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Tigers trouncing early competition
t Oly summer-leaguers get an inside look at what to expect in high school.
By AARON MANAGHAN
So far this summer, the Tigers have had no problems earning their stripes.
The Tigers, Olympic High Schools summer Junior American Legion team, has been on a roll this season, winning their fifth-straight game Wednesday to improve to 10-3 overall (5-0 in league) this summer.
But coach Nate Andrews knows the hardest part is yet to come.
At the same time, were not playing the teams to beat in our division, Andrews said. Its a good warm up, were doing well, but the tougher part of the road is coming up. Those are the ones were trying to get after.
At the same time, Andrews said it would have been easy for his guys to play to the level of the competition. Instead, they blew out Graham-Kapowsin Blue 11-0 in a no-hit effort from starter Riley Crow and relievers Christopher Campbell and Zach Bird. With the exception of an 8-5 win Tuesday against Bremerton Post 68s Juinior Legion squad (different from the Senior Legion team), Andrews said the Tigers have put down the teams they should.
Ive been really happy with that, he said. Besides Bremerton, weve stayed really focused and really blew those guys out.
In Wednesdays win, Bird and Crow also shared catching duties when not on the mound, helping call the no-no and throw it. Elliot Thorsen went 2-2 with two runs and 3 RBI while Ian Krein ripped two doubles and scored three runs. Bird helped his own cause with a 2-3 effort, ripping two doubles and driving three in.
Thorsen hit a homer against Post 68 Tuesday, while Bird went 3-4. Chris Groat was 2-4 with a triple and Krein was 2-4 with two RBI.
The Tigers also played GK Blue Monday, rocking Graham-Kapowsin 16-0 while allowing just two hits. Campbell went a perfect 3-3 at the plate, with three doubles. Bryan Deszell was 2-4 with a pair of RBI and Crow drove in two while batting 2-3. In his only at bat, Cody Aerne hit a two-run double.
Ultimately, Andrews said its been nice to get so many players field time.
Weve really gotten some guys quite a bit of playing time, he said. Everybody is getting at-bats, innings pitched.
Thorsen, Deszell and Tyler Marshall are the top Trojans on the Tigers squad, with each seeing significant time for Oly during the high school seasons.
It was interesting because at first, Bryan Deszell and Elliot Thorsen were kind of struggling a little bit, Andrews said. They had a rest of about 20 days. They were getting hits, but you could tell they werent comfortable. But theyve really warmed up. Bryan is leading the team in hitting and Elliot is starting to heat up.
Marshalls been a little less lucky however.
Tylers just run into luck, Andrews said. The first ball that was hit in our district game hit him in the eye and took him out of the playoffs. He still cant wear his contacts. But hes been playing well despite the circumstances. Then he sprained his ankle in our last game.
And with six ninth-graders and a pair of eighth-graders, Andrews said the summer season provides a great opportunity to integrate future Trojans into the program.
These are kids that have never been in our program, he said. Its nice to get the younger kids out there and see how we do things and let them bond with the guys in high school. Theyve really taken a liking to one another. Theyve got that real winning mentality and they wont settle for anything else.
Some of the youngsters making a difference this summer have been Crow, Jordan Halstead and Krein.
Rileys been pitching well, as has Jordan Halstead, Andrews said. But Ians offense has been solid. Hes one of our leading hitters and hes doing a wonderful job.
Bremertons roster includes players from throughout the county, making those games fun for everyone involved, Andrews said.
You bet, he said. We played them in the tourney at the beginning of the year, play them in league. They improved too. We only gave up one earned run. We kind of kept them in that game. We beat em, but they were right there.
Andrews said his players enjoy getting to keep up rivalries with their former junior high teammates and opponents.
Once the high school season is over, theyre still playing ball, going right out after each other, Andrews said.
While Olympics summer program has been around since 2002, with Oly assistants Mike Giersch and Matt Sanford taking the reigns previously, this is the first year Andrews, the high school head coach, has headed up the summer crew. Andrews was unable to coach the team previously.
Ive had great support here, Andrews said. Mike ran the program the first years, Matt ran it the last couple years. Without those guys being willing to and giving their time, it wouldnt have happened, literally.
The Tigers arent the only ones getting integrated into Olys program, as Andrews said parental support also has been phenomenal this summer.
One of the other things thats been nice is were getting really great support from all our parents, He said. We have a really phenomenal, super group of parents.
The Tigers will take on Sedro-Woolley, Burlington and Lakeside in an away tournament this weekend before returning to the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields Monday for a 4 p.m. game against Lakes.