Gonzaga.
He was extremely productive for the AppleSox, finishing with a .321 average, while drawing 24 walks. His walk numbers were third-best amongst AppleSox hitters, however, the two players who ranked ahead of him averaged 45 games played, while he saw action in just 17 contests. He also ranked top-25 in the league in total walks, despite finishing with the fewest games played amongst the leaders. He has yet to play this season for the Bulldogs.
“I’m excited to get Kyle back,” Proszek said. “He came in late last summer, due to injury, and did a great job showing up and filling in right away. It was a little hectic on his end, just because he was traveling a lot, still taking summer classes and trying to get all the paperwork ready to get into Gonzaga. He didn’t get to spend as much time as he probably would’ve liked, or we would’ve liked on the practice field or on the road. He has a great eye at the plate, has an understanding of what he’s trying to do, and will be a great addition to what we are trying to accomplish. We are lucky to have him.”
Wenatchee opens its season with a two-game nonleague series against the San Francisco Seals, June 4-5, at Paul Thomas Sr. Field. Tickets can be purchased by calling 509-665-6900, or by visiting: http://www.applesox.com/tickets/