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With only two seniors on the team, younger players have stepped up with no time to waste in short season

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Senior Tyler Souvenir sets up for a swing at the Scappoose baseball team's April 22 game against Milwaukie.Almost halfway through the short season, Scappoose High School's baseball team is 3-3.

The team won its April 22 and April 26 games, both against Milwaukie High School. Before the April 22 game, Scappoose had only one win, while Milwaukie had yet to lose a game.

"We knew we had to fight to win and we just hit the ball very well as a team and didn't have many — or any — defensive errors," said senior captain Tyler Souvenir.

Scappoose came away with a 12-1 win.

Facing Milwaukie again a few days later, the team didn't let up. On April 26, Scappoose won 6-2.

Coach Cameron Webb said that game was close the whole way, with the team adding three runs in the final inning.

"Regardless of the record, they're playing the game the right way," Webb said. "They're playing hard and confident all the time and keeping competitive, positive attitudes throughout the game."

Souvenir said he is happy to be having any season, given the uncertainty the past year has brought.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, Souvenir was starting catcher. He missed his junior year season along with the rest of the team, but he had the added challenge of having knee surgery, which limited his ability to play or practice in the off-season.PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Junior Luke McNabb throws a pitch against Milwaukie.

Webb said that in the first game this season, against La Salle, Souvenir came up for his first time at bat in two years.

"The very first pitch he sees at La Salle, he hit a line drive home run over the left centerfield fence," Webb said. "It was just so cool to see. Like, oh man, that kid — if anyone deserves it, he definitely did. But he has not slowed down.

"He's one of our best players and a hardworking guy, and he goes about everything at full effort," Webb added. "The intensity that he brings — all the younger guys really look up to that, and it sets the expectation for everybody else on the team."

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Sophomore Wyatt Anicker shares a fist bump with a coach.Souvenir said he feels good about the team's performance so far.

"Everybody's been playing very well together, and a lot of guys have stepped up and played big roles for us," he said.

The young team has relied on leadership from the few seniors.

"It feels good that I can be a big leader for the team," Souvenir said, but added that it isn't the same team he last played with, back in his sophomore year. The team this year is less experienced, but "it's just another challenge we have to take on," he said.

With only two seniors, the team is having to rely more heavily than usual on younger players, but Webb said even the underclassmen are "playing with a lot of composure."

The team has a freshman and three sophomores in the regular starting lineup, including Wyatt Anicker, whom Webb said was "the star of the game on the mound" on Monday.

"It's creating some opportunities for younger guys who are really stepping up. It's really going to bode well for their future," Webb said.

The team plays 26 games in a typical season, but only 14 in this shortened season.

The first week of practices began while fall sports were still going on (this year's unusual schedule started with what are traditionally fall sports, went to spring sports and will end with winter sports).

Many of the baseball team's starters also play football, but Webb said the football coaches generously accommodated those players, starting practices earlier so that those two-sport athletes could head to baseball practice afterwards.PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Sophomore Trey Fuller slides into home base.

"The effort and the focus that they were showing in our practices was just as great as I would ever expect normally, to the point that I was almost forgetting, 'Oh, wait, maybe take it a little easy on these guys, they just had two hours of football practice,'" Webb said.

Halfway through the season, Webb said the team has had strong pitching from Anicker and junior Luke McNabb, good defense, and good team speed.

Hitting "is still coming along," Webb said. "They looked kind of rusty our first few games (but) you can see the guys getting better every single game as we go," he added.

In the second half of the season, the team will face off against the top teams in the league.

"I'm excited to square off with those guys and hopefully give them some good games," Webb said.PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Teammates watch and prepare for their turn on the field.

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