South Whidbey senior Taylor “Crash” Brown has seen ups and downs in his Falcon baseball career.
He was on the 2015 squad that finished second in the state. Their hopes of returning to state were gutted the past two years in the bi-district tournament.
Now the center fielder is the only returning starter on a Falcon team that lost seven seniors to graduation last year.
This fact causes little concern for Brown. He’s confident that his teammates’ knowledge and past experience with the sport more than make up for their relative inexperience with varsity play.
The majority are sophomores who saw intermittent varsity action throughout the 2017 campaign. The rest are either newcomers to the Falcon program with past experience in the sport or newbies.
“Most of them have baseball history,” Brown said. “It doesn’t concern me. It’s just about getting them caught up on the speed of play. They’re like a team that wants to learn, they’re ready to learn. They’re young, but they’ll have a good team in a couple years, too. But, we’ll have a great team this year.”
The Falcons finished 12-10 overall in 2017, but were eliminated from the 1A bi-district tournament after going 1-2.
Though their postseason ended short of state, a half dozen underclassmen received more than enough experience to know what it will take to find success this year.
One of them was sophomore Alex Black.
“As a freshmen class, I think we really stepped up playing with guys with like full blown beards,” Black said. “I think we did a good job for having very little experience with varsity baseball.”
Black said his fellow sophomores learned how to react in certain situations, picked up skills and what kind of mindset to have coming into games.
Head coach Tom Fallon thought the experience the younger players got last year was “huge.”
“Knowing we we’re going to be young this year, I tried to get as many of those guys varsity experience as I could,” Fallon said. “That’s going to help us this year. But, none of those guys really played a full season either. That is what it is. They’ve got the experience. We’re just going to have to build on that.”
Fallon said the key to success this season will be perfecting the fundamentals of the sport and playing as a team.