Eastside Catholic baseball returns with tons of talent
The Eastside Catholic Crusaders are determined to put together a breakthrough season this spring.
The past two seasons have been quite successful for the Crusaders. They won back-to-back Metro League crowns in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, both of those seasons came to an end in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
“We keep getting beat in that first round of the state tournament. We want to get over that hump this year,” Crusaders’ head coach Kyle Larsen said. “I’m excited. We have a lot of talent.”
Eastside Catholic undoubtedly has one of the most formidable rosters in the Class 3A Division. They will return seven starters off of last year’s team this spring. Five players including pitcher Jacob Dalhstrom (UW), Kenji Suzuki (Clemson), Bryson Beltran (Gonzaga), Nate Gelbrich (Saint Mary’s) and Zachary Sanidad (Oregon) have already committed to playing baseball at the collegiate level once their high school careers conclude.
Larsen said the Crusaders will rely on the arms of junior pitchers Jacob Dalhstrom and Will Armbruester. Larsen is thrilled to see the dynamic duo on the mound finally get their opportunity to be in the spotlight.
“They’ve been on the varsity team since their freshman year (2016). What has been nice with the benefit of all of the seniors the past couple of years, they (Dahlstrom, Armbruester) haven’t had to be thrown into the fire. They both have super good arms and are both Division-1 guys. It is now their time to shine,” Larsen said proudly. “They are excited for the chance to really get going and compete. They will not be No. 1 and No. 2 (pitchers). They will be 1A and 1B.”
Head coach: Kyle Larsen
Last year: 17-6 overall; won the Class 3A Metro Championship
Key returners: Kenji Suzuki, 3B/2B; Bryson Beltran, INF; Zachary Sanidad, SS; Will Armbruester, P; Jacob Dahlstrom, P; Nate Gelbrich, OF; Connor Niemann, OF
Crusaders softball to focus on the team
The Eastside Catholic Crusaders softball team has an abundance of players with varsity experience on the roster and Crusaders’ second-year head coach Mark Anderson said the majority of this year’s teams junior class has been on the varsity roster since they were freshman in the spring of 2016.
“This is a very fun outgoing group who are totally concentrated on the team aspect. There is no individual stars. We were blessed with a very talented group. They’ve already shown it in practice. We are going to be fairly solid at the plate and we’re going to be fundamentally sound in the field,” Anderson said.
While the Crusaders possess positional players with a wealth of experience, the pitching staff will be green.
“Pitching is going to be the question mark. We’re working very hard and are trying to groom a few starting pitchers for this year right now,” Anderson said.
Crusaders third baseman Harper Brown and catcher Nicole Moe earned all-league Metro honors during the 2017 season. Anderson expects the duo to dominate this year once again.
“Nicole is our catcher and is very solid defensively. She is one of the most powerful hitters in the Metro League as far as I’m concerned and has a lot of talent. Harper is very solid at the corner (third base), is a very good hitter and can hit for power as well,” Anderson explained.
Head coach: Mark Anderson
Last year: 5-13 overall; finished in seventh place in the Class 3A Metro Division
Key returners: Nicole Moe, C; Harper Brown, 3B; Joanie Foley, OF/INF; Emmie Gilchrist, OF/INF; McKenzie Spires, INF/OF; Mary Moe, SS/P