ILWACO - The Ilwaco High School baseball team tallied a 5-4 record to close the season under new coach Mike Garcia, which ended with two playoff losses. The team had an overall record of 9-13 for the season under both Garcia and former coach Kevin Heimbigner.
Three players received first team all-league honors from the Southwest Washington League: junior pitcher Anthony Wirkkala, junior outfielder Alex Martin, and senior catcher Mooch Smith. Nick Leonard, senior infielder/pitcher, was named to the second team.
Of the four graduating seniors on the team, coach Garcia had this to say:
Mooch Smith (catcher) - "He has a great arm and has the accuracy to throw runners out who are trying to steal and those that were leading off too far off of first base. Mooch is one of the best catchers I have ever had the opportunity to coach. He threw out 8-12 base stealers and has the potential to further his baseball career at the next level. If he pursues his dream of someday becoming a coach, he will be one to be reckoned with. Mooch is playing baseball in college next year, and I believe that he will have success."
Nick Leonard (shortstop and pitcher) - Garcia: "He is one of the most pleasant and respectful individuals that I have had the opportunity to coach. Nick is an athlete that every coach dreams of coaching. He will do everything that you ask him to do. Has a drive that is next to none. He loves the game of baseball and deep down I think he knows he has some more baseball in him. Nick had a work ethic that could not be matched by most high school athletes. He is going to college in Hawaii and hopefully trying out for the baseball team. Nick's passion for the game has led him to work hard and to have fun, which is what the game is all about."
Jarod Schaak (first base) - Garcia: "Jarod played the position as good as anyone in the league. He could stretch, jump, and dive for all potential errant throws. He had two strikeouts all season, which goes to tell you that he was a true contact hitter. Jarod played first base and played it better than any other first baseman in our league. He would snag high throws and make our infielders look like professionals. Needless to say he saved a lot of potential errors. He was not the quickest, but he was by far our most dependable infielder. Jarod had a nice level swing that helped him receive team honors for one of the highest batting averages."
Mike Huitt (left field and center field) - Garcia: "Mike was one of our speedy outfielders that could track down any fly ball. Mike kept practice interesting. Once we changed his approach on hitting he became a hitting machine, but unfortunately it was one game prior to the district playoff. With his speed he could track down and catch any fly ball in left field. He did a great job filling in at centerfield when Alex Martin was out due to a leg injury. Mike came a long way in his batting, he improved by making more contact and waiting for a pitch to hit."
Garcia concluded his remarks by saying, "All of our seniors will by missed and I wish every one of them good luck in whatever it is that they choose to do. I was glad to have had the opportunity to coach them. They are good young men and I hope that their experience in high school was one that they will always remember. I have already been approached by possible players for next year that are not incoming freshman and would definitely help out our baseball team. Our goal for next year is 25-30 on roster."
Ilwaco Baseball Roster 2006
Seniors: Mooch Smith, Nick Leonard, Mike Huitt, Jarrod Schaak; Juniors: Junior Talancon (injury), Paul Blaylock (injury), Dan Greenfield (injury), Anthony Wirkkala, Cody Chalker, Alex Martin; Sophomores: Jordan DeSimone, Ryan Garcia; Freshman: Jason Huntley, David Stull and Jon Biggs.