Sports

Finally time for baseball

With a 1-4 record to start the season, it’s easy to think that the Olympic College baseball team is destined to repeat last season’s 12-25 finish (6-18 in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges North Division).

But a closer look reveals just how close this team is to breaking through to the upper half of the division.

With a young team containing just six sophomores, the Rangers are hoping to catch teams off guard with an attack revolving around speed and defense.

“We have great speed in the top of the lineup and our outfield,” coach Michael Reese said. “For infield defense, our ability to catch and throw the ball is very good. Overall, our defense is solid.”

After falling against the University of Washington JV team to start the season, OC began play against it’s non-league NWAACC opponents by blowing away Wenatchee Valley 13-3 in the first half of a March 13 double-header.

But after that offensive explosion, OC fell in game two to WV 6-4, and lost back-to-back 4-3 games against Yakima Valley the next day.

“We had a goal of getting a good foundation of wins this weekend,” Reese said. “Beating Wenatchee 13-3 is great, but losing in back-to-back one run games; we’re better than we played. We need to have our sophomores be impact players during the game. We can’t sit around and wait for something to happen.”

Reese said after the one-run loses that someone has to step up offensively to be a difference maker.

“We need someone to step up and set the tone for the game with a stolen base or an extra base hit,” Reese said. “We’ve had a great team approach in the seventh, eighth, ninth innings. It’s nice to see that late consistency, but we want to have it early in the game.”

In the final game against the Yaks, OC was down 4-0 when the squad rallied back just short to finish the game 4-3. Reese said he liked what he saw in the comeback bid, but wants to see more of the timely hitting and consistency throughout the whole game. All six of OC’s runs in the losses to the Yaks came in the seventh inning or later.

While finding good things in the losses, like solid starting pitching efforts, Reese said the bullpen also must step up.

“We’ve got a very young pitching staff in our bullpen,” Reese said. “We’re still working on getting ahead of batters.”

In terms of stepping up, Reese said he has no specific player in mind and the whole team must strive to make an impact.

“It’s every one of our offensive players.” Reese said. “It has to be two or three guys every game. We have a very aggressive offense. As a player, it’s conducive for you to let your ability show on the field.”

OC is loaded with local talent this season, fielding five former Olympic Trojans (cather Drew Scarborough, infielder Jordan Duncan, outfielders Eric Dixon and Chester Thomas and pitcher Devin Dolan) and a pair of Central Kitsap Cougars (OF Nick Hanes and P Matt Phillips) and Klahowya Eagles (IF Dylan Peterson and P Justin Marsh-Quinlan). All are freshman.

As a result, Reese said it’s hard to compare the team to last season’s squad, but said this year’s squad has a better team attitude.

“This year’s team is so much better as a group,” Reese said. “They communicate well on the field. With all we have, we have to step up and demand success instead of waiting for it.”

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