COLUMN: The crack of bats goes quiet for the summer

Another season when the crack of bats dies out, very soon to be replaced by the crack of shoulder pads on the practice field.

A sign that summer is winding down. The evenings get darker earlier and the ballfields all go quiet. We’re starting preparations already for fall sports previews. The Peninsula College men’s soccer team has already played a couple of scrimmages.

What a busy summer it was baseball-wise. Three American Legion teams that all went to their various state tournaments, the Lefties who stayed in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season and all the other youth baseball teams that moved on to various state and regional tournaments.

I got more excited over the local baseball than I did over the Mariners, who are in a total rebuild mode, and my Red Sox, who are flaming out with an exasperatingly inconsistent and overpaid pitching staff.

This was Karl Myers’ last year coaching the Port Angeles kids as he is moving out of the area and he went out with a bang. Myers led the Riders to their second straight Olympic League 2A Division championship with an undefeated season in league (19-5 overall), then led many of the same kids to a Wilder Senior NW Area 1 AAA co-championship, going 21-11 overall. And that’s a 40-16 record Myers coached those kids to.

And this came after an 11-1 league record in 2018 and an 18-5 overall record. Then he took many of the same kids to a 25-6 record during the Wilder Senior season in 2018. That’s 110 games coached by Myers over the past two summers, with a record of 83-27.

What a nice program he helped build here and I hope whoever replaces him can keep it going. Wilder Junior had a great season in 2019, too, and while the Junior kids came from all over the Peninsula, they should provide a nice core to keep the Roughrider and Wilder Senior teams strong. And Forks and Sequim have some good players too that made those Wilder Junior and Olympic Crosscutter teams strong.

I said before the season began, and I meant it, that I thought the entire starting lineup for the Roughriders baseball team was going to move on to play college ball. So far, I’m being proven right, as several kids on the team are moving on to do just that. A really nice returning group of Ethan Flodstrom, Brody Merritt, Timmy Adams, Milo Whitman, Tyler Bowen and Lucas Jarnigan are returning next season to usher in a new era.

And the Lefties brought a lot of excitement this season, staying right in the thick of the postseason chase until their roster thinned out over the final seven or eight games.

Matt Christian had a season for the ages for the Lefties, leading the West Coast League in home runs with 12, despite only having 121 at-bats. I’m not even sure his home run record is official because he didn’t get enough at-bats. There’s a name I’ll definitely try to remember to see if he shows up on a Major League roster one day.

I used to love autumn when I lived in the Central Valley of California because the temperatures would finally cool off after a long, blistering summer. I really don’t think anywhere on the planet has more beautiful summers than the Olympic Peninsula. I really wish we could have this weather every day. I always miss the end of summer and those incredibly late sunsets here.

And I miss the sounds and smells of the ballfields. What’s nice about autumn is the sports remain outdoors and September stays pleasant around here usually.

So bring on the football and the soccer and toast to the end of another gorgeous Olympic summer.

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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