Getting to know the baseball team
After last year’s state championship, the baseball team is looking to win another. Continuity flows through their roster, as they feature eight returning members from last year’s championship-winning team. Ryan Vandenbrink, junior, is the starting catcher.
“I am really confident in where we’re at right now,” Vandenbrink said. “I’d say even looking back to last year compared to this year, I’m really confident about where we’re at this year. I like where our team is, I like the chemistry that we have in between the guys. I feel like all the different classes and groups kind of get along really well, which is really good.”
One of those groups includes the bullpen, which features Drew Talavs, Max Allen, Drake Gabel, all seniors, and Gabe Howard and Blake Crawford, both juniors. Talavs, a future pitcher for the Oregon State Beavers, is the lead pitcher and is confident in the bullpen’s connectivity.
“[Our goal is] good communication during practice, you know, pick someone up and when they make a mistake or just compliment someone when they do something good,” Talavs said. “It’s all about building trust with your teammates, and connecting.”
Connecting as a team could prove crucial in matchups between competition like the Jesuit Crusaders and Lakeridge Pacers. Both of these teams finished top five in the state rankings last year and this year, the Jesuit Crusaders are nationally ranked.
“Jesuit is gonna be good this year. I’ve actually gotten closer with a bunch of those guys over the offseason, I’ve been working out with them a bunch,” Vandenbrink said. “So I know those guys pretty closely and maybe we [will see them] later in the playoffs, hopefully we do. Also Lakeridge just because we’ve had a rivalry with them. Ever since I’ve been going to West Linn, we’ve kind of had a rivalry.”
To give a complete preview of the season, wlhsNOW staff hosted a baseball media day, which included portraits in the studio and individual interviews with the players. Click below to see each player’s profile, which explains each player’s individual outlook for this season.
For an in-depth look at the forthcoming spring sports season, listen to The West Linn Weekly Wake Up’s spring season preview.