Hitting, pitching, and throwing with his right hand, Gabe Howard, junior, primarily plays as a pitcher or an outfielder. He was a part of last year’s state championship winning team and has played on varsity since his freshman year.
“I enjoy just being out,” Howard said. “The baseball field gives a lot of good vibes and being with the guys, it’s always a good time hanging around them.”
Howard started playing T-Ball as a 4-year-old, but has been playing baseball, or at least something close to it, since he was 2 years old. Following his high school baseball career, in which he still has two years left to play, Howard plans to continue his athletic career at the University of Oregon (UO).
As a pitcher, he is one of numerous members of the varsity bullpen and often works closely with catcher Ryan Vandenbrink, another junior that has been on the varsity team since his freshman year.
“Pitching? It’s something else,” Howard said. “You isolate yourself out there and you just feel on top. You feel in control. It’s a good game.”
Unlike other sports, like basketball or soccer, where the game is constantly moving and all players are expected to fluidly switch between offense and defense as needed, baseball operates at a slower pace. This allows baseball players to hit and field at separate times with breaks in between.
“As of right now [I prefer] being in the field,” Howard said. “I enjoy it more because it’s easier and less frustrating. At the plate sometimes I get frustrated with myself.”
Following up a state championship winning season can be difficult, as expectations are high and hungry teams who were unable to win the championship the year before are looking to take advantage of every opportunity.
“We’re honestly just flushing last season,” Howard said. “[It] doesn’t even matter, state championship or nothing. We’re just restarting and trying to reach the same goal.”