Raiders’ sportsmanship carries the team to victory

Duncan Stevenson / Courtesy Photo

Team’s mindset sets them up for the win

Raiders men’s baseball team has had its share of challenges this season. But the game on April 14 against the Grays Harbor Chokers highlighted their outstanding sportsmanship and team cohesion, all with a firm dose of competitive dominance.

For shortstop Mason Hoover, part of the team focus is having each other’s backs. “We weren’t connecting earlier in the season but we’ve been getting it together, feeling out our chemistry and having a great time and finding common ground,” he said.

Pitcher Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa No. 23 sees finding joy in the game has to be just as important as winning the game. “The coach gave us a better setting to have fun today and not being so serious because we still want to have fun just as much as we want to  win,” Hoopii- Tuionetoa said.

Coach Jake Phillips played baseball for the Raiders in 2011 and 2012 and has been the coach for the last five years. Training this year consisted of having his athletes improve their technique with new and interesting training exercises.

With a solid swing of the bat, he sent the ball flying into the outfield and his teammates to home plate.”

One of the training tools Philips used were whip sticks. Players use the short, slender sticks to hit tennis balls; by doing so, the batter can to improve control over the bat. He also had his players practice hitting sunflower seeds. If the batter can hit a sunflower seed, hitting a baseball is easy.

The Raiders formed up on the field three hours before the game started, embracing the cold as the rain soaked their uniforms. Getting a little wet was not going to hinder their pre-game exercises and team morale.

The tone was set early in the game. At the start of the third inning. the Raiders were `up to bat and ahead 2-0. It wasn’t long before the bases were loaded and no outs, when No. 7 Cody Russell stepped to the plate.  With a solid swing of the bat, he sent the ball flying into the outfield and his teammates to home plate.

As the spectators cheered, the Chokers answered with three points of their own, but the Raider’s team would continue to dominate. By the end of the fourth inning they were ahead by another four runs. Ultimately, the Raiders would finish the game 11-5 and the second game 10-0.

The last set of games for the men’s team is against Tacoma Community College. On May 10 at starting 1:00 p.m., they will be playing at Minnitti field. May 11 is a home game, playing at Mount Tahoma High School starting at 1:00 p.m.