La Center High School’s baseball team won the district championship for the second year in a row on May 13 against Elma with a score of 3-0, but then lost to Royal High School during regionals ending their run to attend the state tournament.
Hunter Weiss, the first-year coach of the team, said the district win was a big accomplishment for his players.
“I know that the boys have been working really hard this year, and one thing our coaching staff told them in the beginning is that even though it’s a pretty young team and a lot of new guys at the varsity level, they had a target on their backs due to winning the championship last year too,” Weiss said. “They had that chip on their shoulder, knowing other teams would come after them.”
Weiss noted some highlights from the district championship. Freshman pitcher and outfielder Justin Fuller, “threw a complete game” with 11 strikeouts and “drove in all three of our runs,” while sophomore Alex Mora scored two of the three home runs. Sophomores Smith Stimmel and Tyler Normine both hit one for three with a single, Weiss said.
“Smith has been our first baseman all year. He’s very good defensively and hits in the middle of our lineup,” the coach said. “Tyler has been our leading hitter most of the year, as he hit over 400 this year, and plays outfield when he’s not pitching. Justin had not pitched very much prior to the last couple weeks but we were trying to be conservative with his arm health. But he said he was good to pitch in his championship game, so we let him go, but he typically plays centerfield for us.”
Weiss said Fuller “hits at the top of our lineup,” and is good on the bases.
“It’s been great so far,” Weiss said. “I came in as the former coach, Rick Skinner, set the groundwork for us. Coming in as a first-year head coach of the program, a lot of these kids played with each other before or had just known each other growing up, so I was kind of the new guy. But the kids have been great. My coaching staff is really, really helpful, and I feel fortunate to be supported by the community and also our administrators and athletic director.”
Prior to La Center, Weiss was an assistant coach at Franklin High School for four years, which is part of the Portland Interscholastic League.
Despite their district championship win, the team lost in a single elimination tournament in Anacortes on May 21. They played Royal High School, who won the game 7-6.
“I think going forward, the kids have told me they want to compete for a league championship, a district championship, and a state championship this year and going forward,” Weiss said. “I know that they’re doing some big things, and hoisting some trophies is definitely on their minds, but I think that just continuing to develop players and for them to develop as people, giving them some good skills for life and on the field, I think those are the main goals that I have.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here