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.

Halloween at Pierce College

Every year, Halloween gets bigger and bigger. This year, the Pioneer decided to explore and share the Halloween culture of the Pierce community. From the sports team to the international office, everyone was making plans and celebrating the spooky day.

The Pierce Baseball and Softball team play a game dressed in Halloween costumes.

Interviews done by Anna Paxton Hammond asking the pierce community about their Halloweens.

It’s easy for Americans to view Halloween through the lenses of their culture. Widely celebrated across the nation, the spirit of the holiday often takes root as soon as October hits.

But for international students in college, Halloween can be something foreign and exciting; a way for those not from America to take part in its culture and festivities. And at Pierce College’s Halloween Dance Party, the international students were given the opportunity to truly feel the Halloween Spirit.

Photo Credits

Sunny Martini / Courtesy Photo

Darrel Kuntz / Staff Photo

Ty Phay / Staff Photo

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photo

 

Editors: Myra Fehling, Kotone Ochiai, Kevin Collins

 

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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...

Music provided by No Copyright

Music: https://www.youtube.com/c/royaltyfree...

Music used: Spook 2 by PeriTune https://soundcloud.com/sei_peridot/sp...

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...

Music provided by No Copyright

Music: https://www.youtube.com/c/royaltyfree...

Music used: Spook by PeriTune https://soundcloud.com/sei_peridot/spook

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...

Woman’s Softball

Womans+Softball

2017 was an interesting season to say the least for the Pierce College Raiders women’s softball team. It was a season that saw the Raiders go to .500 in conference play and fall just short of the postseason. The Raiders ended the season the season struggling managing only three wins in the last ten games. May 14 marked the end of the season with Pierce in triumph over Everett in the highest scoring game of the season that totaled 28 runs between the rivals.

Bailee Bradley was the winning pitcher on the afternoon with Olivia Berkan struggling for Everett. Both offenses abused each pitcher with Berkan giving up 18 runs and ten from Bradley. Pierce did not have a single strikeout in the matchup. Bradley had quite a productive day on offense leading the Raiders in hits (four) and RBIs (seven). Tavian Taketa for Pierce was the scoring machine in the game with five runs. The Raiders finished the season with a bang defeating Everett 18-10.

Emily Bishop led the Raiders in 2017 with 48 hits in conference play and was tied with Taketa with 35 runs. Holiday Riback was the leader in RBIs with 36. As a team, the Raiders amassed 219 runs and 310 hits.

This was a season full of hard fought battles and struggles for the Raiders. If this core group of players sticks together, the Raiders have a good chance to make a run at the postseason in 2018.

On to the Post-Season

On+to+the+Post-Season

The 2017 NWAC Men’s baseball regular season has come to an end. Fortunately, the Raiders have stormed their way to a playoff berth in hopes of claiming the title of champions. After a dismal performance in the middle of the season, Pierce caught fire in their last ten games winning nine of them with an eight-game streak to end the regular season.

The Western division produced four teams for the postseason this year with Pierce finishing in third place behind cross town rival TCC and division champion Lower Columbia. Pierce ended with a better overall record (29-12) than TCC (27-15) but was edged out in conference play by two games. This results in Pierce being third in the west and TCC second. Pierce had the sixth best winning percentage overall in the NWAC with .707.

Pierce had their premier scoring day on May 7 against the division rival Grays Harbor Chokers. David Smallwood was the winning pitcher in the matchup was Tyson Johnson was on the losing end. Both pitchers struggled mightily throughout the game. Smallwood gave up five runs on eight hits to the Chokers offense. The Raiders offense was able to amass 22 hits with ten coming off Johnson throws. Josh Swanson had the hot bat for the Raiders with six hits, at six at bats.

After a scoreless first inning, Pierce followed with five straight innings scoring. The sixth inning was explosive in every sense of the word. The Chokers put up all their runs in the top of the inning with the Raiders adding five to their lead. Pierce finished off the night with four more runs in the bottom of the eighth. The final score was 16-6. The most points scored by the Raiders

Gaining Speed and Momentum

Raiders Softball finds a winning edge through the midway point of the season

Gaining+Speed+and+Momentum

The Raiders have had a solid start to the season but have begun to catch fire during the midway point. In the past ten games the Raiders have an 8-2 record. Pierce had an eight-game winning streak come to an end against Edmonds in heartbreaking fashion with a 19-1 loss. Despite their recent success with the eight-game winning streak, Pierce is still 15 games out of first place Douglas who are undefeated at 24-0.

Pierce had one of their better performances during this streak on April 25 against Shoreline. The Raiders more than double Shoreline in hits with 15 to six. Emily Bishop and Tavian Taketa were the leading scorers for the Raiders on the day with three runs apiece. The Raiders pitching staff was dominant giving up only a single RBI the entire game while the Raiders offense enjoyed different results putting up 13 RBIs on the board. Taketa was perfect offensively with four hits on all four of her at bats. The second inning featured Pierce at its most deadly with eight bigtime runs adding to their 2-0 lead from the first. The Raiders prevailed with a 14-1 beatdown of their Northern division foe.

The Raiders hopes of winning the division has all been eliminated with their back-to-back losses to Edmonds. In the first match-up, Edmonds was nearly unstoppable on offense. Edmonds had their best inning during the second putting up 11 runs. The game lasted only five innings due to their massive 19-1 lead over the Raiders. The Raiders struggled to produce any kind of success offensively only putting up two hits on the day. Each team struck-out four batters. The second game gave fans more of a competitive edge. Pierce gained confidence early entering the second inning tied 2-2. Momentum was shot down when Edmonds put up a quick three runs in the third inning. Edmonds continued to add to their lead entering the final inning up 7-2. The Raiders tried to complete the comeback but fell short only earning two more runs.

With nine games remaining in the regular season, everyone is crucial in the hopes on a postseason berth.  

Battle for the West Rages On

Raiders deal with mid season struggles

Battle+for+the+West+Rages+On

After starting strong for the 2017 season, the Raiders have hit a midseason wall. In the past ten games Pierce has won only three of their matchups. Despite having a record of 3-7, the Raiders have outscored their opponents 68 to 57. The Raiders best performance in this stretch was on April 15 at home against Green River.

The game was short lived due to the barrage of runs from the Raiders. Pierce came out of the gates swinging with eight runs scored in the first two innings. Tyler Fujimoto was the winning pitcher on the afternoon. Fujimoto was impressive with eight strikeouts and giving up a mere three hits. Matt Scheffler lead the Raiders with three hits in the game. Four Raiders each put up two runs. Pierce won the game handily 12-0 in one of their bigger shutouts of the season.

The good fortunes for the Raiders were short lived. Pierce battled cross town rival TCC in one of their worst performances of the season. TCC doubled the Raiders total for the game in hits with 12 vs six. Pierce had only one RBI compared to TCC’s ten. TCC again doubled Pierce in another statistic with eight strikeouts over four. Pierce jumped to an early 1-0 lead for the first two innings. After that it was a TCC spectacle. TCC outscored the Raiders 10-0 in the final seven innings with four coming in the eighth to put the dagger in the match.

Currently the Raiders are in third place of the Western division with a 9-8 conference record and a 21-12 overall. The Raiders have their work cut-out for them having to compete and overtake TCC and Lower Columbia who both have 15-2 records.   

New Season, New Possibilities

Raiders softball starts strong

New+Season%2C+New+Possibilities

The road to a championship is a challenge each team accepts at the beginning of each season. This year, the Raiders face the difficult task of winning the competitive Northern division and taking down Edmonds (21-3) and division leader Douglas (15-2).

Since the start of the season, the Raiders have claimed the third spot in the North with a 5-2 conference record. Emily Bishop has been an enforcer on offense leading Pierce with 12 hits. She is tied with Tavian Taketa as the top scoring Raiders with nine runs. The Raiders pitching as struggled early on with the bullpen averaging a 5.73 era.

Pierce has been an up and down team this season. From losing 13-3 against Edmonds to blowing out Olympic 13-1, the Raiders must find stability if they want to have any hopes of advancing to the postseason in 2017.

One of Pierce’s best performances this season came in a shootout against Highline on April 8. Bailee Bradley and Annelies Dahman gave Highline’s pitcher problems each had three hits on the day to put runners in scoring position. The first inning was a frenzy of scoring with Highline outdoing Pierce four to three. After that, the Raiders defense found their stride and shutout Highline for three straight innings until giving up four runs in the fifth. Down three entering the final inning, the Raiders exploded with a flurry of scores racking up five more to take a 11 to nine lead and win a primetime conference game.

Pierce faces Edmonds four more times this season with more pressure building up in each matchup. The Raiders have given up double digit scores in two of the last three games. Momentum is huge in sports and the Raiders look to continue their winning streak and earn a spot in the playoffs in May. 

Reflection on Raider Baseball

Reflection+on+Raider+Baseball

Baseball season is underway and the Raiders have been one of the more consistent teams this season. After losing to Lower Columbia 6-5 in week two, Pierce has rattled off four wins in a row. The Raiders offense has been explosive this season with double digit scores in four games this season. Pierce opened the season with a bang defeating Green River 6-2. The game started scoreless until the Raiders took a two nothing lead in the bottom of the second. Green River answered back in the third and fourth innings with two runs to tie it up. After another score to reclaim the lead in the fifth, the Raiders caught fire in the bottom of the eighth with three runs to win the regular season opener.

Catcher Matt Scheffler has the best average on the team hitting .500. Scheffler leads the team with ten hits in conference play while first baseman Rylan Cratsenberg has 28 total. Cratsenberg has four homeruns to his name as well leading Pierce. He is tied with Mac McCarty as the team leader with seven RBIs in the regular season. Ty Swanson has been a scoring machine for the Raiders with eight runs scored.

The Raiders most dominant appearance was again against the Green River Crocodiles on April 14. Pierce scored a season high 14 runs. Pierce student and fan Sean Phillips talked about the game. “It was just a slugfest. They knew it was over before it started.” Offense was on full display for the Raiders scoring in every inning but one featuring two innings with four runs apiece. The defense kept the Crocs in check allowing a mere four runs on the afternoon.

Pierce begins a string of battles on the road against cross town rival TCC on April 29.

Raiders Fastpitch prepares for the 2017 season

The team builds a new group in hopes of a postseason appearance

Raiders+Fastpitch+prepares+for+the+2017+season

2016 was a tough, yet rewarding, year for the Raiders fastpitch team. At the end of the season, Pierce had a winning record of 12-8 in conference play, yet still missed the playoffs.

The Raiders ended the season on a four-game losing streak that fell short of second place in the Western Division. The four-game losing streak came after the best stretch of the season where the team rattled off six straight wins.

Their best performance of the season was on April 9 against Grays Harbor. The offense and defense played spectacular. While the Raiders offense put up 20 runs, the defense flexed its muscles and shutout the opposing offense for the game.

Pierce’s pitching was near flawless, giving up a mere two hits on the afternoon. Jessilyn Enlow shut down Grays Harbor, holding them scoreless during her five innings of work. Sabrina Collins for Grays Harbor was the losing pitcher. Collins gave up eight runs in one-third of an inning, walked none and struck out none.

The Raiders offense was explosive in the first inning, scoring 13 runs. Pierce was dominant with seven batters combining for 16 hits, 17 RBIs and 20 runs scored. Emily Bishop led the team with 43 runs and 74 hits on the year. Anna Lennox came up big in clutch moments, hitting a team-high seven homeruns.

The 2017 season starts on March 3 against Wenatchee Valley on the road with a doubleheader. Another doubleheader follows on March 10 against Clackamas and Mount Hood.

Men keep pace in high-powered Western Division

Raiders keep winning streak alive

Men+keep+pace+in+high-powered+Western+Division

The Raiders men’s basketball team has been in the top three of the western division for the season. Pierce sits at 4-2 behind S. Puget Sound (6-0) and division leader Lower Columbia (6-0).

Pierce student Manuel Cuadrado said, “Defense wins championships. These guys are finding ways to get the ball out and capitalize.”

The men have forced 297 turnovers this season.

“Just play your game and you’ll be number one. They looked fantastic against TCC.”

The Raiders played their cross-town rival TCC on Jan. 25 on the road. This game featured one of the league’s best scorers in Khalil Thompson, who is averaging 22.84 points per game, going up against one of the stingiest defenses in Pierce, who allowed the third fewest points per game with 72.6. In a Western Division showdown, the Raiders started strong, taking a 37-27 halftime lead.

TCC fought back in the second half, winning the defensive stops battle. Pierce struggled at the line all night, shooting 56.3 percent to TCC’s 62.5 percent. Hussayn Ford was the hot hand for Pierce taking 24 shots on the night. The Raiders offense kept their composure in the fourth quarter to prevent a comeback from the Titans. The final was 72-69.   

The Raiders kept their momentum from the division win entering a matchup against Highline. Pierce crushed Highline in each quarter. Brilan Kelly led the Raiders, hitting 10 of 15 field goals on the night. Pierce cruised to a 93-52 victory.

The Raiders play first place Lower Columbia on Feb. 8. Each division game is crucial, especially when you enter the midway point of the season. Two of the league’s best defenses squaring off promise to be a key component to the tightly contested playoff race.

Raiders Baseball is on the Horizon

Raiders+Baseball+is+on+the+Horizon

The road to the NWAC championship tournament starts now. The tournament will be held May 25th- 29th at David Story field in Longview, WA. The Raiders have started training for the upcoming season.

Pierce comes into the season with a few returning players that had one of the Raiders better seasons last year. The Raiders ended last year on 3rd place of the NWAC tournament. 2016 was Pierce’s most successful season since their 2014 campaign where they went 22-3.

On February 17th at 6 pm, the Raiders will host their sixth annual Baseball Dinner Auction. “Meet the Raider Baseball Team while enjoying dinner and bidding on an exciting array of live and silent auction items”-Raider athletic website.

Pierce’s first game of the season is at home against Bellevue on March 4th at 11 am. The very next day these two teams square off with a double header with Pierce on the road.

Baseball fan and student Manny Cuadrado talked about the upcoming season. “They have to keep their minds on a championship but not forget you need to take each game one at a time.” Puyallup student Sean Phillips also commented on the team. “You play to win and this is a team that plays for each other. It will serve them well in big time moments.”

Pierce has a lot of hype surrounding its team and the students are very excited to cheer their team to the championship.

Former player for Raiders claims NWAACC’s “Player Of The Week”

D’Aundray Van Slyke receives honors for baseball prowess

Recently D’Aundray Van Slyke was named player of the week. Van Slyke, who attends St. Andrews University, plays baseball for the Knights in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. St. Andrews University is located in North Carolina. However Van Slyke got his start in baseball at Pierce College. This is the first weekly award he has been honored with. Van Slyke is a senior who plays both pitcher and outfielder. But the honor had much more to do with his hitting and pitching than his outfield expertise. He finished his week off with eight total hits and six RBI’s, which included a game winner against opposing Milligan in the third game. In the same contest he also pitched three scoreless innings. He put one out in the stands with a home run shot that capped off a great week for the senior. Van Slyke leads the Knights with a batting average of .380, 6 home runs, 12 doubles, and 83 total bases. He is second in RBI’s with 35 and hits with 49. He leads his team in ERA as well, and to top it off he has two wins and 31 strikeouts and three saves in 20 total innings. D’Aundray’s favorite quote tells it all, “He who is not courageous to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” –Muhammed Ali. He is definitely doing a lot of courageous things with the Knights and it looks as though the accomplishments are paying off for the baseball player from Washington.

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