Pierce Pioneer

See how canceling the 2020 season has affected the baseball program

In baseball, someone who fails 70 percent of the time is considered elite. Yet failing only 70 percent of the time calls for hundreds of hours dedicating yourself to the game. For all the time spent in the batting cage, on the field, and in the gym, you typically get three at-bats to show for it.
However, imagine having no chance to show off your hard work, and the opportunity to prove yourself is taken away. During the troubled times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom baseball program was deprived of one thing they loved most - baseball.
On March 17, the Northwest Athletic Conference announced the cancellation of the 2020 season for all spring sports programs. Pierce College Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson remained sympathetic to the student-athletes that he worked with.
“My initial reaction to the cancelation was a sense of devastation for our student-athletes,” he said. “Not just for this lost season, and this year’s training and preparation, but for the years of time and sacrifice they and their families have invested in getting to this point.”
According to Stevenson, over the last three decades as Pierce’s athletic director, he has never experienced anything like the COVID-19 Pandemic. The feeling of devastation extended to the program’s coaches and players. Yet, the program remained optimistic as the players began to plan for their futures and the next season.
“Within a day or two of the announcement of the decision, their spirits really turned around, especially as the enormous scope of the national and global situation became more apparent,” Stevenson said.
“They quickly switched gears from being frustrated about the lost season, to making plans for spring quarter classes and looking at options for next year. I am really proud of how resilient they have been through all of this.”
As announced online by the Northwest Athletic Conference, freshman and sophomores enrolled during the 2020 season would remain the same grade athletically for the next season. This would apply to all athletes regardless of the number of games played during the spring season.
Moreover, the sophomores have a big decision to make on where they will play during the 2020 season. Stevenson realized that the baseball program will never get this season back. “For some, this will be the end of their competitive careers,” he said. “As an athlete, you want to go out on your own terms –in the arena of competition. For those that return next year or move on to play at a four-year college [or] university, this will always be their lost season; It is really heart-breaking.”
Pierce’s baseball coach, Kevin Davis, was also crushed by the cancellation of the 2020 season. He knew what this season meant to the sophomores, as he was once in their shoes after finishing his sophomore baseball season at Bellevue College.

“I feel for the sophomores who worked their whole life for this and don't have anything to show for it,” he said. “I also feel for the freshmen who got their first chance at college ball and had that taken away.”
The NWAC was not the first conference to cancel the season, according to Davis. The decision to cancel the 2020 season followed similar decisions by four-year universities in the NCAA. Tournaments such as the NCAA College Baseball World Series and NCAA Basketball were canceled ahead of the NWAC’s decision in March.
Since the spring season ended, the program’s players have kept in touch and continue to train on their own time. “They have been doing home workouts, playing catch together when they can, and we have weekly zoom sessions to goof around and keep in touch,” Davis said.
The team now endures a long offseason where they plan to start their fall season as planned. Next season, they will have the possibility to have a first-ever season with three classes of players. This would include incoming freshman, returning freshman, and third-year sophomores.
Riley Paulino, a freshman pitcher who plans to return for next season, was let down by the cancelation and empathized with his sophomore teammates. “I was very disappointed because I felt that we had a really good group of guys all pulling towards one goal,” he said. “I also felt for the sophomores because, for some, this marked the end of their careers. It hurt me to witness their last season go down like that.”
Even though the rest of the spring 2020 season was canceled, the team was able to play 12 games out of the 45-game season. Paulino, who led the team in strikeouts, said his teammates were what made the short season and preparation worth it.
“My favorite part of this last season has to be the countless hours that I have spent grinding day in and day out with this group of guys,” Paulino said. “There is nothing like having 30 guys you know would run through a wall for you. This makes us push each other harder because we truly care about the success of each other.”

Hunter Bungert/ Photo Illustration

Cody Russell, a sophomore shortstop who is continuing his playing career at Washington State University, is only one of a few sophomores who knows where they are playing next season. According to Russell, he received the news of the canceled season during a meeting with this team.
“At first I was really shocked,” Russell said. “I didn’t really think it was true. It probably took me a week for it to click in; I’m not going to be completing my sophomore season up here.”
Since Russell has a sense of direction to work towards, he started his off-season early in preparations for his jump to division one baseball. But with no facilities and teams to practice with, it has been difficult to train for the next step in his career.
“It’s tough; we don't really have gyms right now,” he said. “So, we've got a little setup in our garage; my brother and I are lifting almost every day, hitting at the cages, playing long toss, and running. Just all the normal things that you can try and do without having a school gym or whatever we had before this whole thing happened.”
Additionally, Russell will be joining his brother at WSU, who is a freshman. He looks forward to the opportunity to play at the highest level with his brother. “I’m playing with my brother, what else could I really ask for?” he said. “It’s D1 baseball with your brother; It’s kind of a dream come true for both of us. I’m pumped, I can’t wait to get down there, get rolling and get with the team.”
With his junior college career at an end, Russell embarked on what he will remember most about playing for Pierce. “The grind, the attitude, and the culture that coach Davis built around the team was the coolest thing,” he said. “It was crazy how last year it was two different teams. This year it was like we were brothers, everyone was so close, hung out almost every day; everyone had classes with each other. The energy that the team brought was so different, I think that would have taken us a lot farther than last year.”
According to Russell, the majority of sophomores remain unsure about the next step in their baseball journey. Yet, the team continues to express optimism in the pursuit to play baseball for a four-year university. Only time will tell where they will end up and how the program rebounds from a canceled season.
With no way of making up the canceled season, the program endures a long off season to improve individually. COVID-19 guidelines make it hard to train as a team and each player’s commitment will be tested in preparation for the fall season. Even with a pandemic limiting the access to facilities and players, it won’t stop the program from striving to challenge themselves everyday. The program's sense of resilience will push them through quarantine and prepare for another season as a Pierce College Raider.

Raiders vs. Highline Thunderbirds

October 4 @ Heritage Field in Puyallup

Final score 0-3
Raiders lost

Raiders vs. Centralia Trailblazers

September 13 @ Heritage Field in Puyallup

 

Final score 7-4
Raiders won

Intramural Indoor fun

Do you kick balls?  Whether you do or not, you can have a great time with intramural indoor soccer that begins April 6 to May 27.  Intramural sports are a great way to have fun, get physical, and get a good exercise at the same time.

Most of the time, spring break gives us a chance to relax and eat cruddy food without having any stress.  However if you are stressed or not, there is always plenty of time to have fun.

What’s the kick?  Well it does cost money to go to the gym, and to play a sport it is the same.  $16.41 is the cost for a membership for the each quarter.  This is a great bargain in comparison to other gyms.  You get the opportunity to play intramural sports at your leisure.  You get access to the basketball court, the gym, and the locker facilities.  Games will be played on Mondays and Wednesdays and if you are interested ask the people at the H.E.C. for more information.

Seattle Sounders lose 1-4 against Vancouver Whitecaps

Austin Lewis Features and Sports Editor

Seattle Sounders lose second game in a row, causing distress for the fans and the players

On Wednesday, October 4th the Seattle Sounders faced off against the Vancouver White Caps for the third time this season. Unfortunately they lost 1-4, making this the second loss in a row.sounders_people

The White Caps scored their first two goals before halftime, And then got a third goal before the sounders got their first goal at the 69th minute by Mauro Rosales, followed by the White Caps scoring their 4th and final goal at the 82nd minute.

This makes the second loss in a row for the Sounders, but they’re hoping to redeem themselves on October 12th against the Portland Timbers. So far they have twenty wins, fourteen loses, and 8 draws for the season.

The game wasn’t a complete disappointment though. One of the team’s players, Steve Zanguki, returned to the field for the first time after five months. Zanguki has been struggling with rehabilitation after an injury but was happy to be able to play.

The Sounders also had huge fan support going on during the entire game. Huge flags were waved throughout the entire game sporting the Sounder’s colors and the there were specialized cheers sung throughout the entire game to help egg on the sounders.

sounders_bannerPierce students were able to purchase tickets at a discounted price of $12 from the student life center, and they were sold out by the morning of the game day. Quite a few Pierce College students made the trip out to support their Seattle soccer team.

While there was some obvious disappointment with the loss all throughout the crowd some of the students talked about what how they felt about the match. “Our goalie was not on his game tonight” said Manuel Ortiz. After the game had ended, Sysco Velazquez commented that the game was a “Duel to the end, a tough game but well worth it.”

Even though the Sounders have suffered two loses in a row they are determined to win these next three games in October and break out of this losing streak.

 

 

start off spring quarter with a game of intramural soccer

Joseph Henrickson
Staff Writer

Every Monday and Wednesday there are approximately 35 people that get together at the HEC for some friendly competition.  From noon to 2 p.m. the gym becomes a recreational soccer facility and the fun begins.

Intramural soccer is a sport that is played in a college with no competition involved, but is played just for fun. Intramural Soccer is going on right now at the HEC building, and all students are invited to play. The environment is known to become intense and fun while playing.

You don’t have to be the next Seattle Sounder to play, you just have to be available and willing.

Show up at the HEC and ask for Doug Carlson or Jorge Cruz, the Intramural Coordinator, for more information.

You can also sign up at the Student Life Office and start your journey of excitement, exercise and competition in a sport that you love.  Currently there are four teams that play, but more are wanted and all one must do is sign up.

Two teams compete in a 40 minute match that consists of two halves lasting 20 minutes each.  The field runs the full length of the gym so you won’t have to worry about getting enough exercise.

As 16 people take the field [eight per team] you can imagine the fast-paced, high energy atmosphere that is created.

Students have a blast with this high flying, fun and intense sport. The time will fly by while bringing out one’s inner athlete.  Get out to the HEC and play!

Raiders athletic booster club supports sports

Christian Read
Staff Writer

The men’s soccer season this year was called successful, yet, according to Head Coach Mark Lee, next season will be one to get excited about.

During Lee’s first year as head coach, his first game started with a win over Tacoma Community College. His last game, a playoff game against Columbia Basin, ended in a hard-fought 5-3 loss.

The Raiders are ready to put that game behind them and focus on next season.

“We came out after traveling the night before,” Lee said. “We gave up a few early goals and had some unfortunate calls go the other way. But we never gave up and got a few goals ourselves. In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

The season was successful despite being eliminated from the playoffs. The team ended league play with a record of 6-7 and had an overall record of 8-10.

“We came out young with just a couple of returning players,” Lee said. “I am proud of our team. It was a really impressive season.”

Lee expects his current freshman players to make next season’s count, particularly goalkeeper Jayson Stam and players Joel Carillo (midfielder), Gilberto Garcia (midfielder), Christian Rath (midfielder/forward), Matthew Solis (midfielder/forward) and Jay Williams (forward).

“We are losing some experienced guys, but we think we will be just as strong if not stronger this upcoming season,” Lee said. “Sophomore year is a learning stage for these guys, so there is a lot to look forward to.”

The Raiders’ top three goalscorers—Solis, Williams and Carillo—are all returning next season. In the midfield, the team will lose the experience of co-captain Tommy Finseth along with Alex Cacciola and Drew Sadowsky. Balls still should make it to the back of the net next year through Solis, Williams, Carillo and other returning players, Lee said.

The biggest loss may be found at the other end of the field. The Raiders are losing Jonathan Rodriguez and co-captain Chris Warner, two key players in defense, along with starting goalkeeper Andrew Anderson.

The freshman defenders are expected to fill that missing gap.

“My first year was good,” Lee said. “I was nervous coming into it, but I had lots of help and support. I learned a lot this year and I know what to do differently next year. We were unlucky not to continue, but this was a good learning time for us as a team.”

Kicking it on the green with the men’s team

Mackenzie Hendricks
Puyallup Post Staff Writer

Assistant coach Micah Wenzel profiles Puyallup campus soccer team’s star players

This year, the men’s’ soccer team has made quite a few changes. The first change is coaching, and the second is players.

Mark Lee, the former assistant coach, stepped up as head coach and is currently helping the Raiders vie for a playoff spot. Assistant coach Micah Wenzel is a new addition to the program.

“We are looking to get deep into the playoffs,” Wenzel said. “If we play right we have the potential to challenge for the title.”

The Raiders are near the top of the standings and have won seven games so far this season.

“We have lost a few tough games, and there is always room for improvement,” Wenzel said. “Lately, we’ve had a consistency issue. We need to work on coming out alive. We’ve been coming out flat, which is not what we want as a team.”

Despite a few struggles, Wenzel offered up many good points about the team.

“We have really great young talent,” Wenzel said.  “We are focusing on building up our freshman for next year. Our freshman players really contribute to our offense. Christian [Rath] is really dynamic. Joel [Carillo] is very fast. Matthew [Sollis] is our leading goal-scorer. He works hard and can make something out of nothing.”

But the returning players cannot be overlooked. There are six sophomores on the team: Andrew Anderson, Alex Cacciola, Tommy Finseth, Jonathan Rodriguez, Drew Sadowsky and Chris Warner.

Starting goalkeeper Andrew Anderson played for Rogers High School on South Hill before joining the Raiders.

“Andrew has made some big saves this year,” Wenzel said. “He is a really strong keeper, and I could see him going on to play at the next level.”

Midfielder Alex Cacciola played for Puyallup High School before coming to Pierce.

“Alex is very crafty,” Wenzel said. “He brings a spark off the bench, but he also does well as a starter.”

Tommy Finseth, a co-captain, is a midfielder and forward who played for Auburn Mountainview in high school.

“There is a lot of leadership from Tommy,” Wenzel said. “He is a vocal player and he pushes to get the best from everyone. He is a strong presence on the field.”

Defender Jonathan Rodriguez came from Mount Tahoma High School.

“Jonathan is having a fantastic year,” Wenzel said. “He lets his playing do the talking for him. He is also very good on the ball. We tried him up front occasionally because of that.”

Drew Sadowsky is a midfielder and forward from Bonney Lake High School.

“Drew is a more reserved guy off the field,” Wenzel said, “but on the field he pushes the other players and he always does exactly what we want from him.”

Co-captain Chris Warner is a defender and midfielder who played for Rogers High School before beginning at Pierce.

“Chris is our enforcer,” Wenzel said. “He steps up and makes the key tackles. He takes charge and is very vocal back there on defense.”

Despite having difficulty maintaining interest with the freshman players in the past, the coaches are confident for this season and the next.

“Mark (Head Coach Mark Lee) and I are pushing them in their academics and doing all we can to keep them wanting to play,” Wenzel said. “And we are always looking to step up our level of play as a team. As for the playoffs, we will see what happens.”

Rough Game for the Raiders

The Raiders took on the Chemeteka Storm on Oct. 11. Coming into the game, Pierce (3-4-1) sat in 3rd in the NWAACC South, while Chemeteka (5-2-0) sat right ahead in 2nd place. A win in this matchup would have put the Raiders up in the standings by a point.

Early on in the match, with the rain pouring down, both teams struggled to maintain control of the ball. It looked clear that Pierce was struggling to keep up with the pace of the away team.

Off a miss-touch by Pierce defender Cameron Jake Still, Chemeteka had an easy two-on-one opportunity, allowing Brian Avila to get the scoring started for Chemeteka in the 7minute.

Finally the rain let up, allowing both teams to get a better handle on the pitch. Felipe Heredia took advantage of the quickened pace, dribbling around four Pierce defenders before burying the ball in the upper right corner of the goal handing the Raiders a 0-2 deficit in the 17minute.

Pierce Goalkeeper Alex Hall didn’t seem happy with the lack of defensive, or offensive, composure his Raiders were showing.

However, there certainly was not a lack of intensity on the Raiders side, as they fouled the opposing offensive players time after time.

Heredia put Chemeteka on the scoreboard for a second time, with a beautiful pop over the goalie, then maneuvering behind Hall for an easy touch into the back of the net in the 26 minute.

In the 34 minute Heredia got his teammate Miguel Curiel involved with a pass to the right side of Hall, with Curiel subsequently placing the ball into the right side of the net off the goalies fingertips.

The bleeding continued for the Pierce Raiders, this time off a ball driven all the way from midfield off Jovanny Centeno, two minutes later. Hall didn’t have time to make a save attempt as the ball sailed over his head, off the right post and into the goal making the score a lopsided 5-0.

Pierce continued to battle however, and off an Edgar Zepeda corner in 40 minute, defender Chris Warner volleyed the ball into the net to end the possibility of a shutout, and giving Warner a highlight-reel play.

After a quick goal from Chemeteka, Kyle Millsap sprinted with the ball from midfield and put a nice inside-outside move on the defender, placing the ball behind the goalie before stoppage time ended.

The score was 6-2 at halftime.

Shortly after halftime, the keeper Hall made two brilliant saves before collapsing on the ground in agony with a left shoulder injury. Cameron Langeridge came in and immediately made an impact with his quick hands, though it was far too late for Pierce to mount a comeback.

Chemeteka added one more goal off the foot of Pedro Gonzalez in the 72 minute to make the score 7-2.

With a chance to add another tally on the 7-2 beating, Jonathan Rodriguez struck a free kick from 30 yards out, to allow Pierce to finish the 3-7 beat down.

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