Cougar Baseball Notebook: News & notes galore

WASHINGTON STATE'S SPLENDID baseball season has come and gone, but good news about Cougar baseball has turned into a year-round event -- and this past week was particularly heavy on crimson colored headlines.

In the past few days alone, Adam Conley just missed a no-hitter in the New England Collegiate Baseball League; James Wise, Jay Ponciano and Derek Jones became the latest Cougars to make summer league all-star teams; and incoming freshman Brett Jacobs was named a first-team high school All-American.

In addition, Jared Prince clubbed his third homer in four games for the Spokane Indians; Matt Way continues to dominate in his first pro season; and volunteer assistant coach Gabe Boruff is a finalist for the staff opening left by the departure of hitting coach-recruiting coordinator Travis Jewett.

-- Conley dominates: An infield single that barely got past Conley in the seventh inning cost him a no-hitter Monday night in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).

Conley, a freshman at WSU this year, wound up striking out 14 and walking none in a 2-0 victory for the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats over the visiting North Adams (Mass.) SteepleCats.

"That was one of the best pitching performances we've seen here in a long time," Keene coach Marty Testo told The Keene Sentinel.

Conley has yielded just one run (unearned) and nine hits, walked five and fanned 30 in 25 2/3 innings. The hard-throwing lefty is 2-0 after three games and three relief appearances, and WSU coach Donnie Marbut said he can't decide whether he'll use Conley as a starter or reliever next year.

-- Star power: Wise pitched out of the bullpen at WSU this year, but Marbut has been impressed with the Boise native's work as a starter with the wonderfully named Mankato (Minn.) MoonDogs.

Wise earned an invitation to the Northwoods League All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Wise is 5-0 with a 1.62 earned run average.

"He's a diabetic," Marbut noted. "Maybe that set routine (as a starter) will help."

Jones went 0-for-1 as a reserve left fielder in the NECBL All-Star Game, which drew a record 4,906 fans Saturday in Holyoke, Mass. Jones is batting .286 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 21 games with the Newport (R.I.) Gulls.

Marbut said Conley's lack of innings prior to Monday cost him an all-star invitation.

Ponciano is set to play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball Association All-Star Game on Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif. The catcher is batting .390 with no homers and 16 RBIs for the regular-season champion Palm Springs Power (18-2 league, 31-7 overall).

-- Jacobs honored: Jacobs was one of seven infielders named to the All-America first team of EA Sports. Jacobs hit .417 with five homers and 33 RBIs as a shortstop at Richland High School, but Marbut says he may wind up at another position in college.

Jacobs is one of the star attractions in a signing class that Marbut raves about. Three other recruits were drafted by major league teams last month, plus closer candidate Seth Harvey, and Marbut said he's confident all four will spurn the pros to help WSU bid for a second straight NCAA tournament trip.

"I think the (2010) team might be a little more talented," Marbut said, "but it's tough to replace experience."

-- WSU staff changes: Marbut said he will replace Jewett as hitting coach. The popular Jewett resigned last week to become hitting coach at national powerhouse Arizona State.

"He'll be missed," Marbut said. "He did a great job for us."

Pitching coach Gregg Swenson is now the head assistant. Marbut said Boruff, a volunteer coach the past two seasons, is a finalist for the recruiting coordinator job.

-- Impressive starts: Prince, a mainstay in right field at WSU, continues to see almost all his playing time with Spokane at first base or designated hitter.

Prince blasted a grand slam Saturday and ranks with the Northwest League leaders with four homers and 19 RBIs in 21 games. Drafted in the 34th round by Texas last month, Prince is batting .269.

Way, Philadelphia's fifth-round pick, has overwhelmed the New York-Penn League. The NYP, like the Northwest League, is a short-season Class A circuit.

After six games (all starts), Way is 2-1 with a 1.01 ERA, which ranks third in the league. He's struck out 29, walked just four and given up only 14 hits in 26 2/3 innings.

-- Hatteberg waits: Lights! Camera! Uh, no action?

The acting "career" of former Cougar star Scott Hatteberg was put on hold when Sony Pictures Entertainment recently announced it was canceling the baseball movie "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt.

Sony has since decided to try to revive the project, but without director Steven Soderbergh. Hatteberg, a former Oakland Athletics player, is set to play himself in the movie about the unusual operating style and cybermetric practices of the Athletics under general manager Billy Beane.

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