"New coaches, baseball team plan winning season"

"Dave Guetlin, the new head baseball coach at South Whidbey High School, serves up some big fat ones for his hitters during batting and fielding practice Tuesday.Matt Johnson / staff photoOnce South Whidbey High School's new baseball coach, Dave Guetlin, gets to really know his players, there will be little to stop the Falcons from having a winning season.Having lost just three seniors to graduation last year, the Falcons return to the field this year a bigger, stronger, and faster baseball team. The team's list of seniors -- which includes Peter Sankey, Chris Patterson, Jimmy Davis, Carl Noste, Coupeville transplant Caden Russell, Brian Gabelein, Jimmy Berto, and Tristan Johnson -- is long enough to fill every defensive position on the team, while underclassman, such as pitcher Jimmy Davis, give the team both talent and depth. The only big change on the team this year is its coaching staff. Guetlin takes over for longtime coach Bill Patterson, coming into the position after coaching 25 years in Monroe and 11 years at Edmonds-Woodway and Cascade High School. Also new on the coaching staff are junior varsity coach David Nelson and freshman coach Tom Fallon.Coming off last year's 6-10 North Cascades Conference season, the team does have room for improvement this year. That improvement, said Guetlin, will depend on how well he and his coaching staff can mesh with a team that has been playing as a unit for years.It's a tight-knit group, he said.Bill Patterson has been helping with the transition. The former coach worked with the team's pitchers and catchers during the off season to begin easing them into Guetlin's new system. He's been a big help, Guetlin said.Now two weeks into the preseason, the biggest job left to the coaching staff is to plan a lineup for three upcoming, non-conference games. Experimenting with that lineup during those games will give the Falcons a good idea of how to handle the toughest NCC teams -- Lynden Christian, Meridian, and Mount Baker.In addition to its varsity and junior varsity teams, a good turnout will allow the Falcons to field a freshman C-team this year. All three teams will swing into action Monday when they take on Coupeville. The varsity team will play the Wolves in Coupeville, while the JV and C teams will play at home. More information about this years team can also be found on the Falcon baseball website at "

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