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The Wildcats drop a 7-6 game to Century, but with a roster of first-year players are working hard to improve game to game.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Westview sophomore Gunnar Pedersen takes a cut during the Wildcats' 7-6 loss to Century Wednesday, March 23, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.You can't put a price on experience, and it was a lack of exactly that which led to the Westview baseball team's 7-6 loss to Century Wednesday afternoon, March 23, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.

"Our inexperience at the varsity level showed in every area of the game," Westview head coach Matt Bailie said. "Century battled and was rewarded for their efforts."

The Wildcats (2-0) built an early 3-0 lead on the Jaguars (2-2), but they watched the visitors score one in the fourth inning, two more to tie it in the fifth, then four in the seventh before their own rally fell just short in the bottom half of the game's final inning.

Bailie said that much of what was troublesome in the game was self-inflicted, but because of their relative lack of experience, he said, they're going to have to take the good with the bad until they get their feet wet.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Westview pitcher Cole Katayama-Stall hurls a pitch during the Wildcats' 7-6 loss to Century Wednesday, March 23, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro."Our entire starting nine are basically first-year varsity players," the coach said. "I am excited for the preseason and watching these guys learn and improve."

Bailie said that his team will lean heavily on starting pitchers Cole Katayama-Stall and Logan Plunkett.

Katayama-Stall threw into the seventh inning versus Century. The coach said he was pleased with Katayama-Stall's performance in the game and said they'll need both Katayama-Stall and Plunkett to be workhorses throughout the season to be successful. Their versatility will be one of their biggest strengths, he predicts.

"Each game out we've had different guys leading us," Bailie said. "Everyone will need to be leaders, as we are basically all first-year varsity players."

Westview isn't unfamiliar with success. The Wildcats are 62-14 since Bailie took over the program in 2017 and won a state championship during the 2017-18 season.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Westview's Cole Katayama-Stall tosses a ball to first base during the Wildcats' 7-6 loss to Century Wednesday, March 23, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.
The coach said his players are familiar with the program's recent success, but what they've accomplished in the past has little to do with what this team can do going forward, he added.

"The team is fully aware of our recent successes, but this is a new group that has to build its own identity," Bailie said. "They are pretty loose and have fun playing the game and being around each other. Our goals are to practice hard, play hard, compete every day, to give us the best chance to win each game."

And whether they do or don't, they will work — their coach has learned that much over the season's first two weeks.

"They are competing and never giving up, which is always a good sign," Bailie said. "Guys are learning every game out. We just need to continue to work on the little things."

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