Capital grad stays in game by coaching at Dartmouth

mwochnick@theolympian.comApril 11, 2013 

Evan Wells wasn’t thinking about going into coaching baseball during his playing days at Gonzaga University. As a three-year starter and leadoff hitter from 2007-09, playing professionally was foremost on his mind.

“That didn’t work out,” he said.

But coaching has. Evans, a 2004 Capital High graduate, is in his first season as a full-time assistant coach at Dartmouth College. The Big Green, with an 18-6 record, is having its best season in 140 years of baseball.

After graduating from Gonzaga, where he helped the program reach the NCAA regionals his senior season, he came home to Olympia “having no idea what I would do next,” he said. Enter coaching.

Wells had a stint as an assistant at NCAA Division III Whitworth,

then became a student manager at the University of Washington. He then volunteered for a position at Creighton before the call from Dartmouth came in September. He couldn’t drive to Hanover, N.H., fast enough from Omaha, Neb.

With the Big Green, a member of the Ivy League, Evans primarily works with the infielders and coaches first base.

Coaching, he says, “has grown on me.”

“It’s easy to have a job when I get to hang out on the baseball field for three to four hours a day,” Evans said.

In high school, Evans’ one season of varsity baseball was in 2004, when he was an all-Narrows League player. He played one season at Lassen Community College in Northern California and batted .307. With persuasion from high school summer coach Steve Avila, he transferred to Gonzaga, and earned a spot on the team. He finished with a .310 career batting average and an on-base percentage of .439.

His professional playing career might not have panned out, but Evans has found another that still involves baseball.

“I like what I’m doing,” he said. “I think I’m OK at it. I still have a ton to learn. Hopefully I can keep doing it until I’m too old to be doing it.”

SAINTS EARN FIRST NATIONAL RANKING

The Saint Martin’s softball team, after a runner-up finish at the Tournament of Champions in Turlock, Calif., last weekend, earned its first top 25 ranking. The Saints (26-11) were ranked No. 23 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NCAA Division II softball rankings.

Saint Martin’s started its softball team in 1992 and it played its first Division II season in 1999. The 2011 Saints won just nine games.

In the wake of the Tournament of Champions performance, the Saints earned Great Northwest Athletic Conference pitcher (Taylor Bakos) and player (Madi Davis) of the week honors.

During the Tournament of Champions, Bakos went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA and a save. Davis hit .478 with 11 hits, six runs and a team-best nine RBI. Both were named to the all-tournament team.

The Saints are in second-place in the GNAC at 8-4 and play host to Western Oregon today in a doubleheader that starts at 2 p.m.

EVERGREEN’S JONES EARNS WEEKLY AWARD

Wes Jones, a sophomore distance runner at The Evergreen State College, was named as the Cascade Collegiate Conference’s men’s outdoor track athlete of the week after his performance at the JD Shotwell Invitational last weekend at the University of Puget Sound.

Jones won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 58.33 seconds, defeating a number of NCAA Division II athletes.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick

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