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Saints prepare for another playoff push


Mt. Hood CC opens the season by taking a series against Edmonds

by: THE POST: PARKER LEE - Barlow High graduate Jake Thran drops down a bunt during the teams opening season against Edmonds. The Mt. Hood Community College baseball team had an entire offseason to reflect upon what could have been. The Saints fell in last year’s Northwest title game to Pierce by just two runs.

Instead of dwelling on the heartbreaking defeat, Mt. Hood chose to use it as motivation.

“When we met in the fall, the sophomores couldn’t wait for this season to start,” Mt. Hood coach Bryan Donohue said. “We have a more mature group that now understands what it takes.”

The Saints’ whole focus in 2013 is doing whatever is necessary to get over the hump and win the championship. That means using the regular season to prepare for the tournament. Mt. Hood is not overly concerned about wins and losses, but it is concerned about bettering itself with each outcome.

“Everything we do is meant to prepare us for the tournament,” Donohue said. “We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the year.”

Four of the pitchers on this season’s staff, including opening-day starter Eric Huson, were part of last year’s runner-up team. The Saints have also brought in a few solid freshmen to round out the rotation.

“To win that tournament, you have to have five good starters and a good bullpen,” Donohue said. “I think we have it, more than we did last year.”

Mt. Hood brings back a good contingent of position players to join the returning pitchers. Outfielder Shea Coates hopes to build upon a solid freshman campaign when he hit .309 and led the club with 26 RBIs. Fellow outfielder Hunter Weiss hit .288 last season and was one of two players on the team to play in all 50 games.

The Saints have added some power this year in Reynolds High graduate Dakota Farmer. In last week’s season opener, Farmer hit a tying home run off a pine tree well beyond the center-field fence. Mt. Hood had just three home runs as a team last season, so it needed more pop in the lineup.

The Saints took three of four in its opening weekend series against Edmonds.

With added experience and talent, the Saints feel they are better equipped to capture the NWAACC crown. Every pitch of every practice will be working toward that end.