The Bellevue College men’s baseball team took the journey to Longview, Washington to compete for the NWAACC championship. Bellevue was ranked first in the final NWAACC Alaska Airlines Coaches’ Poll and ranked number 33 in the national poll heading into the tournament.
“We made sure that despite the polls and rankings throughout the year to try and keep grounded as best we could. We knew we were in the company of some excellent ball clubs at the tournament and it in no way would be a walk through the park to win it,” said sophomore infielder John Wall.
In the first round of the tournament, Bellevue was beaten by Pierce 10-9 in what turned out to be a wild contest. The game started at 7:35 p.m. but continued well past midnight, in large part due to a 40-minute rain delay and a spur of hits and walks.
“At the NWAACC’S the ball just didn’t want to go where we wanted it to,” freshman Max Brown explained. The team was hitting it hard but the ball just wasn’t dropping. “Our approach at the plate I thought was pretty solid but once again that’s baseball; anything can happen,” said Brown.
In the next game, Bellevue faced off against Chemeketa in a loser-out game at 4:35 p.m. on Friday. Bellevue ended up beating Chemeketa 6-3. “We fought hard throughout the whole thing and left it all out on the field,” said Wall.
In a rematch of last year’s NWAACC championship game, the Bulldogs faced Lower Columbia College and were beaten 5-2, eliminating them from the tournament.
“We all were pretty down and disappointed with the loss. It was a quiet ride back to our hotel,” said Brown. With the loss to Lower Columbia the tournament was over for the team and it was time to head home.
“It was a somber moment for all of us,” said Wall. “From the very beginning of the year we were determined to win NWAACC’S and knew it was possible if we just played to our ability, but at that moment that climb to the top was over.”
With a team so decimated by injuries the “climb to the top” ended up being too high, but Brown decided to look at the defeat in a positive light. “We were going there with a goal and unfortunately that goal did not pan out how we would have liked. At least we can say we tried our hardest and gave it all we had!” said Brown.
With five players being recognized at the annual team award voting held last week, a lot was said about the players on Bellevue College’s team. Dustin Breshears won the gold glove award and most improved, Tyler Baumgartner won the Silver Bat award for his batting average, which was .400 for the whole season. Adrian Sampson was named most valued pitcher and Colin Hering took the MVP Award back home with him.
“It shows that we have a lot of talent on this Bellevue team and that we worked extremely hard to earn those awards. It also shows how great of a coaching staff we have here at Bellevue,” said Brown.
The players need to realize that these awards are huge accomplishments and are something to be proud of.
With high hopes for next year, the team looks to start off where they ended this year. “The freshmen were studs this year and very likely to lead the team to success in the future. Much of the team’s success this year was a result of great freshmen talent,” said Wall, whose playing days for Bellevue ended with the loss to Lower Columbia. With the combination of talent and chemistry, BC baseball is confident that they will be fighting for an NWAACC championship again next season.