The Mustang diamond boss said he expects continued improvement as Milwaukie battles for supremacy in the Class 5A NWOC

by: JOHN DENNY - Milwaukie coach Phil MarchantMilwaukie High School has had only one winning season in varsity baseball over the past two decades — going 13-12 in 2009. But Phil Marchant believes the Mustangs are coming close to turning things around.

“I like where we’re at,” said Marchant, who has taken over as head coach at Milwaukie, replacing Dan Lee. “Our facilities are going to be improved and we’ve got an administration that is very supportive of academics, as well as athletics. The two go hand-in-hand....

“We had three teams for the first time in three years last year. The jayvee was very competitive. They were almost .500, and they didn’t get blown out.”

Marchant said that ground will be broken on an outdoor hitting facility in the fall, and there are long-term plans to build a multi-sport artificial turn sports complex on the current Lake Road fields.

Marchant is not new to Milwaukie High School or to Milwaukie High School baseball. He has been a teacher at Milwaukie High School for the past 12 years, providing instruction in environmental science and biology.

He has been varsity assistant to Lee at Milwaukie for the past three seasons. He was head baseball coach at Milwaukie from 2002 through 2006, when the Mustangs struggled, wining only six of 100 games in the big-school Three Rivers League.

“I’ve learned a lot since then,” Marchant said. “I’m much better organized. I’ve learned a lot from Dan Lee. He’s one of the most organized people I know....”

While still teaching at Milwaukie, Marchant headed up the baseball program at Cleveland from 2007 through 2009 — when the school dropped down from Class 6A to 5A. And he led the Warriors to three straight PIL league titles.

Marchant said he returned to assist Lee at Milwaukie because, “It’s much easier to develop relationships when your on campus with the kids, instead of just with them at the ball field for two hours.”

Milwaukie dropped from the Class 6A Three Rivers League to the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference three years ago.

Lee first headed up Milwaukie’s baseball program for four seasons from 1998 to 2001 and during that time the Mustangs went 11-65 in TRL play. Lee returned to head up the program in 2009. The Mustangs went 9-27 in the TRL in 2009 and 2010; their league record in the NWOC was 20-32 between 2011 and 2013.

Marchant says he’ll focus on execution of the basic fundamentals as he attempts to continue a turnaround in Milwaukie baseball.

“I think we are closer to winning seasons,” Marchant said.

The new Mustang diamond boss said he plans clinics for youth and youth coaches as he works to improve the program.

Marchant says that Ryan Moore, Milwaukie’s pitching coach for the past six seasons, will be his varsity assistant; J.J. Bybel, a 2006 graduate of Milwaukie, will coach the jayvee. And he says that former Major League relief pitcher Roy Thomas [Mariners, Astros and Phillies] will coach his pitchers, as well as the freshmen team.

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