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Baseball player at bat

Offense powers baseball team’s season

Yakima Valley College’s baseball team rode its hot bats to the Northwest Athletics Conference Super Regionals this spring.

The Yaks baseball team fielded the most productive offense in the conference during the 2022 season, paced by NWAC batting champion Hank Dunn (.413 batting average), a sophomore outfielder who will continue his career at Gonzaga University next season.

Going 7-3 to close their season, the Yaks claimed the No. 3 seed in the NWAC East and faced the South’s No. 4 seed, Lane Community College, in a loser-out Super Regional game on May 19. Unfortunately, after scoring in the first two innings, the team’s bats went cold in an 11-3 loss.

“I was extremely pleased with the development of the team starting with the work we did back in the fall in the weight room and our skill development,” said Head Coach Kyle Krustangel. “Our offense definitely carried the load. It was very dynamic and we felt we always had a chance because the ‘O’ put up a big number of runs.”

Playing their first full season since 2019, the Yaks finished with a 31-18 record.

“We had some second and third year guys who had never experienced a full season here,” Krustangel said. “Getting to play a full season this year, it makes the buy-in, but also the day-to-day stuff we need to do a whole lot easier to work toward the ultimate goal.”

Krustangel is proud to see many of his players continuing their playing careers, expecting 15 or more to go on to play at 4-year schools.

“We’ll have a good crop of guys represented at the next level,” he said. “That’s a big part of what this level is about and shows we brought in a good group of guys to develop — we want to find those guys who are hungry to maximize their playing careers.”

Now, the team already is looking ahead to the ultimate goal of bringing another championship title back to YVC.

“We had a fun group of guys this year, a lot of players who put their heart and soul into the program,” Krustangel said. “Now we’re bringing back a good group of guys who understand the goals of our program and are ready to step up as leaders.”

Dunn is one of four YVC baseball players (joined by catcher Josh Davis, infielder Spencer Marenco and pitcher Tyler Frieders) who local fans can continue to watch this summer playing for the Yakima Valley Pippins.