Suzanne Buchholz, Reporter
Baseball season is in full swing in Washington, and the Pierce College Raiders are proving to be “pitch” perfect this season.
The team made it into the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship, held on Story Field at Lower Columbia College in Longview May 26-31. The team lost 34-16 against the Everett Trojans, placing third in the NWAC Championship.
The Raiders qualified for the NWAC Championship after winning the Super Regionals at Mt. Tahoma High School May 20-22. The Raiders won against the Edmonds Tritons with a score of 4-3 on May 20. The Raiders lost to the Columbia Basin Hawks with a score of 4-5 on May 21, but triumphed with a score of 13-4 on May 22.
Student Success Manager/Head Baseball Coach Kevin Davis said the team was happy to make it to the championship but wasn’t particularly surprised by their success. He said their goal from the first day of the season was to win the championship and that’s what the team worked toward during training.
“(The) guys were excited, but Pierce Baseball expects to be in the playoffs every year and usually is,” Davis said.
Student Matt Thompson, who’s been on the Raiders team for two years and plays infield catcher, said that he’s glad to have reached the championship and credited the team’s win to their close relationship.
“I’m very excited but not shocked, because I knew on the first day that the group of guys we have are special and we truly believe that we’re a family,” Thompson said.
The Raiders have succeeded in winning the NWAC West Division four times in the past six years. They managed to reach the NWAC Championship in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Raiders won the 2012 Championship against the Mt. Hood Saints.
The Raiders prepared for the season the same way the always do, Davis said. The team started with conditioning during the summer, which involved lifting weights and working to increase their speed. Once the school year started, they had workouts at 6 a.m. four days a week and practice five days a week. This is in addition to balancing training with classes and homework.
“(It’s) business as usual,” Davis said. “We don’t change anything.”
Student Johnathan Bjerk, who plays right hand pitcher, said the training was beneficial for the players, but that the frequency of the training wasn’t the most significant part.
“The most important part of training wasn’t how often it was, but how focused we were,” Bjerk said. “We did everything with a purpose to improve and polish our game, bodies and mind to the level needed to win a championship.”
Thompson said one of the best parts of being on the team is the atmosphere, which he thinks contributed to their success as well as his enjoyment of the sport.
“I enjoy the guys and coaches the most,” Thompson said. “We share something that people won’t understand unless you were with us from day one till now.”
Bjerk also said that atmosphere made a big impact on all of the players by bringing them together and encouraging them to embrace a competitive spirit.
“Every day, we break our practices out with ‘family’ on three,” Bjerk said. “In the beginning of the year, it seemed cheesy and cliche. Now, it couldn’t be more true. We’re all brothers out there and I’ve made some true friends by being a part of this team.”
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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