YAKIMA, Wash. – A catcher from Montana State University Billings and a pair of freshmen from Dixie State University are the latest additions to the Yakima Valley Pippins for this summer.
Catcher Andrew Schleusner, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore from Kalispell, Mont., started his 2018 collegiate season with a bang – earning Player of the Week honors in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference after batting .462 over three games this past weekend, including seven RBI and three walks. That included a 4-for-5 effort in MSUB’s 15-7 Friday victory over 15th-ranked Dixie State.
“Andrew is a player I’ve had my eye on for almost a year now,” Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy said. “I saw him last spring for the first time, but it was too late in the process to get him in a Pippins uniform. He can really catch and throws well from behind the plate, and now he’s a year older. I’m pleased to see him come out of the gates fast this spring with the bat.”
MSUB went 3-1 on opening weekend, winning two of the three games against Dixie State in addition to beating Cal State San Bernardino.
Dixie State pitchers Tyler Hollow and Jack Gonzales also are heading to Yakima this summer.
Hollow, a 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander from Boise, Idaho, pitched an inning against MSUB on Saturday, allowing two runs and three hits. A two-way player, Hollow is hitting .267 (4 for 15) with three RBI in six games with the Trailblazers.
“As an infielder and right-handed pitcher, Tyler’s versatility will really allow our coaching staff to open up the playbook on how we use him in various roles game to game,” McKimmy said. “He comes from a fantastic baseball family in the Boise area and can play any spot in the infield for us this summer.”
Gonzales, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-hander from Oceanside, Calif., struck out four and walked two, allowing six hits and six runs, in his Friday debut.
“We anticipate Jack will come into the summer with quite a bit of college experience after his first year at DSU,” McKimmy said. “He will be used mostly out of the bullpen this spring, but can also extend into some long relief when needed. You can never have enough quality arms from the left side.
“We’re excited to welcome players from two quality Division II programs we have worked with in the past,” McKimmy continued. “Coach (Chris) Pfatenhauer (DSU) and coach (Aaron) Sutton (MSUB) are proven winners at every level they’ve been at, and have sent us very fine young men and athletes over the years.”
The Pippins open their fifth anniversary season on June 1, hosting the Walla Walla Sweets at Yakima County Stadium. Season tickets for the team’s 32-game home schedule are currently available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St. in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487 or online at pippinsbaseball.com. Discounted opening night tickets are also on sale through the end of February.