Rangers learn lesson in opener

SEATTLE — With the wind gusting off Lake Washington, the Olympic College baseball team opened its 2003 campaign against the University of Wahington Huskies.

And while it wasn’t the full regular roster for the 6-6 Huskies on the field Wednesday night, the Rangers still had their hands full as they went down swinging 17-1.

“They played a combination of varsity and junior-varsity guys,” OC coach Michael Reese said.

Reese, now in his second season at the Rangers’ helm, said the score was a “respectable” 7-0 through the first 5-1/2 innings. Then the Huskie irregulars went to work, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the sixth.

“Overall, we need to do a better job controlling the strike zone — both offensively and defensively,” Reese said. “Our batters struck out 19 times (eight were caught looking at strike three) and they had the pitches to hit but didn’t make good contact. And our pitchers walked or struck 22 guys to give them a lot of chances to get on base without getting a hit.”

Chalk up the miscues to youth. Twenty-one of the 27 ballplayers for OC are freshman playing in a game against NCAA Division I foes. Yet they had a strong fielding game and committed zero errors.

“When you’re down in a game like that, defense and morale tend to suffer,” Reese said. “But there were a lot of intangibles that don’t come up in the box score. The final outcome didn’t reflect how we played. The guys enjoyed being out there and were very resilient to the challenges. They worked hard and got better over the nine innings.

“This opened a lot of eyes to see what to build on for the rest of the month of our non-league schedule.”

The Rangers play their first home games today in a doubleheader against The Evergreen State College. The first pitch flies at noon.

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