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Falcon baseball team ready to take on all comers
During last May’s District 1 playoffs, the South Whidbey baseball team came closer to state than it has in several years, losing to Lakewood in extra innings 6-5, then Burlington-Edison by a single point, 3-2.
But with 10 returning seniors, Falcon coach Dave Guetlin believes the added maturity and experience level will push the team all the way.
“Batting and pitching are real strengths for us,” he said. “On the mound will be Jon Adams, Adam Babcock, Hunter Rawls and Luke Hodson, the core of a deep bench.”
Last Saturday, the team played two three-inning games at a jamboree in Coupeville, beating Oak Harbor 5-2 and tying the Wolves 4-4.
“The guys played well, everyone got to contribute, and it gave us a chance to look at some little things, such as coverages and pitch selection,” Guetlin said. “The coaches always keep a list of things to work on the next week. For example,
I gave a couple runners the green light to steal bases, but they didn’t always make the right choices.”
Though baseball may appear static to the casual observer, that isn’t the case. The beauty of the game is that every pitch, every hit, changes the dynamics of what individual players need to focus on, Guetlin said.
“We teach them to examine the nuances of a breaking ball or a change-up, trying to read what the other guy is planning,” he noted.
Last year’s 14-6 record and playoff action helped bring out 34 hopefuls.
“We had a big group of guys turn out, including 10 freshmen, so that I’ve got seniors teaching the younger guys and that frees up the coaches to zero in on specific areas of the game,” the coach said.
This year, Falcon assistants include Dave Moody, Tom Fallon, Michael Berry and Donny Gochenour.
Guetlin knows he faces some tough schools, calling it a dogfight with Archbishop Murphy (as usual) and Cedarcrest.
“Baseball is the most competitive sport in any league,” he said.
Guetlin will rank league teams in order of who they want to beat the most. He admitted being more nervous about those at the bottom.
“I don’t want us to take anything for granted,” the coach said. He noted that baseball is a game of failure, that not hitting the ball six or seven times out of 10 is considered superstardom in the majors.
“When you get knocked down, you get back up. Those who can adjust themselves mentally to a missed pitch or dropped ball usually come out on top.”
Monday, the boys beat Sultan 16-6 in the home opener, since Sultan’s field was rained out.
Lucas Yale posted a grand slam in the fourth inning to propel the victory, and Adams was the winning pitcher.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbey