SILVERDALE — Klahowya’s prep baseball team had four games scheduled for the first week of the season. And hardly anyone believed the team would actually play all four.
After all, it’s March in western Washington. Surely the players would spend at least one day indoors watching the raindrops, right?
Sunny skies and mild temperatures meant the Eagles got to play their full slate of games. Four games in one week is a grind even for the deepest teams, and the primary worry is usually having enough available arms, especially at the 1A classification.
“I think, weather-wise, even [Todd Winters, Klahowya’s athletic director] was like ‘Oh, don’t worry about it, you’re not going to play four games,’ let alone the weather was beautiful for them,” head coach Dan Ericson said.
Klahowya opened the season with a wild 13-11 win over North Mason, then dropped a close game to Seattle Christian, 4-2, and an 11-6 contest to Cascade Christian, in which the Eagles held a 6-3 lead late, but couldn’t hang on for the victory.
“We kind of ran out of arms towards the end,” said senior shortstop Ben Streck, one of Klahowya’s captains.
Fortunately, the Eagles got a break in their final game of the week against Port Townsend. Tanyr Gagnon was able to go the distance in a five-inning mercy rule game in which Klahowya pound out 12 hits.
Sophomore catcher Nathen Mjor led the team with five RBI. He delivered two singles and a double, and also stole three bases. His relatively small stature, given his position both on the field and in the lineup as a clean-up hitter, means he can take teams by surprise, especially after seeing him launch a ball into the gap.
“He’s having a season,” Streck said. “It was kind of a running joke last year that he was the freshman and he still hit it to the fence every time.”
But there were plenty of other offensive stars against the Redhawks. Streck went 2 for 3, including a triple and a double, and scored two runs out of the leadoff spot. Logan Prater went 2 for 2, drove in two runs and scored three times. And Gagnon helped his own cause with an RBI-single and a stolen base. Senior Chris Danielson came on to pinch-hit in the fourth and capped a four-run inning with a two-RBI double that allowed Klahowya to finish the game early.
“We have some kids that can hit gaps,” Ericson said. “The home run ball is pretty rare in high school, but I think we’re going to be, hopefully, the team that no one wants to play because we can run and we can all play defense and get after it. Be a scrappy little ball club.”
Like most Klahowya teams, the Eagles will be well-tested this season with several 2A schools still remaining on the schedule — Olympic (twice), Kingston, Sequim and Bremerton. Between that and a competitive league schedule, they should be ready to go if and when the postseason comes calling.
“We have a great group of guys, we work hard, everyone has that team mentality,” Streck said. “Nobody is out here just for themselves. It’s a fun group.”
Klahowya 12, Port Townsend 1
PT 1 0 0 0 0 — 1 2 1
KLA 2 6 0 4 x — 12 12 1
Klahowya — Gagnon 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 10 K.
Klahowya — Mjor 3-3, 2 R, 2B, 5 RBI, 3 SB; Prater 2-2, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI; Streck 2-3, 2 R, 2B, 3B; Danielson 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI; Steele 2-2, RBI; Gagnon 1-2, RBI, SB, R; Trull 1-3, 2 R.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.