MOSES LAKE — Columbia Basin manager Randy Boruff calls the 2018 team as deep as any team in River Dogs history.
The 1998 team that won a Senior Babe Ruth World Series in Dare County, N.C. was the most talented, with seven players going into the Major League Draft.
But the 2018 bunch was good enough that the coaching staff had to make an A-list to serve as the primary team representing the Columbia Basin in the Washington Senior Babe State Championships, which starts Friday at Johnson-O’Brien Stadium in Ephrata.
Fact is, the 2018 team is so good they had to pick their top 18 for the first time in River Dogs history, and the process went fairly smoothly, according to both long-time skipper Boruff and River Dog White manager Greco Signorelli.
“I thought the selection process went well,” said Boruff, who is the Washington state Babe Ruth commissioner and River Dogs manager. “There was a lot of talent to choose from and I would say this team is the deepest we’ve ever had.
“We get them all together, get four days of practice in, then we’ll play the state tournament.”
The “B” Team, for lack of a better description, will also play in the Washington state championship with the opportunity to move on.
The selection committee included Boruff, Dave Johnson, Signorelli, Donnie Lindgren and Mike Rios. Not only does the roster include the best ballplayers in the Basin, but so does the coaching staff. Johnson is in the Washington Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. Boruff is the Babe Ruth League state commissioner and 2017 Lefty Gomez national volunteer of the year. Lindgren was the Columbia Basin Big Nine coach of the year last season for Moses Lake High School, Signorelli is on his staff, and Rios coached the 1998 River Dog national championship team and had cup of coffee in the Oakland A’s organization in 1994.
“It went very smooth, really,” Signorelli said. “I don’t think there were any real surprises. We all submitted our list. We discussed kids on the bubble, and what we felt was going to make (the A Team) the strongest team.
“Everybody pretty much submitted the same list.”
The A-Team includes Columbia Basin Big Nine Player of the Year and 4A All-State selection Dominic Signorelli, who was recently named to the USA Today All-Washington Baseball Team.
Dax Lindgren (first base), Evan McLean (center field/relief pitcher), Emmitt Tatum (designated hitter), Jordan Rios (starting pitcher), Cody Alvarado (shortstop), Vance Alvarado (starting pitcher), Cody Goodwin (catcher) and Gabe Passey (left field) were all-CBBN selections during the high school season.
Brewster’s Joe Taylor (shortstop/closer) is a Central Washington 2B league MVP. Ephrata’s Zac Berryman (shortstop) and Ethan Etter (catcher) were named all-Central Washington Athletic Conference, so the A-team really is the best of the best.
Three of the four teams at the Senior Babe Ruth state tournament will advance to the Pacific Northwest Regional in Gillette, Wyo. Three-B Kings have already determined they will not advance to the regional tournament, so both Basin teams will be moving on no matter what.
Boruff confirmed, North Idaho, North Oregon and British Columbia will not be sending a team to the Pacific Northwest Regional. The Pacific Northwest regional champion will advance to the Senior Babe Ruth World Series returns to Jamestown, NY, Aug. 4-11.
“I would say it will take a good team to beat our first team,” Boruff said.
The “A” Team coaching staff includes Boruff, Johnson, Rios, Lindgren and Signorelli. Glen Chamberlain and Matt Noyla will coach the “B” Team.