Baseball showcases roster in fall scrimmages

Gray squad takes pair of victories in Friday, Saturday scrimmages



WSU catcher Matt Erickson throws the ball back to the pitcher during a scrimmage on Oct. 18, 2021, in Pullman.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen sports editor

WSU baseball previewed their 2022 season this weekend with two six-inning intrasquad scrimmages, one Friday afternoon and the other Saturday morning.

The 2022 baseball roster was split into two teams; the Grey squad and the Crimson squad.

Friday afternoon’s scrimmage was dominated by pitching, with the only run of the game coming in the sixth inning. The right-handed Hylan Hall batted in the only run on an RBI triple. Hall went 2-3 with a single and a triple in the scrimmage.

The game opened with two shutout innings from pitchers Merek Sears and Duke Brotherton.

WSU pitcher Dakota Hawkins throws a pitch during a scrimmage, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Pullman.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Jack Dedonato replaced Brotherton to start the third. Brotherton showed he belonged as a Coug, working himself out of a bases-loaded jam with one out. The 6-foot-4 newcomer will definitely be someone to watch this season.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cooper Barnum took over for Merek Sears on the mound to start the third inning. Barnum picked off a runner at first, showing a quick pickoff move to fans in the stadium. 

Friday afternoon’s scrimmage ended 1-0 after six innings in favor of the Grey squad.

Saturday’s game brought more fans away from tailgating and into the stands. With the temperature in the high-60s, the scrimmage had some of the best weather October has yet to offer. The increased attendance might have helped get the teams ready for their scrimmage as the Grey squad opened up the first inning with two runs. 

Outfielder Jacob McKeon showed off his power in the second at-bat of the game, hitting a home run off of left-handed pitcher McKabe Cottrell. McKeon’s shot to left-field put the Grey squad up 1-0.

Hall continued to excel on Saturday, following McKeon’s one-run shot with a successful bunt. Then on first, Hall stole second easily, diving to the bag. Gaining 90 feet by himself, Hall then caught the defense off-guard, stealing third uncontested.

With Cottrell having to worry about the speed-threat of Hall, Nate Swarts was able to get the best of Cottrell, hitting a double and sending Hall home easily, extending the Grey squad’s lead 2-0. Cottrell then struck out Matt Erickson to end the top half of the first inning. 

Right-handed pitcher Grant Taylor stopped the Crimson squad from answering with runs of their own, starting his outing with a called third strike on Kyler Stancato. Taylor went on to pitch another shutout inning and record another called third strike, this time on Jack Smith. 

The game went quiet until the fourth inning when the Grey team took advantage of pitcher Jack Lee’s struggle to find the plate. Lee gave up an infield base hit to Hall, his second of the game. In his outing, Lee gave up three walks and one run. Notably, Lee worked himself out of the tough situation by stranding the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

For the first time in either scrimmage, the Crimson squad scored a run in the fourth inning. The Crimson squad’s run came on behalf of an absolute moon-shot over the right-field fence by lefty Collin Montez. 

Montez’s power threat will be an important asset for Cougar baseball during the spring regular season.

Hall stands out as a very exciting player to watch this season. In the fall scrimmages, Hall went 4-6 with an RBI, two stolen bases, and good defensive mechanics in the outfield.