How area baseball teams look as season begins

4A

Newport Knights

Coach: Brian Fischer (13th season, 206-80)

Record last season: 13-9, 11-5 KingCo 3A

Key losses: OF Collin Bennett (Tacoma Community College); OF Blake Gibbs (Oregon State), INF Will Pierce (Tacoma Community College), C Ned Jones (Yakima Community College), P Nate Eisenhauer (Pacific Lutheran University)

Key returners: P Brandon Andreini, Sr.; 2B Brad Binder, Sr., SS Trace Tam Sing, Jr.; OF Reid Dilley, Jr.; OF Andrew West, Sr.; OF/P Colin Hering, Sr.; P Kevon Zadeh, Sr.;

The skinny: Newport was derailed in the KingCo 3A tournament after looking like a state contender earlier in the season. But the Knights top two players, Bennett and Gibbs, were injured in the second-to-last game of the regular season and missed the playoffs. Newport scored only 10 runs in its next three games and were ousted by Issaquah and Skyline in the tournament.

Inside look: The Knights have seven returning starters to go with good pitching depth, but the young players will need to step up quickly to compete in the tough KingCo 4A league.

Quick fact: Gibbs recovered from knee surgery and has had at-bats in almost every Oregon State game this season as a designated hitter.

3A

Bellevue Wolverines

Coach: Mark Tyler

Record last season: 11-9, 10-6 KingCo 3A

Key losses: 1B/P Colton Bielaski; C Casey Kruger, OF Ryan Sublett

Key returners: OF/P Taylor Anderson, Sr.; 1B/OF Alex Bielaski; IF/P Jake Collier, Sr.; OF/P Hardy Mowe, Sr.

The skinny: The Wolverines had only three seniors on last year’s squad, but that included ace pitcher Colton Bielaski.

Inside look: Solid returning core should help Bellevue stay competitive. Wolverines should benefit from Skyline, Issaquah and Newport’s departure to 4A; Bellevue went 2-4 against those teams last season.

Quick fact: Bellevue went 5-1 in its final six games of last season.

Sammamish Totems

Coach: Tim Ahern (1st season)

Record last season: 4-13, 4-12 KingCo 3A

Key losses: OF/P Andrew Berg; OF Matt Rudell

Key returners: SS/P Ross Kulcyzk, Sr.; 3B/P Will Minice, Sr.; C David Madson, Sr.

The skinny: Not a lot of firepower on last year’s squad - the Totems scored only 55 runs last season and were shut out five times.

Inside look: Sammamish didn’t lose a lot from last year; new coach Tim Ahern comes to a team with a heavy dose of seniors with lots of varsity experience.

Quick fact: New coach Ahern played baseball at Eastlake High School, Bellevue Community College and Texas Tech University.

2A

Interlake Saints

Coach: Peter Orgill (5th season)

Record last season: 2-16, 1-15 KingCo 3A

Key losses: SS Amir Zahed, P Joe Gallagher, OF Elliot Russell, INF Peter Wilson

Key returners: P Matt Allan, Sr.; C Spencer Nelson, Sr.

The skinny: The Saints had an even harder time scoring runs then they did stopping them; Interlake was outscored 114-36 and scored more than four runs in a game only four times.

Inside look: Allan returns as Saints top pitcher after anchoring the rotation in 2008. Interlake has a chance to make the 2A playoffs after dropping a classification this year.

Quick fact: The Saints were 0-2 against 2A competition last season.

1A

Bellevue Christian Vikings

Coach: Rob May (1st year as head coach; spent 8 seasons as co-head)

Record last season: 13-6, 10-3 Emerald City League

Key losses: SS Kyle Taylor (Cuesta Jr. College); OF Jeremy Bohnett (Pt. Loma College); P James King (Whitworth College)

Key returners: C DJ Mahon, Sr.; INF Max Pressey, Jr.; SS Luke Besel, Sr.; INF/P Ryan Fitzpatrick, Soph.; P Nat Townsend, Soph.; OF/P Jo Jo Howie, Soph.

The skinny: The Vikings won their third-straight Emerald City League championship and made the state playoffs before bowing out in the first round. Replacing three star players including two-time league MVP Taylor will be tough but a solid base of returners should help BCS make a run at another league title.

Inside look: May believes that if the pitching staff can hold up with its youth, the Vikings will be in the hunt for a 4th-straight league title.

Quick fact: Mahon, BCS’s team leader, has already enlisted to the Navy following graduation.