Multiple Zags Spent Summer in Baseball Leagues Around the Country

Six Bulldogs named all-stars in their respective summer leagues


SPOKANE, Wash. – Tuesday marked the start of the 2018 fall semester, but the 2018 summer wasn't wasted on the Zags. For several Gonzaga baseball players, the summer was full of playing opportunities as multiple Zags participated in summer collegiate leagues across the country. Six Bulldogs – Austin Pinorini, Jace VanDeBrake, Taylor Davis, Mason Marenco, Nick Nyquist and Ernie Yake – were selected to the all-star teams of their respective leagues.

"Being named to an all-star team was exciting for me," Pinorini said. "Seeing all the hard work you put into this game recognized by others is a good feeling. On top of all that, I got to enjoy it with a lot of talent from other players in the league. It was an experience I'll never forget, and I enjoyed my time being there."

Pinorini, who spent the summer in Palmer, Alaska, with the Mat-Su Miners, represented the National League in the Alaska Baseball League (ABL) All-Star game on July 15. This season, he finished with 37 hits and 18 runs to go along with 27 RBIs batting .272, and he helped the Miners to its third-straight ABL World Series title in early August.

Fellow Zag VanDeBrake also spent his summer in the ABL, suiting up for the Anchorage Bucs. VanDeBrake finished the season with 33 hits, 20 runs and 13 RBIs batting .239, and he represented the American League in the All-Star Game. VanDeBrake clinched the 7-5 All-Star victory with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"It felt great to be named an all-star," VanDeBrake said. "The ABL is a very competitive league, so getting to play in that game meant a lot to me."

Gonzaga also had ample representation in the West Coast League (WCL) All-Star Game as a quartet of Bulldogs earned all-star recognition: Davis, Marenco and Yake represented the WCL North All-Stars while Nyquist was selected as a WCL South All-Star for the July 18th game. The North prevailed 10-6 after breaking a 5-all tie with two scores in the bottom of the fifth inning, followed by a score in the seventh and two in the eighth. Yake finished with one hit and one run while Marenco added one hit and an RBI.

Yake, Nyquist and Marenco also collected all-league honors following the conclusion of the 2018 summer season. Yake picked up All-WCL First Team honors after posting a .294 batting average for the season, collecting 53 hits and 23 RBIs in addition to 29 runs. Yake, who suited up for the Bellingham Bells, added 49 putouts and 92 assists with 10 errors for a .934 fielding percentage. Nyquist, who spent his third-straight summer season with the Walla Walla Sweets, picked up All-WCL Second Team honors. Nyquist ranked 12th in the WCL with a .310 batting average, connecting for 45 hits, 30 runs and 28 RBIs. The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho native added 136 putouts and 13 assists in 38 games for the Sweets. Fellow Bulldog Marenco, who represented the Wenatchee AppleSox, was named All-WCL Honorable Mention after finishing the 2018 summer with a .289 batting average, racking up 43 hits, 24 runs and 17 RBIs in 149 appearances. The North Bend, Wash. native added 42 putouts and 82 assists to his summer line.

Redshirt senior Slade Heggen also represented Gonzaga in a summer league all-star game as he was selected to participate in the California Collegiate League All-Star Game. Heggen spent the summer playing for the Santa Barbara Foresters, and he helped the 'Sters to their seventh NBC World Series National Championship in early August. Santa Barbara defeated the National Junior College All-America team 6-5 in the Aug. 11 game.

In all, 27 Zags spent their summer playing in summer collegiate baseball leagues. See below for a full list.

NAME TEAM LEAGUE

Austin Pinorini Mat-Su Miners Alaska Baseball League
Daniel Fredrickson Anchorage Bucs Alaska Baseball League
Jace VanDeBrake Anchorage Bucs Alaska Baseball League
Slade Heggen Santa Barbara Foresters California Collegiate League
Casey Legumina Bourne Braves Cape Cod League
Matt Henckel Badlands Big Sticks Expedition League
Jake Thurber Badlands Big Sticks Expedition League
Grayson Sterling Spearfish Sasquatch Expedition League
Stephen Lund Pierre Trappers Expedition League
Brett Harris Alaska Goldpanners Independent
Jack Krauel Liberal Bee Jays Jayhawk League
Josh Bristyan Nevada Griffons Mink League
Mason Marenco Wenatchee Applesox West Coast League
Isaac Barrera Wenatchee Applesox West Coast League
Michael Spellacy Wenatchee Applesox West Coast League
Tyler Chipman Wenatchee Applesox West Coast League
Gabe Togia Bend Elks West Coast League
Daniel Naughton Bend Elks West Coast League
Ernie Yake Bellingham Bells West Coast League
Jake Machtolf Bellingham Bells West Coast League
Taylor Davis Bellingham Bells West Coast League
Guthrie Morrison Bellingham Bells West Coast League
Colin Suter Portland Pickles West Coast League
Carson Breshears Portland Pickles West Coast League
Daniel Copeland Portland Pickles West Coast League
Nick Nyquist Walla Walla Sweets West Coast League
Mason Wells Yakima Pippins West Coast League

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