WALLA WALLA - Outfielder Scott Gottschling is the first Sweet to re-sign with the collegiate wood-bat league this season.
Gottschling, a 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore at University of California at Irvine, hit .257 with one home run and eight RBI last season in Walla Walla.
Gottschling's biggest impact last summer may have come on a single defensive play.
The Sweets led the Bend Elks 7-6, and the Elks had two outs and bases loaded in the top of the ninth.
Elks' Kerry Jenkins hit a long fly ball to deep left center field. Gottschling, running at full sprint toward the outfield fence, made a diving catch to end the game and secure the first of three wins over the then-first place and nationally ranked Elks.
"That was such a huge play for us," said Sweets' manager J.C. Biagi. "That win gave us a big momentum boost for the series and allowed us to stay in the playoff race until the very end."
The Sweets had won three of their previous four and would go on to win four of their next five games.
Fellow Irvine Anteater Jimmy Litchfield, a freshman lefty pitcher, will join Gottschling with the Sweets. He went 8-3 with a 1.76 ERA last spring while a high school senior in Sonora (Calif.) High School. He threw eight complete games and struck out 64 batters. Litchfield also contributed to Sonora's offense. He hit .337 and slugged six home runs, driving in 18 RBI and scoring 32 himself.
UC Irvine starts its season hosting Nevada in a three-game series Nov. 18. The Anteaters play Gonzaga March 25-27, visiting Spokane for the three-game series where Gottschling and Litchfield will square off against their 2011 Sweets' teammates Sean Santschi and Derek Peterson.