Infielder Justin Folz and left-handed pitcher Brayde Hirai are returning to the Walla Walla Sweets this summer.

It’s the first announced signings for manager Jeff Cirillo, who will begin his first season with the Sweets in June.

Folz, currently at St. John’s, hit .276 with 19 RBI’s for the Sweets last season.

Before St. John’s, the Monroe, Washington, native spent one season each at Palomar College and Northwest Nazarene University.

At Palomar, he posted a .333 average with two home runs and 19 RBIs.

Last summer, Folz delivered one of the best moments of the season with a ninth-inning, go-ahead grand slam in game two of the opening round of the West Coast League playoffs against the Corvallis Knights.

“The grand slam definitely ranks number one in my favorite baseball moments ever,” Folz said. “It’s what every kid dreams of in the backyard. I was just fortunate enough to get the opportunity to live it out.”

Hirai returns for his third summer with the Sweets. The Pasco native, and current Central Washington player, posted a 1.94 ERA for the Sweets last season, held opponents to a .125 average and threw 11 consecutive scoreless innings to end the season.

He previously played locally at Walla Walla Community College in 2018 and 2019 before transferring to CWU.

While he’s enjoyed individual success, Hirai’s experiences with teammates, coaches, and the community have stood out to him the most.

“The coaching staff and players are awesome, and the community always provides a lot of support,” Hirai said. “Getting to play with and against such great competition has helped me grow as a player, and the coaches have given me great tips to help me develop as well.”

The Sweets begin the 2020 season on June 5 at the Kelowna Falcons. Their first home game is June 12.