By my count there are 45 former prep athletes from our region of Oregon sitting on a college roster for baseball, softball, golf and track and field this spring at 17 different colleges and universities. I took a dive into the stat sheets for each athlete to update readers on what the local kids from Hermiston and surrounding areas are up to these days. Baseball and softball cumulative statistics are as of April 9:
There are currently three former Bulldogs who have continued playing softball at the collegiate level. Joining the trio is a graduate of Stanfield High and a former Echo Cougar.
● Ellery Jones (Hermiston), Idaho State, fr. — Jones has played in 24 games and started nine for the Bobcats, tallying a .071 batting average with one hit in 14 at-bats, while also scoring four runs.
● Mikayla Kopacz (Hermiston), Columbia Basin College, soph. — Kopacz has been one of CBC’s top hitters, sporting a .416 average with eight home runs and 25 RBI, seven doubles and 26 runs scored.
● Allie Rude (Hermiston), Whitworth University, sr. — A senior catcher, Rude holds a .291 average with one home run, eight RBI and two doubles in 32 games.
● Kenzie Gonzales (Stanfield), Blue Mountain CC, fr. — Gonzales has had a rough year at pitcher for the Timberwolves, too, with a 16.71 ERA in 34 1/3 innings over 11 appearances. She also has one home run and four RBI as a hitter.
● Sam McQuown (Echo), Blue Mountain CC, fr. — She is third on the team with a .225 average in 40 at-bats, with thre runs scored and four RBI.
There are currently eight players Hermiston, Stanfield and Irrigon playing in the college ranks this season.
● RJ Robles (Hermiston), Treasure Valley CC, soph. — The former Hermiston star pitcher has been dominant in his second year with the Chukars, posting a 2.67 ERA in 30 1/3 innings over seven starts with 36 strikeouts.
● Chase Root (Hermiston), Blue Mountain CC, soph. — Following a solid freshman season at pitcher, Root’s second year with the Timberwolves has been a bit of a struggle with a 7.71 ERA in 16 1/3 innings this season between six total appearances and three starts.
● Tyler Sexton (Hermiston), Blue Mountain CC, soph. — The 6-foot-5 righty has appeared in 11 games this season with a .263 batting average with five runs scored, four RBI and two doubles in 38 at-bats.
● Nychal Gritz (Hermiston), Blue Mountain CC, fr. — Arguably the best starting pitcher for the Timberwolves this season, Gritz has a 4-0 record with a 3.11 ERA in 34 2/3 innings spread over six starts. He also has a team-high 30 strikeouts.
● Slade Gritz (Hermiston), Blue Mountain CC, fr. — Known more for his catching prowess as a Bulldog, Grtiz has made an early impact as a pitcher for BMCC. He has five relief appearances totaling 4 2/3 innings with a 3.85 ERA.
● Dylan Grogan (Stanfield), Yakima Valley College, fr. — Consistent playing time has been hard to come by for Grogan. He has appeared as a hitter in five games with one hit, three runs, three walks and two RBI in 12 at-bats. On the mound, Grogan has thrown 10 innings with 18 strikeouts and five walks in four appearances.
● Tony Flores (Stanfield), Blue Mountain CC, fr. — Flores has appeared in eight games with only three at-bats, where he recorded one hit, two walks and one run scored.
● Austin Rice (Irrigon), Whitworth University, fr. — In Rice’s first year at the Division III level, he has appeared in eight games with one start on the mound, with 16 strikeouts and a 6.00 ERA in 18.0 innings.
Track & Field
Hermiston has produced several tremendous track and field athletes over the past few years, and now those athletes are making names for themselves in college. The Bulldog alums have a heavy presence at EOU.
● Alex Cisneros (Hermiston), Portland State, r-Jr. — Cisneros has competed twice this spring season, finishing first in the 5,000 meter run (14:28.96) at the L&C Spring Break Open on March 17, as well as a 15th place finish in the 10,000-meter run (29:54.96) at the SF State Distance Carnival on March 30.
● Makayla Akers (Hermiston), Eastern Oregon, fr. — Competing in javelin, Akers set her best throw of the season during the EOU Team Challenge in Hermiston on March 17, recording a distance of 135-feet, 4-inches — fifth best in the NAIA.
● Abby Johnston (Hermiston), Eastern Oregon, r-Jr. — Competing in 100-meter dash and hurdles, Johnston’s best finish was a fourth place in the 100 hurdles at the EOU Team Challenge on March 17.
● Ebony Wilson (Hermiston), Eastern Oregon, fr. — Currently holds the top mark for EOU in 100-meter dash (12.79), long jump (5.35 meters), and triple jump (11.07 meters).
● Jose Macias (Hermiston), Concordia, jr. — So far in his junior season, and first year at Concordia, Macias had a top-10 finished at the Ask Creek Invite. The distance runner finished in seventh place after clocking a 19:09.4, and then ran a 26:56.83 at GNAC’s and a 32:53.3 at Regionals.
A lone Bulldogs has moved on to continue her golf career at the next level.
● Madison Welch (Hermiston), Concordia University, jr. — In her sophomore season, Welch was named to the Department of Athletic’ Honor Roll and was also selected to make up the GNAC All-Academic Team. In the 2016-17 season, Welch played in two tournaments, her best was a 185 that she recorded a two separate invitationals.
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