Westview baseball team will focus on senior players this season
There may be no state title to look forward to, but the Westview varsity baseball team is focusing on highlighting their seniors during a season like none other.
Out of 16 players on the roster, 10 of them will play their final season as Wildcats.
Westview baseball head coach Matt Bailie says it's nice to be able to get the team back up and running and have more fun than in years past with less pressure on the season.
"We're taking the approach of getting our seniors out there as much as we can," explained Bailie. "For a lot of them, this will be the last time they have a chance to play baseball. This senior group of 10 kids have, for the most part, been playing together since the third grade, so this is kind of a culminating year for them."
When asked about seniors to look out for this season, Bailie immediately highlighted shortstop Mason Guerra. Guerra is a first-team all-state and all-league honoree during his career as a Wildcat and will play for Oregon State University next year as an infielder.
"He could arguably be called the best baseball player in the state of Oregon right now," Bailie said.
Other players to look out for include starting center fielder Braeden Munger, who is a left-handed pitcher set to play at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington, next year.
Catcher Josiah Shipley is also a senior that will continue his baseball career at the College of Idaho.
Bailie says a roster packed with seniors gives Westview an advantage this spring.
"I believe all four of these seniors started as sophomores on varsity, so we have a lot of experience," he noted.
While the focus may be on the seniors, the Wildcats also have a handful of juniors and one freshman to contribute to the season.
Some young up-and-comers include Cole Katayama-Stall, the only freshman on varsity. Bailie says he started the team's first game on the mound and will play a little of infield as the season goes on.
"It's fun to watch kind of progress as we move through," he added.
Bailie also highlighted infielder junior Logan Plunkett and first baseman Elijah Arnold. He says there are a lot of players to put out on the field, including junior pitchers Jackson McLoughlin, Carson Bybee and Noah Shea.
"We have a lot of guys and only nine sports to put out on the field, but it seems like we have 15 or 16 guys that any given day we could put out there, so they're making it tough on me," Bailie said with a chuckle.
Overall, Bailie is confident in his team's ability to play this spring despite the unprecedented season due to COVID-19.
He added that the Wildcats have a decent lineup of hitters from top to bottom, good play on defense and players that can throw strikes on the mound.
"We don't have that league championship, and we don't have that state championship, but every year, we're going to be able to go out and compete against every team in the league," Bailie said. "We have a belief that we should win every game that we play. But in saying that, we still have to go home and play the game, and we still have to perform and be able to make game adjustments to be able to do that."
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