Eagles grad becomes PLU RBI champ

April 12, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Former Issaquah High School baseball star Ryan Aratani has become Pacific Lutheran University’s all-time career leader in runs batted in.

Aratani, a senior outfielder, took over the top spot April 10 by drawing a bases loaded walk in the Lutes’ 8-0 victory against Whitworth. It was his 118th run batted in. Aratani went 2-for-4 in the game.

For the season, Aratani is hitting .340. Last year he hit .398 and earned Northwest Conference first-team honors. In fact, he has hit better than .300 every season at Pacific Lutheran.

Another local player who is off to a good start for the Lutes is Liberty grad Jaron Iwakami, another outfielder. Iwakami is hitting .280.

One of the best games for both Aratani and Iwakami came March 27. Aratani went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. Iwakami went 3-for-4 as Pacific Lutheran topped Willamette 14-11.

Old teammates meet

Jacob Kemmerer and Kyle Sutherland used to be battery mates at Issaquah High School and later at Edmonds Community College. However, they were on opposite sides in a game last month.

Both former Eagles transferred from Edmonds to NCAA Division I schools last fall. Kemmerer, a pitcher, plays for Liberty University and Sutherland, a catcher, plays for Virginia Commonwealth. Their teams met March 29 with Liberty winning 11-1. Kemmerer pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two. Sutherland had a hit for Virginia Commonwealth.

Sutherland is off to an outstanding start for Virginia Commonwealth. Entering last week, he was hitting .389 with 10 runs batted in. On March 25, Sutherland had one of his best games of the season, getting three hits and driving in a run as Virginia Commonwealth defeated Georgia State 10-6.

Skyline grad has career game

Ryan Somers, a Skyline grad, had the best offensive game of his Seattle University baseball career April 9 when the Redhawks lost to Nevada 11-10. Somers went 4-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and two runs batted in.

Adrian Sampson, another Skyline player, is making a strong comeback this season as a pitcher for Bellevue College. Sampson missed all last spring as a senior at Skyline because of an injury.

Currently he has a 2-1 record with a 2.25 earned run average. On April 9, he went the distance in pitching a complete game as Bellevue defeated Shoreline 6-2. Sampson had six strikeouts. He had six strikeouts in six innings April 2 when Bellevue defeated Edmonds 3-2.

Prior to last spring, Sampson was one of the top pitchers in the KingCo Conference. He earned all-league honors in 2008 and 2009. As a junior he had a 1.85 earned run average.

Entering this spring, Sampson was picked 45th out of the top 100 community college pitchers in the nation.

Local grads starting for Huskies

Liberty grad Eric Peterson is playing first base and Issaquah grad Spencer Rogers is patrolling center field for the University of Washington this spring. Peterson was hitting .294 entering last week’s play.

Mike Paulson, another Issaquah graduate, is hitting well for Walla Walla Community College. He had three hits, including his seventh double of the season, when Walla Walla defeated Big Bend 15-13 April 2.

Liberty gets victory

Liberty grad John McLeod, a freshman pitcher, got his first college victory March 13 when Wake Forest defeated North Carolina 5-4. McLeod pitched 1.2 innings of relief and didn’t allow a run.

Curtis on disabled list

Former Issaquah standout Colin Curtis, who got called up to the major leagues last year by the New York Yankees, is currently on the 60-day disabled list. Curtis, an outfielder, dislocated his right shoulder during a March 10 spring training game.

Last year Curtis excited local fans when the Yankees called him up on June 21. He later started for the Yankees in a series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He was sent down to the minors July 21 but was recalled in September.

Shoji lit it up

Point guard Alyssa Shoji, a former Issaquah star, recently concluded her junior basketball season for Santa Clara University. Shoji ranked third in the West Coast Conference in 3-point field goals with 64 and in assists with 3.7 per game. She led the conference in free throw shooting percentage (91.4). Shoji finished the season with two of her best games, scoring 18 points in each of Santa Clara’s two conference tournament games. Shoji has scored 940 points during her career.

Golfers earn recognition

Derek Wilson, from Issaquah, is playing golf for the University of Puget Sound. He recently finished 12th at the Northwest Conference spring classic. Brandon Graef, from Skyline, a member of the Idaho State track team, finished fourth in the 400 hurdles at the All Idaho Classic.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com.

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