Sports

Falcons hit the bases running

Falcon freshman pitcher Taylor Todd fires a strike to a Sultan player Monday as the baseball season got under way in earnest at Falcon Field. - Jeff VanDerford
Falcon freshman pitcher Taylor Todd fires a strike to a Sultan player Monday as the baseball season got under way in earnest at Falcon Field.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

With two wins under their belts, the Falcon boys of spring look to be on a roll.

Question is, how far can they go?

On Monday, the boys swatted Sultan 11-4 and followed up with a 13-11 victory over the Turks on Wednesday — that’s 24 runs over two games for those keeping score.

“Well, we’re hitting the ball,” said Falcon coach Dave Guetlin. “Whether we can keep it up after we start seeing some of the conference’s better pitchers is the key.”

That being said, he’s proud of his team’s fast start, and the hitting of David Woodbury (four hits and a triple), Austin Bennett (five hits and a home run), and Robert Kirby (four hits). And he cited for special mention TJ Fallon’s pitching in the first game and Duck Hanna’s in the second.

“We’re very young this year, but a couple wins is a great way to give a high level of confidence early in the season,” Guetlin said.

The coach noted that the next series of games might be more of a challenge.

“I’m not certain we saw the Turks’ best pitching this week,” Guetlin said. “But we’ll take it. After, I told them to remember the moment, remember what it feels like so they can do it again. Don’t settle for one or two good games.”

The coach noted the defense played very well and has shown significant improvement since first practice on March 1.

“Always lots of room to get better, though,” he said.

South Whidbey finished 2009 with a Cascade Conference record of 6-12, and were 7-12 overall, failing to make the playoffs for the first time in six years. But they ended on a high note in May with a 9-6 home victory over Granite Falls.

Guetlin said that only four seniors — Craig Hawkinson, Dalton Smith, Fallon and Hanna — returned to Falcon Field this year, but added that, young as they are, the Falcons can expect to be no worse than in the middle of the league standings.

“The Evil Empire — also known as Archbishop Murphy — and Cedarcrest are bringing back strong rosters,” the coach said.

He’s a believer in baseball, and sports in general.

Though he thinks academics always should come first, the coach knows that not every parent, or even teacher for that matter, believes in the value of sports.

“The lessons learned on the diamond — sportsmanship, teamwork, time management, resiliency — are invaluable, and they will follow them all their lives,” Guetlin insisted.

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,” Guetlin said. “One moment you drop a ball in the outfield, then are asked to hit the winning run as everyone in the park watches.

“You don’t think that builds character? Of course it does.”

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