2018 William Jessup Baseball Season Preview
Rocklin, Calif. - The Warriors are set to take the field for the first time in their 2018 stint ahead with great expectations under new head coach Jake McKinley and a solid recruiting class to round-out the returning Jessup baseball team who return to McBean Park in Lincoln for their second year on the turf.
"I never think it's wise to discuss how good you think you're going to be before the season, but I do feel confident our team will play inspired baseball throughout the entire season," McKinley said. "The players truly care about one another, and it's been awesome to watch them grow and develop since day one."
The Warriors will hit the field for a pair of games to take on Corban University Friday with another doubleheader to follow on Saturday, this being the battle of the Warriors and each coach looking for their first wins as the new helm of each program.
Following opening weekend, the Warriors will be in full force to the end of the season with series following for non-conference matchups in Oregon Tech (Jan. 27-28) and Simpson University twice at home (Jan. 30 and March 13) and a pair on the road against the Redhawks.
Early February the Warriors will kick off conference matchups and hit the road to take on Hope International Feb. 2-3, followed by the Warriors first conference home game of the season against San Diego Christian on Feb. 10th and 11th.
The final non-conference competition of the season will be games with CSU East Bay, in Lincoln on Feb. 19th and another on the road.
Jessup will face conference opponents at home with Westmont College (2/16-17), Menlo College (3/2-3), The Master's (3/16-17), Hope International (3/28-29) and Arizona Christian (4/13-14).
The conference matchups will conclude with the Warriors traveling to GSAC foe, Menlo College April 20-21 before a possible trip to the GSAC conference tournament hosted by Vanguard April 30th-May 3rd.
"It's really important that we stay emotionally neutral as we encounter the ups and downs of the season. With a large group of mature upperclassman, I think this will be achieved," McKinley concluded.
Let's meet the new faces of Warrior Baseball:
#1 Josh Hook | SO - RHP | Consumnes River College
The Folsom, Calif. native joins the Warriors in his sophomore season transferring from Consumnes River College and playing this past summer for the Auburn Wildcats. In his first season on the collegiate bump, the right-handed pitcher made an appearance in 14 innings, averaging 4.5 strikeouts per game. Graduating from Folsom High in 2016, Hook was awarded three years with post-season honors; 1st Team All-SFL his senior year, 2nd Team SFL his junior Year and 2nd Team DRL his sophomore year.
Hook looks to study Public Policy at Jessup with aspirations to work in the local government or law enforcement in the future.
#2 Kawaiola Takemura | FR - INF | Kamehameha Schools
Starting his first season of collegiate baseball with the Warriors, the 5-10 infielder comes to California from Pearl City, Hawaii. In high school, the three-year varsity letter was named ILH First-Team while being part of the Warriors State Championship run where they were runner-up.
The Liberal Studies major is working to become a teacher and looking forward to his time at Jessup to continue his baseball career and strengthen his faith.
#8 Grant Doi | JR - RHP | Feather River College
Doi joins the Warriors, a Manoa Valley, Hawaii native and current transfer from Feather River College in Quincy, Calif in his junior year. The 6-0 right-handed pitcher made 5 appearances for the Golden Eagles last season and received 2nd Team All-League in high school while named team captain.
Doi will be studying Kinesiology while looking to go into physical therapy after college. He is excited to come to Jessup to further his education, play baseball, and build a stronger connection with God.
#9 Will Law | JR - UT/RHP | San Diego Mesa CC
Residing in San Diego, Calif., Law joins the Warriors in his third season on the diamond transferring from San Diego Mesa Community College and spending the summer in McBean Park playing for the Lincoln Potters. Law led the Olympians last season with a team-high batting average of .397 while bringing in 23 RBI's in his 38 game appearance.
Law will be studying Psychology at Jessup with hopes to work in social work upon graduation.
#11 Austen Swift | JR - OF | Blinn College/UC Berkeley
The junior transfer Swift is originally from Toronto, Canada but comes to the Warriors after playing a season with the Cal Bears in Berkley. The redshirt sophomore made 15 appearances for Cal as a pinch hitter and outfielder. Swift played his first season of collegiate baseball for Blinn College in Brenham, Texas where he had a .354 batting average with 10 home runs for the Buccaneers.
While studying Kinesiology at Jessup, Swift's goal is to play in the major league baseball upon graduation.
#13 Steve Pastora | SR - RHP/IF | College of San Mateo/Western Michigan
In his final season on the field, senior infielder and right-handed pitcher Pastora lands closer to home after a stint with the Broncos at Western Michigan. The South San Francisco native played 33 games last season and started 28 of those contests for the NCAA Div. I Broncos, making an appearance in the NCAA Regionals in 2016 with 19 hits on the season.
Pastora will finish his studies in History and continue on with a career in entrepreneurship.
#19 Cal Koga | JR - C | San Jose State
The Lihue, Hawaii native joins the Warriors in his third season after playing a pair of seasons for the SJS Spartans. The 5-10 catcher had 13 appearances for the Spartans last season and was one of four catchers that started in 2017. In high school, Koga played for Kauai High School where he was a 4-year varsity letter making it to the KIF Championship in both 2014 and 2015 while making an appearance in the KIF All-Stars in both seasons as well.
With hopes of owning his own business someday, Koga is studying business while looking forward to learning more about God in his time at Jessup.
#20 Tyler Fujimoto | JR - RHP | Pierce College
Also joining the Warriors is Pearl City, Hawaii native, Tyler Fujimoto who is in his junior season with the Warriors after spending two years with Pierce College. The right-handed pitcher made an appearance in 8 games for Piece, with four starts. Fujimoto played all four years on varsity in high school while being named 2013 1st Team OIA East and 2014 OIA East Co-Player of the Year and going to the State Championship in 2012.
Fujimoto is also studying Business at Jessup with hopes of opening his own company someday.
#23 Ashkhon Kuhaulua | SR - RHP | Menlo College
Coming from Norcal GSAC rival Menlo College, Kuhaulua joins the Warriors in his final season on the mound looking to repeat his last outing for the GSAC. With the Oaks under McKinley in 2016, Kuhaulua pitched 102 total innings with 136 strikeouts and a 1.92 ERA. Those number awarded the right-handed pitcher 2016 All-GSAC Team recognition and GSAC Pitcher of the Week honors.
While working to provide for his family, playing baseball and finishing his degree, Ashkhon is studying business to pursue a career in in-flight operation for an airline.
#24 Connor Braun | JR - 1B | Santa Ana Community College
Braun joins the Warriors lineup after playing two seasons in Southern California for the Dons, originally from Bay Point. In his second season at Santa Ana, Braun played 18 games averaging .269 at the plate while helping his team to achieve playoff contention in each season. At Clayton Valley Charter High School he was awarded 2nd Team All-League while also being a part of playoffs all three seasons he played varsity.
Braun is studying Public Policy in order to pursue a career in pharmaceutical Sales in the future.
#32 Joe Starick | JR - OF | Delta College/Napa Valley CC
The 6-foot transfer junior joins the Warrior's roster after spending a pair of seasons in local community colleges. In his freshman season at Delta College, Starick hit .317 in his 63 plate appearances with 20 hits and 18 RBI's. In 2016-17 Starick took his talents to Napa Valley Community College where he averaged .392 with 5 home runs and 39 RBI's in his 37 games played.
The outfielder is studying business in the classroom with the goal to own his own business in the future.
#34 Noah Shackles | JR - C/INF | Alvin Community College
The junior transfer from Alvin Community College and Mililani, Hawaii native joins the incoming class with experience behind the plate and in the infield. For the Dolphins, Shackles made 18 appearances last season and was part of the Texas/New Mexico JUCO All-Star Team. In high school, he played for Mid-Pacific Institute where he was awarded ILH Player of the Year, All-State First Team and Gatorade Player of the Year all in his three years on varsity where his team was ILH Champions 3 times and State Champions his sophomore season.
With the goal to go into coaching upon graduation, Shackles is studying business management.
#43 Andrew Shaps | SR - OF/LHP | Arizona State University
Closing out the 2018 recruiting class is NCAA Div. I transfer from the Sun Devils, Shaps who was named to the 2016 PAC 12 All-Conference, Honorable Mention team after appearing in 57 games, hitting a .321 batting average with 29 27 RBI's.
The Paradise Valley, Arizona native is studying History at Jessup but hopes to continue his baseball career playing in the major leagues.
Also joining the team are 2018 redshirts Michael Axley (Lancaster, Calif.), Connor Franco (Riverside, Calif.), Austin Metz (Auburn, Calif.), Ryan Tipton (Rocklin, Calif.) and John Wynne (El Dorado Hills, Calif.).
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