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Olympic earns fifth straight postseason spot
After clinching a fifth-straight postseason berth with a doubleheader sweep Saturday, Olympic High School baseball coach Nate Andrews wasn’t satisfied.
“We clinched a playoff spot – awesome,” he said after two straight wins against Klahowya Secondary School at home. “We haven’t played that good and we’ve let some games get away from us. I’m happy we clinched, but certainly not satisfied at this point.”
Andrews held his usual postgame speech after beating the Eagles, expressing pride over the wins, while also highlighting his team’s imperfections.
The Trojans improved to 9-5 in Olympic League play, securing the No. 4 spot for districts, but the second season has yet to begin. Never being satisfied is what drives the team, Andrews said.
“We have to keep going at it, no matter what our record says,” he added.
Olympic has games against Port Townsend and Steilacoom high schools scheduled this week, pending the availability of umpires and the possibility of rain. The contests are tune-ups for Friday’s opener at the Class 2A sub-district tournament.
“We don’t want to add any more pressure than there already is,” Andrews said. “There’s no reason to get too excited, the next game is what matters.”
In the meantime, Olympic is working on fundamentals, such as catching fly balls, base running and hitting more in the cages.
Careless errors didn’t help in losses to Sequim and North Kitsap high schools, Andrews said, which means the team will need to fix any kinks before the season winds down.
Senior outfielder Christopher Campbell believes the squad is improving, and that peaking at the right time is most important.
“We’re just trying to get on a roll right now,” said Campbell, who totaled five RBI and two doubles in the second game Saturday. “We’re feeling more confident than the day before, so we just have to continue to ride it because we’re not at the point of feeling completely content yet.”
A slew of rain postponements pushed back some of Olympic’s games, including the make-up contest against Port Towsend and last weekend’s doubleheader versus Klahowya.
Now, the Trojans are coming off five games in seven nights.
Despite the late-season grind, there’s no feeling of fatigue.
“The kids don’t care,” Andrews said. “They stay up and don’t go to bed until midnight anyway.”
The delayed schedule means the Trojans are warming up, not fading due to tiresome play, pitcher Ryan Skoubo said.
“Our pitching staff can go a long way,” he added. “It helps we’re playing a lot now, because we’ll be prepared when it really matters.”
Andrews said his team’s pitching is strong because hurlers had time to rest during postponed starts. The Trojans have Joe Stevick, Skoubo, Spencer Hansen and Danny Sullivan in a four-man rotation.
All four started throwing 100 pitches in a single game recently, which is on par with Andrews’ plan. He added that pitch counts are down this season because he rested players at the right time.
Skoubo said his arm feels at its best right now, compared to the start of the season when he was still rusty from the offseason.
“If we need to push these guys, we can,” Andrews said, adding that he wants his pitchers to warm up at the right time and avoid feeling tired late in the season. “They bounce back nicely after three days of rest so that’s reassuring.”
The Trojans will make their seventh postseason appearance since 2001. The top five 2A teams from the regular season league standings advance to the playoffs, which includes Kingston, North Kitsap, Sequim, Olympic and North Mason high schools. Kingston and North Kitsap are the top two seeds.
“The regular season means nothing,” he said. “If you can win, you’ll win, and do whatever you want to do. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it all starts Friday.”
Olympic will either play Renton, Foster or Tyee high schools in the sub-districts. Andrews said it’s safe to say they will face the No. 4-ranked team from the Seamount League.