Tualatin looks to defend its Pacific Conference crown

by: DAN BROOD - JACK IS BACK -- Tualatin High School senior Jack McDonnell, back from an injury that kept him out of the majority of the basketball season, could be a key pitcher for the Timberwolves this season. TUALATIN — They look to be talented.

They have good leadership.

The Timberwolves also look to have plenty of potential.

And, the Tualatin High School baseball team hopes that all turns out to be a strong combination.

With all of that going for them, the Timberwolves are taking high hopes into Pacific Conference play.

“I have high expectations this season,” Tualatin coach Adam Strachan said. “We have a strong mix of senior leadership and underclassmen who are prepared to step up and lead this team to success.”

Among those leaders for the Wolves are a strong group of returnees from last year’s squad that won the Pacific Conference championship at 16-1 while going 21-6 on the season.

Included in those leaders is senior Connor Scott, who could be the ace of a deep Tualatin pitching staff. Last year, when he was a second-team all-league pick, Scott had a 0.76 earned run average in 27 innings of work.

“He is a smart pitcher and a great competitor,” Strachan said. “He knows how to attack the strike zone with four pitches and he also loves to attack the running game.”

Senior returnee Jon Fishback, who also was a second-team all-league selection last year, will anchor the Tualatin infield at shortstop.

“He has a great understanding of the game and knows where all of his teammates need to be in every situation,” Strachan said.

The Wolves boast a pair of key returnees in the outfield in senior Andrew Schlottmann and junior Cooper Brunner. Last year, Schlottmann was a unanimous first-team selection in the outfield while Brunner was an honorable mention pick.

“They will anchor our outfield and are two of the best defensive outfielders in the state,” Strachan said. “They are both special athletes and have a good chemistry in the outfield.”

At catcher, Tualatin will have junior Jake Gellos, who had a standout summer season for the Tualatin-based Suburban Door OIBA squad.

“He is a fantastic defensive catcher and really knows how to handle a pitching staff,” Strachan said.

Other returnees for the Wolves include senior first baseman Andrew Marsh, senior infielder Kyle George and junior third baseman/outfielder Brandon Shroyer.

Among the newcomers to the Tualatin varsity are senior pitcher/outfielder Jack McDonnell, who had a strong summer, senior catcher Tyler Baggenstos, senior infielder Sean Pellatz, junior second baseman Joey Fishback, junior utility player Taylor Boos, sophomore first baseman/pitcher Jacob Bennett and sophomore pitcher Karter Cook.

“The team’s strengths should be defense and overall baseball IQ,” Strachan said. “We have very good individual players at every position and, if they are able to develop positive chemistry and work together as one unit, they will be very solid.”

Tualatin also entered the season with some questions to be answered.

“The question mark for this team is who will step up as our No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers behind Connor,” Strachan said. “We have a number of guys that are fighting for those spots and they are all good options. Jack McDonnell, Cooper Brunner, Karter Cook, Jacob Bennett and Andrew Schlottmann are all good pitchers and they will have a friendly competition to see who can win those spots.”

As for the Pacific Conference season this year, Strachan sees some strong competition ahead for the Wolves as they look to defend their league crown.

“The Pacific Conference shapes up to be very good this year,” he said. “Every team has at least one pitcher capable of beating anyone in the state on any given day. I believe that McMinnville is the favorite, with Gage Gubrud being one of the best pitchers in the state with a deep staff behind him. Tigard also should be considered a favorite to win the league. They always have an abundance of talent, they are very well coached and they know how to pitch. If we play solid team ball on offense and develop good chemistry, we should compete for the title.”

Tualatin opened its Pacific Conference slate Tuesday by scoring an 8-4 victory at Century. With that win, the Wolves upped their season record to 5-4. The teams were slated to finish their two-game series on Wednesday at Tualatin.

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