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Van Dam heads Oak Harbor baseball
Oak Harbor High School has a new head baseball coach for the 2009 season with Tyson Van Dam replacing Jim Waller who retired after 30 seasons in the third base coaching box.
Van Dam, a 2001 graduate of OHHS, played collegiate baseball at Edmonds Community College and also for the University of North Carolina-Pembroke.
Van Dam said he was a pitcher at both schools and improving the Wildcat pitching staff is one of his major goals.
“I’m hoping we can build up the pitching staff,” he said. “Its been one of our weak areas over the past few years.”
Last season, the Wildcats finished with a 6-10 in the WesCo North and 8-12 overall.
Right now, pitching is one of the big question marks for Oak Harbor.
“Our pitching is still up in the air,” Van Dam said. “We have quite a few guys who can throw the ball and that is one of the things we are going to have to get sorted out.”
The Wildcats have several solid players returning to the lineup in 2009, along with a number of others who played on the junior varsity team last year.
Among the varsity returnees is senior Bennett Richter, who pitches and plays the infield, senior Kurtis Weaver, senior catcher Jim Kopke and senior Kyle Magana.
Junior Pat Higbee is also returning to the lineup as is sophomore Sam Wolfe but after that, there are a lot of new faces.
Juniors Wade Burns and Nate Young are making a bid for the varsity, as are sophomores Yale Rosen, Ryan Byrne and Josh Evans.
Van Dam said freshmen Gabe Clark and Sam Glavick have been looking good in preseason practice sessions, and also have a good chance of becoming varsity players.
With 36 or 37 players out for the team, Van Dam and his staff have quite a number of players to evaluate before the final rosters are set.
Oak Harbor plays in the jamboree at 11 a.m. today in Coupeville against the Wolves and South Whidbey.