Sports

It’s go time for Redmond High, Overlake-Bear Creek baseball teams

Top: From left, Overlake-Bear Creek sluggers Ben Kelleran, Troy Stolarczuk and Matt Kaiser. Bottom, Redmond High coach Dan Pudwill (center) with his Mustangs. - Andy Nystrom / Reporter
Top: From left, Overlake-Bear Creek sluggers Ben Kelleran, Troy Stolarczuk and Matt Kaiser. Bottom, Redmond High coach Dan Pudwill (center) with his Mustangs.
— image credit: Andy Nystrom / Reporter

Brandon Burditt and Bryce Steckler are hitting and running strong for Redmond High’s baseball squad.

Peter Perkins and Matt Kaiser are carrying big bats for the Overlake-Bear Creek team.

It’s that time again as the boys of spring are giving it their all on the local baseball diamonds. Here’s some insight into our Redmond-area teams:

REDMOND HIGH

Coach Dan Pudwill’s Mustangs, who were off to a 2-3 start (0-1 in the 4A Kingco Conference) at press time, return four senior pitchers in Jacob Brady, Kyle Francis, Daniel Bies and Lucas Eliason, and are bent on improving on last year’s 6-8 league record.

Brady is the team’s No. 1 man from the hill and Pudwill notes that the pitcher has a commanding fastball and a solid change up and curveball.

“With the mix of those pitches and the velocity, it makes him tough for opponents to crack,” Pudwill said.

Added Brady: “I’ve just got to stay consistent with my routine, be strong mentally, keep my body healthy. (I have to be) in a competitive mindset and know that if I pitch well, we’re going to have a good shot to win this year.”

Francis also plays right field and has some pop on his bat and can find the gaps in opposing outfields, according to Pudwill. Bies is recovering from arm surgery and has pitched a couple of innings. As for Eliason, he’s also the team’s main catcher, calling the pitches and playing stellar defense.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this senior year and we have a huge senior squad,” said Eliason, who homered in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to Inglemoor. “Most of these guys I’ve been playing baseball with for a long time. They’re great guys and they know what they’re doing.”

Other Mustang standouts include senior third baseman Steckler, senior center fielder Burditt and senior shortstop Milo Mincin. Steckler stole seven bases through the first four games and Mincin and Burditt have been hitting well. Burditt started off with a bang with two homers in Redmond’s 9-5 win over Kentlake.

Sophomore first baseman/pitcher Brendan Ecklebarger has also been getting in some good at-bats, Pudwill noted.

Pudwill and the Mustang players will host a one-day youth baseball camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 12 at the big Hartman Baseball Field, 17300 N.E. 104th St. The camp is open to boys and girls in grades 2-6 and will help participants develop their skills in throwing, base running and hitting. For more information, visit www.redmondmustangbaseball.com or contact Pat Chin at pat@calderchin.com.

OVERLAKE-BEAR CREEK

The class 1A combined team returns eight of its nine main players from last year and 13th year coach Mike Davidson had a gleam in his eyes as he watched his team practice on Tuesday.

“They came in in shape and ready to go,” he said.

The team won its second straight Emerald City League crown last year with a 6-0 record and finished 14-7 overall. The Growls were 5-1 this season at press time with wins over Nooksack Valley, Friday Harbor, Sammamish and Cedar Park Christian.

Perkins, a junior right fielder and University of Washington commit, homered in the first three games to lead the hit parade.

Other top players are senior shortstop Kaiser, senior third baseman/pitcher Ben Kelleran, senior catcher Zander Gosanko (the league’s co-most valuable player with Perkins last year) and sophomore first baseman James Geiger (league rookie of the year last year).

“This team has among themselves probably the loftiest goals of any team I’ve had,” Davidson said. “There’s certainly enough talent there to take them where they want to go, which is the state final four. At the end of the day, we need to put ourselves in a position come playoffs to compete with some of those better teams from around the state.”

Davidson’s players feel they’re in a good spot heading into league play.

“I think this is the most talented team that I’ve played on,” said Kelleran, adding that Perkins is “freakishly athletic.” He noted that the team plays tough and has fun each time out.

Kaiser is impressed at how the team has started off the season hitting well, unlike last year.

He added: “Our pitching and defense was great, but our lineup was a little thin in some places. This year we’ve really stepped it up a bit and everyone’s been hitting the weight room in the offseason. We’ve really been working hard and we’re real competitors this year.”

Kaiser noted that the Growls’ 9-8 win over class 3A/2A Sammamish in nine innings was a grueling contest, but well worth it in the end.

“I’d rather have that game any day rather than have it be easy,” he said.

Davidson’s squad will hit the road this weekend to Stockton, Calif., to help rebuild two Little League fields for a service project with the Good Tidings Foundation.

The Growls will learn about construction, get to handle shovels and “focus on something that’s a little bigger than wins and losses,” said Davidson, adding that the team will also play a pair of games against some bigger public schools.

 

 

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