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Determination makes the difference, seniors say | FALCON SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW
Exiting from the postseason one game shy of the 1A state tournament last year is a memory South Whidbey baseball seniors are eager to put behind them.
And they plan to by making the state tournament this May, one in which the players are all a bit older, a bit stronger, and a bit more familiar with each other and second-year head coach Tom Fallon.
“We’ve all been playing together for a long time,” said senior CJ Sutfin, one of the team’s pitchers and first basemen.
Facing Charles Wright Academy in the tri-district elimination game last year, the team’s four seniors said inexperience got the best of the team. It was a back-and-forth, tightly played winner-to-state contest, and eventually the pressure cracked the Falcons.
“Some of us seniors didn’t even play varsity two years ago,” Sutfin said.
A sense of unity has taken root among the players, said senior left fielder Nick Bennett, calling it a “good, positive attitude.” The roster changed slightly since last season when the Falcons went 7-12 in the regular season and 2-3 in the playoffs.
Making the playoffs is guaranteed for South Whidbey because there are only two 1A teams in the Cascade Conference, and both play in the District 1 tournament. That makes the season-opening three-game series with Coupeville, the other 1A school, critical in determining which Northwest Conference team South Whidbey will face first in the postseason.
“Our first series with Coupeville is huge,” said senior pitcher and infielder Colton Sterba. “It’s the difference between playing Meridian or Blaine first.” Meridian is traditionally a baseball powerhouse in the Northwest Conference.
“The drive that we have is what is gonna give us the advantage,” added senior Jake Sladky, one of the team’s vocal leaders.