Walla Walla Sweets sign familiar faces

DeSales grad Michael Richard and Mac-Hi's Brian Biagi are among a trio of pitchers signed by the Sweets.

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WALLA WALLA — A former Shocker, a Warrior and a Star will be joining the Walla Walla Sweets pitching staff in 2010.

The Warrior and the Star groomed their talent in the Walla Walla Valley.

Sweets general manager Zachary Fraser announced last week that Michael Richard, Brian Biagi and Clint Maune have agreed to play for the club in 2010.

Maune and Richard are both currently part of the Oklahoma City University program in Oklahoma City, O while Biagi is a pitcher for Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

"All three come from historically great programs that regularly produce Major League talent," said Fraser. "Additionally, Brian and Michael are local products that developed their abilities on the youth fields of Walla Walla. We are excited that all three have decided to join us for our inaugural season."

Richard, a DeSales High School graduate, is a junior at OCU, having spent his first two years at Community Colleges of Spokane. The left-handed pitcher is a West Coast League veteran, spending the past two seasons as a member of the starting rotation for the Spokane Riverhawks. With Spokane, he went 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA. He is battling for a spot in the starting rotation for the 2010 OCU Stars. He is the son of Todd and Kathy Richard. Todd Richard pitched professionally in the Indians and Mariners organizations.

Biagi, a product of Mac-Hi in Milton-Freewater, spent two seasons at Big Bend Community College before transferring to L-C State, where he red-shirted last year to maintain his eligibility as a junior. A right-hand pitcher with size, Biagi is a long reliever for the Warriors. In 13 appearances with the Big Bend Vikings, he had a 3-4 record with a 4.76 ERA. He is the son of John and Carolyn Biagi.

Maune, a native of El Reno, Okla., is a 6-foot, 4-inch left-handed pitcher who pitched for traditional power Wichita State prior to sustaining an arm injury. Fully recovered, Maune transferred to Oklahoma City University, where in addition to being back in his home state, he has the opportunity to help lead the Stars in their quest for a NAIA national championship.

"I look forward to having these young men as a part of our staff," said Sweets pitching coach Mark Michaud. "Richard and Maune are valuable lefties who can throw strikes, and Biagi will have an opportunity to add to our bullpen depth."

All three players are part of (or come from) programs with a rich national pedigree in the world of college baseball. Wichita State has a NCAA D-I championship under its belt, having won the title in 1989, as well as appearances in the championship in 1982, 1991, and 1993. Lewis-Clark State has won 16 NAIA national championships in the past 31 years, and has produced such MLB alumni as Marvin Bernard and Keith Foulke. Oklahoma City University is the winningest baseball program in the country over the past decade, and has made ten appearances in the NAIA World Series since 1986.

The Sweets, an expansion franchise in the West Coast League, will open up the 2010 season by hosting defending league champion Wenatchee AppleSox at Borleske Stadium on June 8. Season tickets are now available by calling 509.522.BALL (2255) or by visiting www.wallawallasweets.com

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