L-C ready to enter arms raceBy JIM BROWITT
of the Tribune
This is the second in a three-part series previewing Lewis-Clark State College baseball for the 2005 season. Friday: season overview.
As is seemingly always the case with their pitching, the Warriors approach this season with a bounty of possibilities, a handful of questions and a looming pivotal factor. Aaron Mills, Brad Davis and Jon McCaslin prominently figure into all three categories.
Mills, a powerful senior left-hander in his third year at L-C, elicits great expectations that have been delayed by elbow surgery in 2003. He went 5-0 last year, working 35l innings, but never assumed a consequential role.
Davis, another senior lefty, became known locally as a pitcher for Spalding, Ky., throwing against the Warriors in both the 2002 and '03 NAIA World Series. After an All-America season at Spalding last spring, he transferred to L-C, where his integration into the program has also been slowed by elbow problems.
And McCaslin, a junior right-hander, comes to L-C from Lower Columbia College, where he distinguished himself as a closer. He is expected to serve in a similar capacity this spring -- if he can overcome a sore shoulder.
"If we can keep those guys healthy, that could really set us up well," L-C coach Ed Cheff says. "We've got a lot of guys we like, but those three could really make a difference."
Only Mills is expected to throw this weekend, when Cheff anticipates using 10-12 pitchers in the Warriors' four games during the Les Schwab Tournament at Harris Field. The roster lists 17 pitchers, all of whom could fit prominently into L-C's staff.
"There's not a guy that we can't potentially see a role for," Cheff says. "Things will start sorting themselves out."
Mills is among seven returnees, none of whom pitched less than 23 innings last season.
The most notable holdover is Carlos Fisher, a senior right-hander who led the '04 Warriors in wins with an 8-1 record. Fisher, who registered a 2.55 earned run average and struck out a team-best 63, should retain a spot in the starting rotation, which will likely be the destination for Mills and Davis as well.
Other veterans are senior right-handers Sal Aguilar (5-0, 3.09 ERA) and Derek Landavazo (3-1, 2.27 ERA), both of whom were limited by arm problems last year; senior left-hander Ben Newton (2-1, 4.33 ERA), primarily a reliever throughout his L-C career; senior right-hander Nate Kuhns (2-2, 7.83 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Austin Weilep (3-1, 2.86 ERA).
Additional newcomers expected to make an impact are junior transfers Jason Garcia and Kyle Wright, both right-handers.
"We don't need anything special to happen with our pitching, because I think we're pretty solid throughout the staff," Cheff says. "We just have to figure out how to best use the guys we've got."
Browitt may be contacted at email@example.com