WALLA WALLA - The Walla Walla Sweets signed a trio of left-handed pitchers for the 2011 season of West Coast League baseball.
Tyler Billen, a sophomore from Harding University, Daniel Jewett, a freshman from Truman State University, and Aaron Hoverson, a sophomore from Winona State University, each signed contracts to play WCL baseball in Walla Walla this summer.
Billen, a 6-foot 4-inch, 255-pound left-handed pitcher from Edmond, Okla., posted a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings as a freshman and he had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8-to-1. His 0.56 walks per nine innings set a Harding school record and he was the first Harding relief pitcher to be named first team All-Gulf South Conference.
"Tyler is a big boy who can really put some heat on his fastball," said Sweets' pitching coach Mark Michaud. "He's a very dangerous pitcher when he establishes his presence early on."
Jewett, a regional product hailing from Poulsbo, Wash., doubles as an outfielder with Truman State. At North Kitsap High School, Jewett was a three-year varsity starter, picking up all-county and all-state honors following his senior year after earning all-league honors as a junior and senior. During his senior campaign, the 5-9, 170-pounder was 6-0 with an ERA of 0.90 while striking out 49 batters in only 40 innings.
At the plate, Jewett hit .557 with 12 doubles and 19 RBI. In addition, he stole 17 bases and had a pair of triples.
"Daniel isn't quite as big as Tyler," said Michaud. "But his stuff is just as good. He did exceptionally well at North Kitsap both on the mound and at the plate. He'll be a valuable asset for us this year."
Winona State's Aaron Hoverson, originally from Baldwin, Wis., is the last of the trio, but certainly not the least. As a freshman in 2008 at St. Cloud State, Hoverson pitched only 4.2 innings, but did not allow an earned run in his time as a Husky. In the summer of 2009 for the Winona Chiefs, Hoverson went 10-1 with a .51 ERA.