Spring preview: Oak Harbor High School baseball

Team speed will be a key component for Oak Harbor High School’s baseball team this spring, according to head coach Tyson VanDam.

VanDam said, “We have speed all over the field so we will be aggressive on the bases and covering ground on the field.”

He added, “Between Jay (Stout), Yale (Rosen) and Sam (Wolfe) in the outfield, there will not be a faster outfield in the league.”

VanDam said that for the Wildcats to be successiveful they will have to improve on the mound. He said, “Our team ERA last year was nearly 8. That can’t happen if we expect to win games, so I would say that a big part of our success this year will lie heavily on the pitching staff.”

The Wildcats return 10 lettermen: senior catcher Brad Farnum, senior third baseman Wade Burns, senior third baseman Pat Higbee, senior infielder Nate Young, senior first baseman Kian Mebane, junior outfielder-pitcher Stout, junior outfielder-pitcher Rosen, junior outfielder Wolfe, junior third baseman-pitcher Ryan Byrne and sophomore catcher Sam Glavick.

Stout, who hit .361 last year, was first-team all-Wesco; Rosen, a .333 hitter with 10 doubles, was second team; and Mebane received honorable mention.

VanDam expects newcomers junior infielder Justin Counts, junior pitcher Josh Evans, junior catcher David Tillotson, sophomore shortstop-pitcher Gabe Clark and sophomore outfielder-pitcher Peter Franssen to contribute.

Marysville-Pilchuck and Lake Stevens are the teams to beat in the Wesco North, according to VanDam.

VanDam said, “I feel that we will be much better rounded as a team this year. I will have five or six arms that I feel comfortable with on the mound, and one through nine in the order can be competitive at the plate. I feel like we are good enough to finish third or fourth in our league and make a run at districts this year.”

The Wildcats, who finished last year with a 5-15 record, start the season today, March 13, at Ballard in Seattle at noon.

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