PULLMAN – Ten high school seniors have each signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball for WSU beginning in 2009, Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut announced Thursday.
“I am so proud of the work of my assistant coaches Travis Jewett and Gregg Swenson,” Marbut said. “Once again, some of the top players in the state of Washington will be Cougars. In addition, we went out of state and landed some of the best talent in the West. For us to compete for a Pac-10 title, we must continue this kind of class.”
The class includes Auburn catcher Kyle Buchanan, Seattle Prep right-handed pitcher/third baseman Anthony Drobnick, Lewis-Palmer (Colo.) left-handed pitcher Bobby Hansen, Lake City (Idaho) outfielder Kyle Johnson, Snohomish left-hander pitcher/outfielder Derek Jones, Auburn right-hander pitcher/corner infielder David Olson, West Valley in Spokane outfielder Bryan Peterson, Bend (Ore.) middle infielder Tommy Richards, Central Valley left-handed pitcher Rusty Shellhorn, and Mountlake Terrace right-handed pitcher Jacob Theis.
Buchanan is a three-time All-South Puget Sound League selection and was a member of the USA Under-18 national team. He is a three-year starter for head coach Tim Kuykendall and helped the Trojans to a 25-3 mark and 3A state runner-up finish.
Drobnick was named co-Most Valuable Player in the Seattle Metro League last season. He was a 3A all-state pitcher while helping lead the Panthers, coached by former WSU pitcher Matt O’Brien, to a 20-4 record. Academically, he is a two-time member of the Dean’s List at Seattle Prep.
Hansen was a 5A Metro Conference First Team selection as a pitcher in 2007 under the guidance of head coach Chuck Milo. He received honorable mention all-state academic accolades last season.
Johnson was a member of state champion football and baseball teams as a junior. He was an All-Inland Empire League First Team honoree in 2007 after swiping 31 bases in 28 games and was named an Idaho Top Scholar.
Jones was a WIAA First Team All-State selection while leading the Panthers to a 22-5 record and a 2007 state runner-up finish. He is a two-time All North Westco First Team selection while playing for Kim Hammons.
Olson logged a 9-0 record with a 1.81 earned run average on the mound last season while batting .400 with 41 runs batten in at the plate. He hit two grand slams during a game in late March and three weeks later pitched a no-hitter. A high school teammate of Buchanan, he is a two-time All-South Puget Sound League selection and has been a member of the honor roll at Auburn for the last three years.
Peterson, playing for Don O’Neal, was a First Team All-State and Louisville Slugger honorable mention All-America honoree in 2007 while leading the Great Northern League in home runs and RBI. As a quarterback this fall, he broke six Spokane Area passing records, including three held by WSU alum Mark Rypien.
Richards was First Team All-Intermountain Conference as a shortstop and Second Team All-IMC as a pitcher last season while playing for Brian Crook. During his junior campaign he garnered Second Team All-IMC honors as a second baseman.
Shellhorn logged 70 strikeouts in 47 innings last season for head coach Barry Poffenroth. He posted a 5-3 record with a 2.23 ERA and was named Second Team All-Greater Spokane League.
Theis was 7-1 on the mound for coach Andrew Watters and earned First Team Wesco South 4A honors as a pitcher. He also earned the league defensive player of the year award.
Marbut said this positive momentum will help bring the Cougard baseball to new levels. “To have this many student-athletes commit this early is a sign we are a program moving in the right direction.”