By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — For a team establishing a foundation, the Umpqua Riverhawks baseball program couldn’t have found better building blocks than left-hander Seth Scofield and shortstop Gavin Guerrero.
The good friends and Port Angeles High School and Wilder Baseball Club products signed letters of intent together Wednesday to play for the newest Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) baseball team.
The Riverhawks and head coach Jeremiah Robbins have been recruiting players for the past year-plus, and will begin fall ball this autumn before the re-established program takes the field in spring of 2020.
Robbins reached the NAIA championship game in all five seasons with [NAIA powerhouse] Lewis and Clark State, winning three straight national titles from 2015-17.
“I love the coaches, I loved what they had to say,” Guerrero said. “Their head coach was national coach of the year three times at Lewis and Clark State. And [assistant] coach Jake Whisler, he made feel at home during my visit.”
The bond was mutual, Robbins said.
“The big draw once we met them is their makeup as human beings,” he said.
“They came pretty highly recommended to me. They are pretty impressive as players and when we got them down here [to Roseburg, Ore.] and met them and their families it became obvious they are a perfect fit.”
Port Angeles and Wilder Senior head coach Karl Myers said Umpqua is getting some character guys in Guerrero and Scofield.
“We talk to our guys a lot about hard work and sacrifice and things like that,” Myers said. “You can be a really, really talented player and that can get you to a college program. What will keep you there is who you are as a person and that’s why we are so confident in these two guys going forward — they are just great dudes. They work hard, they don’t talk back and they are great teammates. When they get down there their future teammates and coaches will be thankful to have them.”
And Robbins agrees they are good of players as they are people.
“Absolutely, they’ll fill some big roles for us. A lefty arm like Seth’s is something coaches covet and a plus-plus middle infielder like Gavin, those are some guys that can really help us.”
Scofield thanked the Port Angeles community for its support.
“We don’t get how lucky we are to have this supportive of a community,” he said.
Guerrero also is excited about playing at a renovated Legion Field in Roseburg — where Robbins got his start as a player and a coach.
“They are getting a brand-new turf field and that was huge for me because I love playing on turf,” Guerrero said.
He’s also motivated by the academic standards Umpqua upholds for its student-athletes. Athletes must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, higher than the other NWAC schools.
“The academic standards are high and I think I need something like that,” Guerrero said of the community college. “It’s good for [transferring to a 4-year school]. I’ll have options to play at other schools.”
Myers remembered when the pair first joined the high school program.
“It’s hard to think back on them as freshman and where they were then and where they are now and it’s pretty remarkable and it speaks to who they are as kids and their families’ support,” Myers said. “It will be tough not having them around the ballpark, but they’ll be there in spirit.”