The Pierce College baseball team earned a spot in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship game, but they need to defeat Everett Community College twice to win.
The NWAACC tournament started May 23 and will end May 31 when Pierce plays in the championship game in Longview. (Look for the results of the game on The Post’s website.)
The Raiders won the first game of the tournament 7-2 against Linn-Benton Community College. First baseman Wesley Hoskins led that game with a .426 batting average, and outfielders Isaac Kim, Jeff Nelson and d’Aundray VanSlyke contributed with two hits each. Darrien Moran pitched eight innings of the game, with a 1.79 ERA, and he was relieved by Josh McCoy who finished the game.
The Raiders struggled both offensively and defensively during the second game against Yakima Valley Community College and lost 2-6. Hoskins and VanSlyke each had two hits, but the only runs for the Raiders came in the ninth inning, one from a solo homerun by Hoskins. Elliot Morris pitched around six innings of the game, with a 1.79 ERA.
The loss took the Raiders to the loser bracket, but they still had the opportunity to make it to the finals.
“We lost Saturday and we had our backs against the wall,” Morris said.
Afterward, Morris said that they met as a team and discussed what they did wrong and how to improve for the next game. The Raiders had to win the next two games on Sunday to continue on in the tournament.
The first Sunday game was versus West Division Tacoma Community College, and the Raiders won 3-1. Freshman pitcher Sam Shadle pitched all nine innings with a 1.85 ERA, and he allowed five hits and one run. Michael Sherwin led the Raiders’ roster with two hits, and a double from Brett Oyer in the second, as well as a single from DJ Elmer in the fourth, gave the Raiders their three runs.
The second Sunday game was versus Yakima Valley Community College, who defeated the Raiders earlier in the tournament. The game was won by the Raiders 5-2, with runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Kim recorded two runs batted in, and VanSlyke and Nelson recorded the other RBIs. Sophomore Austin Weber pitched five innings, and the last four innings were completed by reliever Josh McCoy who allowed no hits.
This win allows Pierce to enter the championship game against Everett Community College, but the Raiders will have to win two games against Everett rather than one because of their arrival from the loser’s bracket.
“I like our chances in this situation,” first year Head Coach Kevin Davis said. “Anything can happen. It’s kind of nice to go in as the underdog for once. Nothing changes for us, we are just going to go out and battle.”
Davis explained that two of the wins in the tournament were from behind, and the players showed that they would fight and never quit.
Davis was selected as Coach of the Year in the West Region, as his team earned the West Division Title and obtained a spot in the NWAACC championship game. Davis said although he was appreciative of the award, he owes his success to all his players and coaching staff.
“Instead of Coach of the Year, it should be Coaching Staff of the Year,” Davis said.
A number of Raiders also received recognition for their play this season.
Hoskins was honored as the first Pierce College baseball player in the college’s history to be selected as the All-Conference Most Valuable Player. Pitchers Moran, Morris and Shadle, as well as catcher Sherwin, were listed as first team NWAACC Western Region All-Stars. Moran, Morris and Shadle were also selected as All-Conference All-Stars.
Infielder Oyer and outfielder Nelson earned positions on the second team Western Region All-Stars list. Two Raiders, infielder Elmer and outfielder Kim, were named onto the West Division Gold Glove Team.
Kyle Pegram was recognized for making the All-Academic Team, which is an honor reserved for those whom maintain at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA, have completed at least 36 courses and have been recommended by the college.
Of the 25 players on the roster, 15 are freshman and are likely to return this next season, and Davis expects that it will be a relatively smooth transition to next season due to the large freshman class. They will, however, be losing experienced players such as Hoskins, who leads the team offensively, and Morris, who is Male Athlete of the Year.
“This season has been great,” Davis said, “and it would be even better is we could end the season with a win.”
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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