Slumbering Spartans prepare to wake up league

During the past couple of years, Sumner High’s baseball team has been like a slumbering volcano – potentially dangerous, but fairly quiet.

John Welker, the Spartans’ skipper for the past half decade is speculating that things might become volatile again on the beautifully groomed SHS diamond during the 2009 baseball campaign.

Sumner, which was strapped for pitching last year, still seemed to be on the verge of something special, but couldn’t quite get over the hump, allowing a handful of one-run encounters to slip through its fingers. This year, Sumner hopes to be on the other side of that equation.

“These guys are young and as coaches we are going to bring them along slowly,” Welker said. “But I think by the end of the season people are going to be thinking of us as a bunch of overachievers.”

Welker said his squad has more pitching than it did last season.

Of the 15 players who will be regulars on the varsity traveling squad, Welker says he is thankful that a half-dozen or so of those are versatile enough to play outfield or first base or serve as utility infielder when it isn’t their turn in the pitching rotation.

Heading the list of Spartan slingers is hard-throwing right hander Brad Falk. As a solidly built, 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore, Falk will double as the starting first baseman and cleanup hitter.

Other notable hill performers are right-hander Jordan Schliesman, a tandem of southpaws in senior Mike Dent, junior Tanner Walker and freshman Michael Greenwood.

The receiving half of the Spartan battery is Alex Sloan, who has been a first team all-league pick at both the 4A level (when he started as a freshman at Puyallup) and at the 3A designation (after he transfered to Sumner High last year as a sophomore).

Sloan, who Welker said will be hitting third in the lineup, will be heading to the University of Washington when his high school career is done. Not only did Sloan belt 10 round trippers last season, but he also finished with a batting average somewhere in the neighborhood of .435.

Reach John Leggett at or 360-802-8207.