A banner day for Cougar baseball

EVERY YEAR AT this time, Washington State baseball coach Donnie Marbut goes to bed with a knot in his stomach. Most of the time, his worst fears do not materialize. Every now and then, however, one of the Cougars' incoming recruits goes AWOL just prior to the signing deadline for June draftees and turns pro.

This year, the signing deadline was Monday night. On Tuesday morning, Marbut breathed a sigh of relief when he confirmed that the Cougars went 5-for-5 on retaining drafted players. The list includes four incoming recruits and Chad Arnold, WSU's No. 1 starting pitcher this past season.

Marbut and Arnold were so certain that Arnold would bypass his senior year that he went through Senior Day ceremonies at WSU's final home game. He was drafted in the 18th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the two sides could not come to terms on a contract.
"I thought it was 100 percent he was going to be in professional baseball," Marbut said. "We're just pumped to have him back."

The incoming recruits who were drafted in June were Newport High School shortstop Trace Tam Sing (22nd round, Boston), Capital High outfielder-first baseman Jason Monda (32nd round, Colorado), Central Valley High pitcher Scott Simon (33rd round, Tampa Bay) and former Prairie High first baseman Taylor Ard (35th round, Florida).

Ard missed most of his sophomore year at Mount Hood Community College with a fractured wrist. He'll have a good shot at replacing Michael Weber (now in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system) at first base, but Marbut said Monda can play first or any of the three outfield positions.

"I still say he's the most talented guy we've ever signed," Marbut said, "but our outfield is very crowded."

Marbut said Tam Sing "has the ability to come in and compete" for the starting shortstop job. Three-year starter Shea Vucinich passed up his senior year to sign with Milwaukee.

Marbut said "the sky's the limit" for Simon, a big, hard-throwing right-hander. Simon is the least developed of the drafted Cougars, Marbut said.

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