CJ Robinson, Reporter
Shouts of encouragement come from the dugout as one of the players steps to home plate. This is a scene at one of the games for the Pierce College Raiders baseball team.
Head Coach Kevin Davis said the recruiting process begins at local high schools, and some recruitment is in Hawaii and Alaska. He looks for top players in the area that, for some reason, couldn’t compete at the university level.
“You got kids who play the game for fun and you got the kids who play because they have aspirations to go on and further their careers,” Davis said. “Usually we can identify that pretty quickly.”
This season, Davis emphasized team dynamics with the athletes he assembled. He said that for the last few years, his coaching staff have stressed the close-knit bond that other teams may not share.
Often times, it’s possible to see this teamwork transfer to the field, Davis said. This season, the Raiders are 4-1 in league games with a 7-0 win on Clover Park on April 10. The team has thrown two no-hitters – a game in which no hits were recorded for a team—so far, the only no-hitters Davis remembers in the past six years. The first was thrown by Mac McCarty, Caleb Wallen and Conner Sharp. The second was by Keenan Lum.
Gunnar Schubert, shortstop for the Raiders, said the main difference between last season and the current season is experience and leadership.
“The freshmen outnumbered the sophomores 4:1,” Schubert said. “We were a little bit immature and didn’t know what was going on, and now we know it’s gonna be a long, tough season but we’re all gonna pull our weight.”
These results don’t come without the hard work put in by the players. Davis said players usually have classes between 8 a.m.-noon and practice is from 12:30-3:30 p.m. In addition, five hours in the tutoring center are mandatory for each member on the team to help maintain grades. Weekends with two-game days mean that from March to May the Saturdays and Sundays are fully booked for the athletes. On top of this, Davis said some players have a job.
“It’s definitely a grind for these kids,” Davis said. “When people say that student athletes have it easy, sometimes I want to challenge them to have the same schedule (the athletes) have.”
Fundraisers also contribute to the success of the team. The two main contributors of funding to the team include the annual Halloween game and dinner auction that Pierce hosts. At the Halloween game, tickets are sold to see Raiders play opposing teams in Halloween costumes. For the dinner auction, seats are sold, donated items are auctioned off and almost $25,000 is raised every year for the team. These funds mainly go towards scholarships for student athletes and new gear for the team.
Looking toward future goals, Davis said he hopes to move all his players onto the university level and to make it to the Northwest Athletic Conference finals. Holistically, he said that the recent victory against Clover Park put them one step closer to the championships.
“It’s worth it because it defines who you are and who you want to be going forward,” Schubert said. “I think Pierce has definitely prepared me for the next level and has made become more of a young adult.”
To see the Raiders baseball schedule, roster and any recent news, visit www.pierce.ctc.edu/athletics/baseball/.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost