Broncs Expect to Run With Leaders—Pitching Depth, Outfield Help Needed
By CHARLIE BOREN
Lewiston Tribune Sports Editor
PORTERVILLE, Calif., April 15—The Broncs of Lewiston are starting from scratch in the Class A Western International Baseball League but they may be bucking in the first division before the season ends.
That is the optimistic view in spring training camp here.
A flurry of bush-beating before spring camp opened, some dickering with Pacific Coast league clubs and three weeks of drill have chiseled out this picture for the baby club of the WIL:
Pitching—Good—once every six or seven days. Definitely lacks depth.
Hitting — No complaints from Boss Bill Brenner, player-manager.
Fielding—Good on the bases, a little weak in the outfield.
Eleven hurlers are in camp, but only Larry Powell, Negro Al Spearman, Del Owens and Cal Humphries look like they can go the route. The rest are rookies, as is Humphries.
Powell, a lefty, has experience from the majors on down. Spearman, on assignment from San Diego of the PCL, is a cool worker. Owens is a Lewiston product with five seasons with New York Yankee farm clubs and experience in the double A Texas league. Humphries is Seattle property and made a name for himself in prep circles last season. San Diego, which has a working agreement with Lewiston, has promised more mound help.
Every starting fielder has shown ability to hit in exhibition play. There’s Negro Archie Ware at first, an expert in the single. Nick DeLucca at second has never hit less than .300 in his gypsy tour of the C leagues. Artie Wilson, who could be Mr. Shortstop of the circuit, is a master of the long ball. Cuban Connie Perez at third—a switch hitter—doesn’t have to go back more than a day to think of his last safe rap in grapefruit play this season.
Perez has amazing ability at the hot corner and at the same time the worst form the league probably will see this year.
Only Veteran Charlie Mead is sure of an outfield job, which is one department Brenner hopes to bolster before Lewiston opens at home against Tri-City April 22.
Buzz Jackson, up from the class C California league, Vearl (Snag) Moore, also of Lewiston and an experienced Willy League man, and Cyril (Butch) Moran, ex-Hollywood Coast Leaguer, are among other outfield prospects.
Brenner is an able catcher with eight years’ experience as player and manager in the WIL, sandwiched in with three coast loop seasons. Ziggy Marcel, a prospect from the Harlem Clowns, is a possible reliefer, but he’s hurting for hits.
Lewiston’s camp probably is one of the smallest in the Willy league. But it’s in keeping with the fact Lewiston was in baseball’s bleachers six months ago. During that time city leaders decided the community wanted pro ball, raised most of the $50,000 needed for financing and recruited salesmen for everything from booster buttons to season boxes.
An impartial observer of the Lewiston team said: “It’s hard to rate a club which is being constructed from scratch, but this one looks like a good start.”
Brenner, a man of few words at this stage of the game, says: “We hope to be in there all the way.”
If he’s right, the seven other WIL clubs had better cinch up the surcingle—they’ll be in for a rough ride against Lewiston's Broncs.