Prep Baseball: White, Guerrero Highlight All-Area Baseball Team
CO-MVPS: Bearcat Senior Duo Headlines Local Baseball Talent on Chronicle’s 2018 All-Area Team
By Matt Baide
The All-Area Baseball team has plenty of star power from the 2B, 1A and 2A ranks, but there’s no denying that the two best players in the area hail from the same team.
W.F. West senior pitcher Brandon White and senior pitcher/outfielder Tyson Guerrero are the co-MVP’s of The Chronicle’s All-Area Baseball team.
White, who has signed to play for Washington State University next season, has been the center of attention when he is on the mound this year, with MLB scouts at each of his starts toting radar guns to assess his pro potential.
“Brandon is going to be one of those kids impressive whichever organization drafts him,” W.F. West coach Bryan Bullock said. “Coming out of the Northwest, he doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other states. He has a lot of potential. We’ve only seen a part of his potential and he’s got a lot of growing to do moving forward.”
White posted a 7-2 record in 55 innings pitched. The Evergreen 2A Conference co-MVP allowed five earned runs all season to accumulate a 0.64 ERA. He struck out 92 batters and walked just 12 while holding opponents to a .137 batting average.
“Brandon’s had a ton of talent since he was a freshman. He’s continued to work, continued to develop as he’s grown,” Bullock said. “Last summer, he started putting it together, worked hard in the offseason and it showed all the work he’s put in. It really paid off.”
Guerrero is also bound for Pullman to play for the Cougars next season and slotted in as W.F. West’s No. 2 starting pitcher, behind White, going 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He struck out 76 batters with just 11 walks and held teams to a .127 batting average while on the mound.
“That talks about how great of a player he is,” Bullock said. “You think about his pitching, but I’ve been able to write his name with CF next to it for the last three years. He’s such a great outfielder.”
When he wasn’t throwing, Guerrero patrolled center field and he held down the leadoff spot in the batting order. This year he hit .429 with 37 runs, 28 RBIs and 36 hits — including a team-high 12 doubles, a triple and three home runs — while earning his second-straight EvCo MVP award.
“I think Tyson is exactly what you think of when you think of the word MVP. He bats leadoff and throws in the upper 80s,” Bullock said. “At the plate, he has potential to do great things and he’s an all-around high school baseball MVP.”
The Bearcats were 23-3 this season and finished third at state not only because of Guerrero and White, but other solid players including Brock Jones, Dakota Hawkins and Nole Wollan — all of whom were selected to the All-Area team.
Hawkins, a senior bound for Lower Columbia College, led the team with a .471 batting average. He returned from an injury suffered during football season and played in 22 games for the Bearcats.
“The transformation in our team was huge when Dakota came back. We had a good start to the season and when he came back, it pushed us over the top,” Bullock said. “Especially on defense, he was a true leader on the field. When he came back, he was definitely a spark plug for us.”
The starting shortstop tied for a team lead with 29 RBIs, scored 23 runs, and recorded 33 hits and garnering a first team All-League EvCo pick.
Senior first baseman Wollan hit in the No. 3 spot for the Bearcats with a .384 average, 33 hits, 23 RBIs and 25 runs and was also a first team All-EvCo pick.
“The experience that Nole brings and the steady production he brings, he did a nice job defensively,” Bullock said. “Offensively, we knew we were going to get good at bats out of him, and he did everything you ask a senior to do in lineup and on the field.”
Jones was a relief pitcher for the Bearcats, throwing 18 innings with two saves and amassing a 1.50 ERA. The junior was third on the team in strikeouts with 39, allowing only eight walks all season and earning first-team All-EvCo honors.
“It was a luxury that we had this year. We had lots of depth and it was nice to know, if we were in a tight ball game, we could call on him to deliver and he did all season long,” Bullock said.
Centralia’s team had three players make the All-Area team in Broc Selstrom, Kolby Sharp and Jeremy Wood.
Selstrom was the Tigers’ ace pitcher, going 3-3 on the season with a 3.33 ERA and 25 strikeouts. The senior has signed to play with Lower Columbia next season.
Sharp was a first team EvCo All-League selection and hit .323 with 14 runs, nine RBIs and nine walks.
Wood, a sophomore, blossomed into a solid starting pitcher for Centralia with a 7-0 record and a 2.78 ERA. He also hit in the leadoff spot for the Tigers and accumulated a .322 average with 18 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
Adna senior Conner Weed and junior Sawyer Burdick made the All-Area team for the third-in-state Pirates.
Weed was named the co-MVP of the Central 2B League while being used as a shutdown relief pitcher and everyday shortstop for Adna. He hit .395 with 32 hits including five home runs, while scoring 24 runs and recording 33 RBIs. On the mound, Weed accumulated a 1.22 ERA in 23 innings. He had three saves and recorded 31 strikeouts.
Burdick was the top pitcher for the Pirates, throwing 57 innings with a 2.21 ERA and a 7-1 record. He allowed 18 earned runs and struck out 58 batters. At the plate, Burdick hit .437 with 38 hits, 25 runs and 31 RBIs. His 38 hits included six doubles, a triple and three home runs.
Tenino’s Miles Cannon also earned a spot on the All-Area team. The senior catcher for the Beavers was an All-League honorable mention while hitting .409 with 19 runs, 17 RBIs and four doubles.
Onalaska junior Matt Kurzeika made the All-Area team. At the plate, he hit .317 with 21 runs, 15 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. On the mound, Kurzeika was 3-3 with a 2.10 ERA in 43 ⅓ innings. He recorded 27 strikeouts and only 10 walks for the Loggers, who made the district tournament for the first time since 2010.
All Area Baseball Team
Brandon White Sr. W.F. West
Tyson Guerrero Sr. W.F. West
Brock Jones Jr. W.F. West
Dakota Hawkins Sr. W.F. West
Nole Wollan Sr. W.F. West
Sawyer Burdick Jr. Adna
Conner Weed Sr. Adna
Miles Cannon Sr. Tenino
Broc Selstrom Sr. Centralia
Kolby Sharp Sr. Centralia
Jeremy Wood So. Centralia
Matt Kurzeika Jr. Onalaska