November 18, 1998
SEATTLE - Six high school seniors from the state of Washington have signed National Letters of Intent, announcing their intention to attend the University of Washington and play baseball, coach Ken Knutson announced today. The early signing period began Nov. 11 and ends today.
The six players -- Tyler Davidson (Edmonds/Meadowdale HS), Jay Garthwaite (Kent/Kent-Meridian HS), Tila Reynolds (Renton/Liberty HS), Jason Stumm (Centralia/Centralia HS), Mike Syvrud (Bothell/Bothell HS) and Jefferson Thiel (Kirkland/Juanita HS) -- will enroll in the fall of 1999 and be eligible to play the 2000 season.
"Only time will tell, but this may be the best class we've had here," Knutson, the seventh-year skipper said. "It may rival the (1996 freshmen) class that included Kevin Miller, Chris Magruder, Ryan Lentz and Ryan Bundy, who were all drafted inside of five rounds last June."
Davidson is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound outfielder who comes from the same school as former UW All- Americans Randy Jorgensen and Brett Merrick. Last season, he batted .416 and made all-WesCo. He went on to hit .419 over the summer for Edmonds Baseball. Knutson calls him "the biggest, fastest player in the state. He's very athletic."
Knutson says that Garthwaite is "the premier power hitter in the state." A 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder, he hit .458 at Kent-Meridian, where he was all-league, and then batted .565 over the summer for the Bulldogs. For the combined spring/summer season, he belted 39 home runs.
Reynolds is a 5-foot-11, 170-pound shortstop that Knutson calls "the best defensive player in the state - a guy that will steal some bases and be a good leadoff hitter." Reynolds batted .550 at Liberty High and was an all-KingCo first-teamer. He went on to hit .460 over the summer for Taylor Baseball Club.
Stumm, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-handed pitcher, is the only pitcher in the group. He went 4-1 at Centralia and earned all-league and then went on to post a 6-2 summer record for Centralia Legion. "Among players that we think will go to college," Knutson said, "Stumm is the No. 1 pitcher in the state. He's a power pitcher and he was at the top of our list."
A 5-foot-11, 190-pound catcher, Syvrud reminds Knutson of former Husky backstop Ryan Bundy, a strong, speedy catcher with excellent defensive skills. He hit .415 and earned first-team all-KingCo at Bothell and also played for Taylor Baseball Club over the summer.
Thiel, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher, was also an all-KingCo player for Juanita High, batting .474 in 1997. "Jefferson's a very hard worker," Knutson said. "He's a good hitter and a polished player. We're very happy to have two very good catchers in him and Syvrud coming to the UW."
The Huskies will resume practice in January and open the season Feb. 11 against Brigham Young in St. George, Utah. The 1999 season will be the first since 1969 that the Pacific-10 Conference will not be split into divisions and will play an even, round-robin schedule.