“Now a Viking, soon a Husky”

"Courtesy Photo Will Fenton, shown here pitching for a summer team, will head for the University of Washington next fall. "

“Fenton to pitch for U of W. POULSBO – It took just a few innings to transform Will Fenton from a promising high-school pitcher into a must-recruit athlete for the University of Washington. Ed Gustafson, the pitching coach for the Huskies, was coaching Fenton on a summer team, Chaffey Baseball Club. Chaffey faced off against the Fox Sports club in the USA B World Series in San Diego. They started Fenton in one game, then used him in relief. It was the relief appearance that caught Gustafson’s eye. We brought him in in relief, Gustafson said, and he pitched 3 and 2/3 innings on two days’ rest. It was a tie game in extra innings. We eventually lost, but it wasn’t Will’s fault. He pitched well. After seeing Fenton pitch well – and calmly – in a pressure situation, that’s when Gustafson knew he wanted to see the NK senior in purple and gold. After that it was a no-brainer to recruit him, because he competed so well, Gustafson said. The ability to compete is intrinsic. It’s hard to teach guys how to compete. You can teach it, but Will already does it. Gustafson will be seeing more of Fenton, because the NKHS senior committed to the Huskies before the fall signing period ended on Nov. 15. Fenton, who went 5-1 last year for the Vikings, said the Huskies were number one on his list, and number two was a long way off. I pretty much knew I was going to UW, Fenton said this week. I always thought about going to UW ever since I found out I had the chance to go. He considered other schools in a warmer climate, Fenton said, such as Arizona State and some California schools, but once he made his visit to Montlake, the decision was made. He liked the new practice facilities that are being built. He likes the new field, turf infield with a beautiful grass outfield. He likes the weight room. He likes the coaches. Most of all, he likes being close to home. I like it around here, Fenton said. I need to be by the water. And my parents can come watch the games. Fenton is already working out five days a week, with an eye toward both the last year of his high school career and the first year of college. He has occasionally hit 90 mph on the radar gun, and hopes to hit that magic number more consistently this summer. He would also like to help the Vikings win in his senior season. I think our team has a lot of desire, he said of the Vikes. We’re already starting to throw, and we’ll start hitting soon. Fenton is throwing too. He is trying to work on throwing three different pitches for a strike, especially a change-up, the pitch that Fenton says needs the most work. I haven’t needed it much, he said. Gustafson agrees that Fenton needs to work on his mechanics. I think because he was a good athlete with a good arm, he could grab the ball and throw it as hard as he can, Gustafson said. And he was good enough his junior year that he could throw it by people. Fenton needs to become a more refined pitcher, Gustafson said, but that will come with time. He’s a little crude as a pitcher, but he’s a really good athlete who’s got a fast arm, Gustafson said. You can teach a guy to pitch, but you can’t teach him how to have a fast arm. Gustafson first saw Fenton during a UW winter camp, and recommended that Fenton join the Chaffey Baseball Club that Gustafson ended up coaching. Over the summer Gustafson saw qualities in Fenton – arm speed, competitive nature, and toughness – that made Fenton a potential Husky. What I didn’t know was that he competes very well, Gustafson said. That came out in the summer. He was unflappable, and he did a great job. After that it was an easy segue to say, Let’s recruit this kid and get him to be a Husky.’ Now Fenton will don the purple and gold – as soon as he buys some. He only owns one University of Washington hat, Fenton said, but that will change. I’ll get some more stuff soon, he said. “

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