WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Whitman College baseball program gives a final tip of the cap this Sunday to five seniors. Set to play their final college games are captains Mike Rathwell and Luke Marshall and teammates Adam Knappe, Sam Thompson and Chad Friske.
Whitman wraps up its season with a four-game series against Whitworth at Borleske Stadium. Two nine-inning games start at noon on Saturday, to be followed by two seven-inning games on Sunday. Whitman's five seniors will be honored on the field prior to the start of Sunday's games.
Rathwell, one of Whitman’s most versatile players, made two relief appearances early this season in a three-game series at Occidental, notching both a win and a save. "Mike came to us as a catcher, and while he has continued in that role, he has also helped fill a huge hole as one of our relief pitchers the past two seasons," Whitman coach Casey Powell said. "Mike has also been a great team leader for us."
Marshall, an outfielder, hit .316 last spring when he led the team in hits with 42. He also made key contributions early this season to the wins over Occidental, knocking in six runs with four hits, three of them doubles. "Luke showed great improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons, and then he continued to improve after that," Powell said. "He’s battled through nagging injuries this season, but he’s remained a strong team leader."
Knappe, who is hitting .283 this spring, moved from shortstop to second base this season, where he has helped turn 23 doubleplays. He also leads the team in sacrifice bunts this spring, as he did a year ago when he topped the Northwest Conference with 10. "Adam has been one of our most consistent hitters and defensive players this season," Powell says. "He made tremendous strides in his four seasons and became a good team leader on the field."
Knappe and Rathwell also shared in a baseball moment to remember last Sunday when Whitman turned its second triple play in five years. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the fifth inning, Rathwell relieved starter Sean Day and got his first batter to hit into a triple play. Knappe, charging in from his second base position, caught a soft liner at his shoe tops for one out and flipped to Austin Shackelford to double off the runner at second base. Shackelford then tossed to Matt Morris-Rosenfeld at first base to double off a second runner and complete the triple play.
Thompson, a right-handed pitcher, led the bullpen in relief appearances as a junior when he was second on the staff in earned run average. After making 35 relief appearances in his first three seasons, he moved into a starting role this spring and is second on the squad in starts with eight. "Sam has been one of our most improved pitchers over the past few years," Powell said. "His dedication and hard work have been outstanding."
Frisk, an infielder turned outfielder, bounced back to play in 20-plus games this spring after missing most of last season with a fractured skull, an injury he suffered when he was hit by a line drive. "Regardless of the score, or whether he was starting or coming off the bench, Chad has been one of our hardest workers," Powell said. "He always gives 100 percent."