By Andie Holmberg
The Times 

Dunn, Gradwohl to Lead DW Baseball


Dayton-Waitsburg enters first year as combine with experienced Waitsburg pitchers

DAYTON – Dayton and Waitsburg High Schools will field a combined baseball team for the 2017 season. It’s the first year for the new baseball combine.

This year, 23 young men from the two schools have turned out to play, which presents the opportunity for some JV games (dates to be announced). The combine will bring experience from Waitsburg, along with strong younger players from Dayton.

Head coach Shane Loper will be assisted by Johnny Watts. Loper and Watts coached Dayton’s team for the first time last year. Dayton didn’t field a team in 2015.

For DW this year, veteran standout pitchers Jacob Dunn and Kyle Gradwohl will take the mound, along with Chris Philbrook. All three are from Waitsburg.

Younger talent will come from Junior Helm, Josh Hartwell, Ashton Loper, Jeff Dieu, and Jarred (Ely) Williams, all of Dayton

With two senior pitchers, DW is working with underclassmen Loper, Helm, and Hartwell, to develop their pitching skills. Coach Loper feels they will be contenders this year, with strong fielding and hitting coming from Dunn, Gradwohl, Jeff Dieu, Philbrook, Loper, Helm and Williams.

Due to rain, the team has been practicing mostly indoors so far, sharing the Dayton gym with the Dayton softball team.

Though inside and cramped for space, the DW practice is still very intense, running pickle drills, fielding grounders, core strength training, and hitting in the batting cage. The team has also used some practices and spent numerous hours making improvements to the Dayton ballfield, the home field for the DW team.

For 2017, the WIAA has imposed a pitching limit for 2B schools. In the seven inning games, pitchers are now allowed 70 pitches per day. If a pitcher exceeds the limit, they are not allowed to pitch again for 3 days. This poses a minor issue as most high school games are held on Saturday and then Tuesday.

Dayton-Waitsburg will play in the Eastern Washington Athletic Conference. Their season opener will be a non-league game Saturday at Pomeroy.


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