Over the course of Catlin baseball’s history, many adjectives have been used to describe the various teams. Most of these are synonymous with “yikes.” This year, though, teamwork, good coaching, and a strong work ethic are culminating in a positive 2012 season.
Coming off of an 11-3 preseason home win against Neahkahnie, things were looking up for the Eagles, who play in the Lewis & Clark League during the regular season. The win was an exciting occasion, but the team doesn’t anticipate a playoff appearance this year.
Juniors Tucker Gordon and Evan Brandaw both agree that playoffs are unlikely this year, due to, as Gordon said, “Our [the baseball team’s] inexperience, combined with a very tough league that includes the likes of Warrenton, Valley Catholic, and Rainier.”
The Lewis & Clark League will certainly be a challenge for the Eagles, who have 13 games remaining to prove themselves amongst fierce competition. So far, they are ranked last in the league, but the players are keeping their heads up. Said Brandaw: “Baseball is baseball. Who knows what can happen this season.”
Unfortunately, tough competition still remains, as the 1-4 Eagles will face every league opponent at least once more this spring.
However, the wins and losses aren’t the only focus for the Eagles. Travis Chock, who began coaching at Catlin last year, has transformed the baseball program, emphasizing conditioning and strength while also catering to the various skill levels present on a relatively inexperienced team.
Chock is also keeping the focus on having fun, and it’s been a huge benefit to the team: “So far, I’d say it’s really paying off and you’re seeing it on the field. This is a baseball team now,” said Gordon.
Success this season will mean more than good coaching and having fun, though. Despite team members’ incredible commitment to their sport––many played baseball for other teams and conditioned intensely in the off-season––what they really need is more experience as individuals and as a team.
Gordon laments that so many players have left the team, saying that getting players such as Graham Fuller to return would be incredibly helpful. Though Fuller made a partial return in the win against Neahkahnie, his full return would make Catlin’s baseball program “Soooooo decent,” in the words of Gordon and former player Jesse Kimsey-Bennett ’11.
Until that day, though, the team will continue to work hard and stay positive, and hopefully the wins will come. For now they have extremely strong players in Brandaw––who has pitched 31 strikeouts in 17 innings–– and Gordon, who is batting an incredible .545 on the season. Senior Jared Woods is also a leading force for the Eagles, and behind these three boys the season is looking more than decent for the Catlin Gabel baseball program.