Top Story
Walker Orenstein
West Seattle ballplayers warm up with throwing drills.

SLIDESHOW: Bouncing back; West Seattle baseball tries to recreate last year’s magic without familiar faces

By Walker Orenstein

West Seattle is facing a reloading test more difficult than usual this year.

After losing Sam Helliger to graduation -- the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association and Class 3A state player of the year -- West Seattle is going to have some trouble staying on top.

Hellinger was a lockdown pitcher while also hitting .416 in May 2013 when he was named to The Seattle Times all-area team. The unanimous Metro League MVP pitched a complete game with no earned runs against Mount Si last season to send the Wildcats to the state championship game for the first time in school history.

The Wildcats lost the championship, finishing second in state, but Hellinger was drafted in round 39 by the Mariners last year.

“Sam earned everything he got because he worked so hard,” said West Seattle coach Velko Vitalich. Vitalich has coached the Wildcats for 27 years and was named coach of the year by the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association in 2012.

More ›