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Lots of work left to do
Central Kitsap baseball coach Marc Hansen recently trotted out his big brother, former minor-leaguer Terrel Hansen, to work on hitting with his first-year team.
Later, I asked them what they had learned, Hansen said. It was kind of funny. Adam Skillbeck, hes kind of a yes, sir, kind of kid with these big, huge eyes. He looked at me and goes, I learned I have to put my ass into it.
Hansens trying to get Skillbeck, a senior catcher, and the rest of his Cougars to put all they have into baseball.
At the beginning, they were real complacent, said Hansen, a CK grad. It was like they felt they didnt have to work hard. They were just going through the motions. Weve got a lot of work to do, a lot of bad habits to cure, but theyre coming around.
Theres work to do at the other Central Kitsap schools, too.
Olympic Highs second-year coach Nate Andrews has just four varsity returners from a team that graduated its entire pitching staff.
We have the ability to surprise some people, Andrews said. The key is how hard we work. We cant afford to take a day off practice or make mental mistakes. We have to be on top of those things and do things perfectly to be in position to win. Theres a lot of pressure on the kids to practice and prepare.
Klahowyas veteran coach, Bob Reynolds, might have the toughest job of all. He became the schools fourth head coach is five years last season when the Eagles won just one game.
They wanted me to put the program together, said the 62-year-old Reynolds. It was really in shambles ... I talked to (athletic director) Pam Calnan and told her it would take five years to build a program. Ill commit to five years. This is the second year of that commitment.
My goal is for us to be better this year than last year and better next year than this year.
Heres a team-by-team look at the baseball teams in the Central Kitsap School District:
CENTRAL KITSAP COUGARS(4A)
Coach Marc Hansen (1st year).
Last year 4-15.
Returners Greg Hlebechuk , CF, sr.; Chris Owens, INF/P, jr.; Jake Higgs, 2B/P, sr.; R.J. Rongcal, 2B, sr.; Tim Allen, 3b/P, sr.; Gary Eaton, SS, sr.; John Goodwin, 1B, sr.; Josh Goffin, OF, P, sr.; Scott Clark, OF, sr.; Jason Sencil, P, jr.; Adam Skillbeck, C, sr.; Kevin Axtman, C, sr.
Top newcomers Tyler Moyer, C, so.; Sam Weller, 3B/P, so.; Matt Phillips, INF/P, so.
Guys to watch Hlebechuks a legitimate hitter, one of the best in the Narrows League. ... Moyer, if he overcomes a shoulder problem, could develop into a dandy catcher, said Hansen.
Weakness A lack of numbers. The Cougars had just 30 players turn out and were down to 26 with five on probation because of academics. It could be a situation where we may not even have a JV team, Hansen said.
Expectations Our short term-goal is to finish in the middle of the pack, Hansen said. I dont really know whats going to happen, but I know for a fact were going to surprise some people. Were going to play aggressive. Were not going to sit back and wait for a home run or a long double. Were going to nickel and dime teams to death and put them out of their misery early. At least, thats the approach. Well see if it works.
OLYMPIC TROJANS (4A)
Coach Nate Andrews (2nd year).
Last year 13-8.
Returners Jordan Duncan, 1B, jr.; Zach Curry, P/OF, jr.; Jessie Pamaran, 2B, sr.; Adam Winger, C, jr.
Top newcomers Derrick Christensen, UTL, sr., Brandon Frandsen, OF/P, sr.; Joe Dixon, P/OF, sr.; Matt White, ss, sr.
Guys to watch Duncan has some pop in his bat and just understands the game, Andrews said. He gets better every day. Hes willing to pitch. He does whatever we ask. ... Pamaran hit .380 and was a second-team all-league pick a year ago. ... Wingers a solid defensive catcher. ... Andrews lists Dixon and White as newcomers, but thats only because both were lost a year ago because of disciplinary reasons. Dixon, a lefty, pitched a lot as a sophomore and could be one of the leagues best pitchers. White has a lot of speed.
Weakness A lack of proven depth. Andrews is waiting, hoping for some sophomores to step up. So far no one sticks out, but a lot can happen, he said. Were going to need some help from some sophomores or guys who played JV last year.
Expectations I hate to say were rebuilding, Andrews said. Thats not a good way to start out, but on paper, were definitely rebuilding. I will say were going to be a competitive team and make every game a good one. Well play hard every game, down to the last out. It doesnt matter what the score is.
KLAHOWYA EAGLES (2A)
Coach Bob Reynolds (2nd year).
Last year 1-15.
Returners Joel Periot, P/2B, Jr.; Paul Sawatski, OF/P, sr.; Thomas Pearl, C/1B, jr.; J.R. Padden, P/3B, JR.
Top newcomers Shawn Squires, C/3B, so.; Dustin Carlson, P/2B, so.; Nick Jeatran, SS, jr.; Cory Morales, P/OF, sr.
Guy to watch Padden hit .373 with a .580 on-base percentage last year. Hes just a baseball player, Reynold said. Hes got some natural ability. Hes somebody I would recruit. Hes got a heckuva bat. Hes just a strong little kid with a lot of hustle. ... Pearl,
Weakness A lack of pitching. Morales, who hasnt pitched since pee wees, has some promise and could be a surprise, said Reynolds.
Expectations Im looking forward to being a threat this year and fighting for the top spot the next two years, Reynolds said. The kids are real enthusiastic and starting to believe in themselves. Weve got some young, up and coming sophomores.