Pierce Pioneer

College Basketball Game: Pierce vs Highline

Raiders embrace their brotherhood

Duncan Stevenson / Courtesy Photo
The Raider’s focus this season was to enjoy the experience, have fun, and be bold in their playing.

Through the ups and downs of the season, the Raiders came together as a team and ended strong

This has been a unique and challenging season for the Raiders men’s baseball team. But throughout the season, they played with heart and soul and finished as winners.

Coach Jake Philips and some of the players touched on the highlights of the season. 

Who showed the most improvement?

Sophomore No. 2 Colby Tam, a graduate out of St. Anthony’s High school in Waihe’e-Waiehu Hawaii., is the team’s most improved player for this season. Tam has been a utility player, meaning that he can play several different positions. A strong competitor who has also played every position, his energy and drive would draw in those watching.

Most memorable moments?

The team’s most memorable moments have been as they are competing against rival teams in the Tacoma area. When the Raiders win, they dog pile each other on the ball field after the game.

Duncan Stevenson / Courtesy Photo
Spencer Howell shown pitching for the Raiders.

Most surprising player?

Brock Wrolstad No. 24 turned out to be a surprise pitcher for the team. One of the other pitchers was out due to an injury, so Philips put Brock on the mound. After one of the games when he pitched a “no hitter” for four innings straight, Philips asked Brock how come he did not say anything about his pitching ability.

Brock’s answer characterized the team competitor that he is. “Well, you didn’t ask,” he said. He was more focused on getting out there and playing the game.

Biggest upset of the season?

Dominc Agron is a sophomore from Covington, Washington, graduating out of Kentwood High School. He started as the primary pitcher this season, and was talked about as the top pitcher in conference receiving consistent observation from scouts. 

Duncan Stevenson is the athletic director for Pierce College. He was very impressed with Agron’s pitching ability. “He would go out there and own the plate and with him being a short guy, nobody takes you as serious as they should and you shoot off like a thunder storm,” he said.

However, a serious elbow injury partway through the season has put his future baseball career into question.

The team kept true to the heart of the game, which is to go out there and have fun. In doing so, they were able to focus their energies into developing each other’s strengths. Overall, as of May 1, the Raiders ranked in the top five in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).

Game Schedule

Day: May 10

Time: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Playing against: Tacoma Community College

Where: Minnitti Field

Day: May 11

Time: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Playing against: Tacoma Community College

Where: Mt. Tahoma H.S. Baseball Field

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.

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