Natural wonder

He stood at the edge of Klahowya’s baseball field unshaven, muddy and spitting sunflower seeds.

Senior third baseman/pitcher Shawn Squires made no excuses about who he is.

“I’m a total hick,” he said. “When I’m not (at school) I like elk hunting and fishing. That’s all there is out here.”

Squires loves to share his outdoor stories. One of his favorites was dragging in his fishing pole after catching a salmon. There was just one problem.

“I missed the first three periods of school,” he said. “The football coach wasn’t too happy.”

That doesn’t mean Squires takes academics and athletics lightly, though. He maintains a 3.0 grade-point average and is counted on to guide the Eagles’ baseball team this season.

“He’s got a good attitude and wants to be here,” Klahowya baseball coach Bob Reynolds said. “He sets a good example, is personable and he’s coachable.”

That personality showed when Squires gave an assessment of Reynolds, who’s guided Klahowya from one win in 2001 — his first season — to the state playoffs last season.

“He’s an ex-military cop or something and he likes to treat us like that,” Squires said. “But he’s a cool guy.”

On the mound, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound right-hander shows no fear despite having a fastball that doesn’t top 80 mph even on his best day.

“Heat, heat, heat and a splitter once in a while,” said Squires, referring to his repertoire.

But it’s easy to see where Squires’ heart is set.

“I just like to hit,” he said. “I don’t care where I play as long as I get to hit.”

And he has big expectations at the plate this season.

“I want to lead our league in average and hit over .600,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

Squires said he isn’t sure how the team will fare this season.

“We’re shaky,” he said. “Offensively, we’re up there with anyone. But we’ve got some guys gone on vacation.”

Squires said offense is important at Klahowya despite what appears to be a difficult symmetry for home-run hitters.

“This is a hitters’ park to me because the infield is terrible,” said Squires, adding that he’s witnessed several infield hits there during his career. “It doesn’t really play like anything.”

But the team-leader likes the ground divets. After all, the rough outdoors feel like home.

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