Bellingham Bells return for another summer of baseball

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 5, 2014 

06 Bells Preview

Bellingham Bells outfielder Walker Olis hits a pitch during practice on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham, Wash.

EVAN ABELL — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

The Bellingham Bells only began practicing this week for the upcoming 2014 West Coast League season, but Bells returners Nate Anderson and Walker Olis already envision a team capable of putting together a winning summer.

"We could definitely be real good," said Anderson, who attends Bellevue College and was a fixture in the Bells' outfield a year ago. "All our defensive stuff, we look real clean, especially for only being together for a few days. It impressed me, personally, and the competition between pitchers and hitters was great, too. The BP, a lot of balls were squared up for sure. It looks real good."

Bellingham's summer wood-bat team returns to the diamond this week when the Bells head on the road for a three-game set at Walla Walla. The season opens at 7:05 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Walla Walla. Bellingham's home opener is against Klamath Falls at 7:05 p.m. Monday, June 9, at Joe Martin Field.

Bellingham is coming off a year in which it just missed the postseason, finishing 27-27 in the WCL's North Division.

The Bells have plenty of new faces, which is common in the WCL, and have replaced departed coach Gary Hatch with new coach Jeff James, who has an extensive northwest baseball coaching history.

James played high school ball at Newport and played at California Baptist, Bellevue College and then at the University of Washington during his college career.

He is currently a volunteer coach at Seattle University and has also held coaching roles at Everett Community College and UW. James also has familiarity with the WCL, working as an assistant coach for the Kelowna Falcons in the 2010.

While James wants to produce a winning product this summer, he's also focused on improving the skill of his players who hope to return to their respective colleges having benefitted from their Bells experience.

"We are going to want to win," James said. "We are going to want to play hard and do what we can to put on a good show. And on the other hand, we want to get them better because the whole point is developing these guys and getting them prepared to play back at their colleges next season."

Two of those players include Anderson and Olis - Bells veterans who are looking to improve and factor into the club's success.

Anderson, an outfielder, played in 21 games last year while hitting for a .222 average. Bellevue College lost its league championship game, and Anderson said he didn't have his best season but has gotten a lot stronger and has improved his plate approach.

"I think I'm a better hitter and better in the outfield, and I'm looking to have a big year this year," Anderson said.

Olis, who went to high school at Burlington-Edison and plays his college ball at Pacific University in Oregon, was a 10-day player last summer. He's slated to play all three months with the Bells this year.

"I grew up watching the Bells when I was a kid, so to be out here playing with the Bells is pretty special," Olis said.

Both Anderson and Olis are part of a talented roster James said Jim Clem put together. It features several Pac-12 players and four who've been selected in the Major League Baseball draft.

Those include Arizona State pitcher Hever Bueno, who was a 17th-round selection of the Yankees, San Francisco pitcher Grant Goodman, who was picked by the Giants in the 36th round, Gonzaga catcher Jimmy Sinatro, who was selected by the Astros in the 35th round of the 2012 draft and Stanford outfielder Jack Klein, who was selected by the Braves in the 32nd round a year ago.

"Coach Clem put together a really good roster, which we're excited about," James said. "We got a lot of different guys that can do a lot of different things. The pitching staff, we have a good mix there. We got some guys that can locate well. We got some guys that will be able to throw hard and have good secondary pitches. It's just a good mix of everyone, so hopefully we can bring them all together and use those pieces to the best we can and put together a competitive club."

Besides on-field play, the Bells have several promotions and weekly events to capture the fan's interest this summer.

Bellingham General Manager Nick Caples said the Bells will have mom day Mondays, which will honor moms in various ways every Monday home game. Every Wednesday will be a Salute to Armed Forces Night, in which the Bells will wear special camouflage hats and honor veterans and active military.

The popular $2 Tuesdays are also returning, and three fireworks nights are scheduled for opening night, July 3 and the season finale.

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County Sports updates.

2014 BELLINGHAM BELLS ROSTER

PITCHERS

No. Player Ht. Wt. Bats Throws College

23 John Albert 6-2 195 R R Hawaii Pacific

20 David Bigelow 6-6 215 R R Gonzaga

26 Hever Bueno 6-2 180 R R Arizona State

0 Moises Ceja 6-0 168 R R UCLA

28 Gabe Cramer 6-2 190 R R Stanford

37 Taylor Dunn 6-3 190 R R George Fox

21 Eder Erives 6-1 160 R R Arizona State

11 Burk FitzPatrick 6-0 155 R R Maine

39 Grant Goodman 6-3 175 R R San Francisco

24 Scott Heath 6-0 185 L L Maine

29 Zach Johnson 6-0 195 L L Edmonds CC

0 Branden Kelliher 6-0 195 R R Oregon

4 AJ Konopaski 6-0 205 R R Pacific Lutheran

34 Dan Ludwig 6-2 200 L L Belmont

38 Seth Martinez 6-3 180 R R Arizona State

31 Ryan McMonigle 6-2 185 R R Concordia

5 Brad Monson 6-0 190 R R St Andrews Presbyterian

0 Michael Rucker 6-0 185 R R Brigham Young

33 Aaron Sandefur 6-3 205 R R Bellevue CC

12 Jake Thomas 6-2 185 L L Everett CC

25 Keith Zuniga 6-0 180 R R Bethune-Cookman

CATCHERS

No. Player Ht. Wt. Bats Throws College

6 Jimmy Sinatro 5-10 195 R R Gonzaga

9 Conner Switzer 5-11 170 R R Lower Columbia

13 Eric Webber 6-0 175 R R Georgetown

INFIELDERS

No. Player Ht. Wt. Bats Throws College

8 Chris Baker 6-1 180 R R Washington

14 Dustin Breshears 6-0 175 R R Gonzaga

15 Dallas Carroll 6-0 195 R R Utah

7 Dylan Garcia 5-10 195 L R Cal State Chico

3 Sheldon Stober 5-10 185 R R Bellevue CC

16 Colby Woodmansee 6-3 180 R R Arizona State

1 Ian Yetsko 5-9 175 R R Oakland

OUTFIELDERS

No. Player Ht. Wt. Bats Throws College

22 Nate Anderson 6-1 165 R R Bellevue CC

0 Jack Klein 6-2 185 R R Stanford

19 Danny Miller 6-0 185 L L Cal State Chico

30 Walker Olis 6-2 175 R R Pacific

36 Aaron Stroosma 6-3 205 R R Bellevue CC

2014 BELLINGHAM BELLS SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time

June 6 at Walla Walla 7:05 p.m.

June 7 at Walla Walla 7:05 p.m.

June 8 at Walla Walla 5:05 p.m.

June 9 Klamath Falls 7:05 p.m.

June 10 Klamath Falls 7:05 p.m.

June 11 Klamath Falls 7:05 p.m.

June 13 at Kitsap 6:35 p.m.

June 14 at Kitsap 6:35 p.m.

June 15 at Kitsap 1:05 p.m.

June 16 at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

June 17 at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

June 18 at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

June 20 Bend 7:05 p.m.

June 21 Bend 7:05 p.m.

June 22 Bend 3:05 p.m.

June 24 Everett 7:05 p.m.

June 25 Everett 7:05 p.m.

June 27 Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

June 28 Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

June 29 Kelowna 3:05 p.m.

June 30 at Wenatchee 7:05 p.m.

July 1 at Wenatchee 7:05 p.m.

July 2 at Wenatchee 7:05 p.m.

July 3 Cowlitz 7:05 p.m.

July 4 Cowlitz 1:05 p.m.

July 5 Cowlitz 7:05 p.m.

July 7 Kitsap 7:05 p.m.

July 8 Kitsap 7:05 p.m.

July 9 Kitsap 7:05 p.m.

July 10 at Kelowna 6:35 p.m.

July 11 at Kelowna 6:35 p.m.

July 12 at Kelowna 6:35 p.m.

July 14 Victoria 7:05 p.m.

July 15 Victoria 7:05 p.m.

July 16 Victoria 7:05 p.m.

July 17 Corvallis 7:05 p.m.

July 18 Corvallis 7:05 p.m.

July 19 Corvallis 7:05 p.m.

July 21 at WCL All-Star Game TBD

July 22 at Yakima 7:05 p.m.

July 23 at Yakima 7:05 p.m.

July 24 at Yakima 7:05 p.m.

July 25 Cowlitz 7:05 p.m.

July 26 Cowlitz 7:05 p.m.

July 27 Cowlitz 3:05 p.m.

July 28 Medford 7:05 p.m.

July 29 Medford 7:05 p.m.

July 30 Medford 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 1 at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 2 at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 3 at Victoria 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 4 at Kitsap 6:35 p.m.

Aug. 5 at Kitsap 6:35 p.m.

Aug. 6 at Kitsap 6:35 p.m.

Aug. 8 at Cowlitz 6:35 p.m.

Aug. 9 at Cowlitz 6:35 p.m.

Aug. 10 at Cowlitz 5:05 p.m.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service