The future’s bright for Bulldog baseball

By Patrick Farricker.
As winter slowly draws to a close, we prepare once again for the upcoming baseball season at Bellevue Community College. BCC’s baseball program, which has seen 38 of its players enter into the Major League Baseball draft, is one of the most reputable in the Northwest. Under Coach Mark Yoshino, now entering his eleventh year as head coach, the Bulldogs captured the NWAACC Championship in 2007. Not only were Bellevue distinguished as the number one team in the NWAACC Coaches’ Poll at the time, but the Bulldogs also ranked 18th in the entire nation. It would come somewhat of a disappointment however, that the Bulldog’s 2008 season would end just two games shy of the playoffs. As Coach Yoshino later said, “We lost some key players early on that would have most likely given the ’08 team a whole different outlook.” So although the 2008 season came to be something of a vexation, it has in fact greatly motivated the upcoming 2009 team. Ryan Shelton, outfielder and team captain for the Bulldogs, said, “Although disappointing, the ’08 season has helped fuel our team this year which has shown big improvements in their effort at practices and in the weight room. If we stay healthy and play together, we have a great chance to be successful.” While the prospects regarding the upcoming season seem quite promising, injuries could potentially jeopardize Bellevue’s performance as it did last year. Putting injuries aside, the Bellevue team faces an even greater struggle, league placement. BCC is currently assigned to a very formidable league. “Our league is extremely difficult,” Yoshino said. “Out of the top eight in the Northwest, four are from our region or league alone, meaning half of the best teams in the entire Northwest are from our division.” While this does potentially limit BCC’s chances of reaching the playoffs, some players welcome the heightened level of difficulty all in the collective spirit of competition. In spite of the many obstacles the team face, BCC’s 2009 baseball squad has an abundance of talent and experience throughout their squad of 29 players. Twenty of them are “veterans”, or sophomores, most of which are transfer students. Among these are Dan Johansen (Columbia Basin College), catcher Brodie McCormack (Washington State), shortstop Bryan Barnes (transfer from Gonzaga) and Ryan Burnett (Midland College, TX). Together, they help make the team more experienced and acclimated, traits that are essential to a playoff-hopeful team. Despite its drawbacks and shortcomings, the 2009 baseball team has exuded both overwhelming resilience and determination. Each team member shows that they are capable of overcoming obstacles through working together as a team. Recent inspiration was provided by Tommy Lasorda, who gave a motivational speech to the team and to coach Mark Yoshino. At noon, February 28th, their season will begin playing Lower Columbia, as they fight their way to the top in hopes of reaching their ultimate goal: the NWAACC Championship.