Cougar baseball players shine in the summer sun

Cougs competed in summer baseball leagues, minor leagues too



Junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo, pictured here, was the final pick in the second round of the MLB draft.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

While former Cougs shined in the professional ranks, current Cougs saw action in the West Coast summer baseball league.

This summer, three former Cougs are competing in professional baseball and blazing their own trails along the way. Kyle Manzardo just recently got promoted to the Montgomery Biscuits, Double-A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Manzardo has competed in five games for the Biscuits as of Monday with seven hits in 19 at-bats with seven RBIs and one homer. For High-A Affiliate Bowling Green Hot Rods he appeared in 63 games. In those 63 games, Manzardo had 74 hits in 225 at-bats. He had 55 RBIs and 17 homers as well. Manzardo also walked 45 times and struck out 46 times.

By being on the Double-A Biscuits, Manzardo has proven that he is a great baseball player and is one step closer to setting foot on a major league baseball team.

The other Coug outside of college competing in High-A baseball is pitcher Zane Mills. Mills pitches for the Peoria Chiefs, High-A Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Mills has a 2-6 record for the Chiefs with 77.2 total innings pitched. Mills has an ERA of 4.64 with 89 hits and 50 total runs given up. Mills has struck out 50 batters and walked 23 in all games as of Monday this season.

The newest Coug to join the professional ranks is catcher Jake Meyer who recently struck a free agent deal with the Colorado Rockies. Meyer played in 101 games for the Cougs and had a .266 batting average with six homers and 44 RBIs. Meyer will look to compete for playing time on the Rockies affiliate baseball teams in the hope of one day making it to the MLB.

Another Coug who was committed to the Cougs but got drafted in the 2022 MLB draft was Chandler Pollard. Pollard was drafted in the fifth round of the MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. He was ranked as the fifth-best outfielder in Georgia and the 35th best outfielder in the nation last season. Instead of coming to the Cougs for the 2023 season, Pollard signed with the Rangers and will work with the affiliate teams and start his professional career without ever playing college baseball.

Summer baseball was in full swing for current Cougs in the West Coast League. The WCL is a summer baseball league consisting of 16 baseball teams in the Pacific Northwest area and in some parts of Canada.

On the Bellingham Bells, catcher Willis Cresswell played in 32 games between the regular season and playoffs. In those games, he hit .163 in the regular season and .417 in four playoff games. He had five hits in 12 playoff at-bats and scored three runs.

The Edmonton Riverhawks had two Cougs on their roster. The left handed pitcher Cameron Liss and OF/1B Jacob McKeon.

The Portland Pickles had five Cougs competing for them this summer. They are Kolby Kmetko, Drake Anderson, Keith Jones II, Kyler Stancato and Kyle Russell.

Jones II appeared in 37 regular season games and two playoff games for the Pickles. In the regular season games, he had a batting average of .312 on 39 hits with 23 RBIs and a homerun. In the two playoff games, he batted .167 with one hit in six at-bats.

Stancato appeared in 51 regular season games as well as the two playoff games. In the regular season, Stancato batted .261 with 52 hits on 199 at-bats. Stancato had 24 RBIs and two home runs. He had one hit in seven playoff at-bats. He had two walks as well.

Russell appeared in 26 regular season games and two playoff games for the Pickles. In the regular season, Russell batted .231 with 16 hits and 15 RBIs as well as four homers. In the playoffs, Russell did not register a hit in seven at-bats, but walked three times and earned an RBI from a walk.

Anderson appeared in 11 games for the Pickles this summer. Anderson had 10 hits and four RBIs with seven walks for an average of .286.

Jack DeDonato pitched eight innings for the Wenatchee Applesox. He earned one win and zero losses with eight strikeouts and 10 walks.

It will not be long before we see former Cougs in the major leauges and soon enough see current Cougs back in Bailey-Brayton Field.