Baseball players hoping the rain, rain goes away

Baseball fields in Long Beach resembled creeks last weekend following days of heavy rain. KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo

ILWACO - If pitching and catching are any indication, the IHS 2003 baseball team should be dynamite as they are strong and deep at both key positions according to first year coach, Jerry Eilers. At present, the score is 4-0 in favor of the rain, however.

The Fishermen were hoping to begin play yesterday, March 25 at Woodland in Trico-League action and then host LaCenter Friday. Stevenson, Castle Rock, (League contests), Hoquiam, and a jamboree have all been postponed due to inclement weather - in other words, the March monsoons. There is no definite word on when or if the contests will be made up.

Sam Eilers is back for his fourth year as starting pitcher for the Fishermen and Kevin Brown also returns for his third campaign in a starting mound role. The two hurled the majority of the innings for the 10-13 Ilwaco team in 2002 that visited the State 1A tournament in Moses Lake. Junior chuckers include Ryan Cadwell and Rocky Mirelez who also contributed to the Fishermen's first-ever state tournament experience, albeit an 11-1 loss to eventual champion, Colfax.

Other pitching prospects include Christiaan Thorne, Casey Venus, Brian Meyer, and Nick Leonard. With the early rainouts, there will be no such thing as too much pitching for the Fishermen when makeup games become an issue.

Brown will, for the fourth straight year, be the standout receiver for Ilwaco, but Eilers, Mirelez, and freshman A.J. Smith all are working for time behind the dish. The infield will be aptly manned by talented Burt Walters, Montez Pogue, and Thorne, when he isn't working on putts for his state tournament appearance as a golfer.

The outfield will be centered around the speedy Cadwell and veteran Justen Schaak, both returning starters in the garden. Venus and whoever else is hot at the plate will compete for the remaining outfield position.

Three starters off last year's state 1A entry chose to not turn out for baseball their senior year.

Eilers is aided by Darin Hocking as coach at the varsity level. Eilers says of his prospects, "We have 12 guys who will do what it takes to be good baseball players. We also have a great group of JVs who are willing to learn and improve their game. This will be a fun season."

Matt McKinstry and David Cook will be working with the eager entourage of JV's. Nick Brown, Cody Brown, Jarod Schaak, Matt Boggs, Jay Vaughn, Kenny Bisbing, Matt Becken, Jason Childers, Bobby Crislip, Steven Dodson, Zack Graff, Travis Ostgaard, Mike Huitt, and Patrick Tomberlin are all working hard to get better at their baseball skills.

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