WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox will have rotation and bullpen slots for former temporary player, Kyle Blankenship, Wenatchee Valley College teammate CJ Gettman, and a member of last year’s team, Shaun Vetrovec, Head Coach AJ Proszek announced Tuesday.
Vetrovec is now the fourth returning AppleSox player from the 2014 squad, as he joins pitchers Colton Loomis, Hunter Wells, and infielder Kyle Vanderkin. A year ago, the 2014 team was made up of entirely new faces, having no returners from the 2013 team.
Blankenship and Gettman, sophomores, will be playing in their own backyard, joining the team from Wenatchee Valley College where the duo play their regular season games at Paul Thomas Sr. Field.
Blankenship, from Wenatchee, will look to be a full-time force in the AppleSox rotation, after stepping in as a temporary pitcher for the Sox a season ago. Blankenship is a graduate of Wenatchee High School.
“He’s the kind of pitcher who shows up and says, ‘I want the ball,’ and you let him go to work,” Proszek said. “He knows how to pitch and he knows how to compete, and for me, sometimes that’s half the battle. If you get after it like that day in and day out, you’re going to have success. I had no second thoughts or second guesses on bringing Blankenship aboard.”
Blankenship made one relief appearance in league play for Wenatchee in 2014. He offered 2 1/3 innings, gave up five hits, and one earned run. He struck out two and walked just one.
In non-league play for the AppleSox, Blankenship made one start, earning a win over five innings, while allowing just three hits and one run. He walked three and struck out two.
Blankenship has totaled a 4.40 ERA over 28 2/3 innings of work this season at WVC. He has made seven appearances, with five starts. The sophomore has thrown one complete game and has a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (24 strikeouts, 8 walks). He also has a save to his name this season, and only 14 of the 23 runs surrendered by Blankenship this season have been earned.
Gettman, another Wenatchee native, will remain teammates with Blankenship this summer. Gettman also played high school baseball at Wenatchee High School.
“I had a chance to watch him last year and I enjoy the way he goes about it,” Proszek said. “He’s a guy that gets on the mound and gets right to action. He wants to get ahead in counts, throw strikes, and compete. He’s a good, quality individual. He’ll be a great addition to the pitching staff.”
Gettman has thrown in seven games for WVC this season, with six starts and one complete game. Over 33 2/3 innings, he has given up 25 runs, 18 of them earned, and struck out a team-best 37 batters. He has allowed 19 walks, also tops for the Knights, and has an ERA of 4.81.
Vetrovec was a member of the AppleSox bullpen in 2014. A native of Costa Mesa, Calif., he played his high school baseball at Newport Harbor, and is currently a pitcher for the UC Irvine Anteaters.
“First and foremost, Coach [Mike] Gillespie has been great with giving me some of his guys that he thinks are going to do well,” Proszek said. “Shaun was a guy that I enjoyed having around last summer. Not only as a successful pitcher, but as a hard worker. It was a no brainer for me, when Coach Gillespie asked if Shaun could come back and be a part of this again.”
A decorated high school player, Vetrovec pitched with the AppleSox prior to his first collegiate season at UCI. He was a dominant reliever for Wenatchee last season, posting a 1.98 ERA for the AppleSox, which was good for second-best amongst pitchers with at least 10 appearances (behind Gonzaga standout Brandon Bailey’s 1.37 ERA). Vetrovec only allowed five earned runs over 22 2/3 innings. He struck out 28 batters and walked 14, while only giving up one extra-base hit.
This season, he has a 7.63 ERA at UCI, through nine appearances and two starts. Over 15 1/3 innings, he has given up 19 hits, and has struck out six, while walking 14.
Wenatchee opens its season with a two-game non-league 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/