Sports: Port Townsend fastpitch on the rise

PORT TOWNSEND — Victories and interest have been in decline in recent years for the Port Townsend High School fastpitch team.

It’s the kind of up-hill battle that co-coaches Larry Metcalf and Tom Sly say the Redskins are on the verge of overtaking this season.

“Things are starting to build up,” Metcalf said of the state of the Port Townsend program.

Co-head coach Tom Sly has been there before as a high school and traveling team fastpitch coach in Northern California.

Sly’s Northern California teams had the same struggle the Redskins have before them — trying to compete with the bigger, more established powers.

“We were going to LA and playing in tournaments,” Sly said.

“We weren’t winning a lot, but we were getting exposed to a lot of good teams.

“It’s the same thing in Port Townsend.

“They can play with anybody around, they just have to get the experience and exposure.”

First off, however, they had to get some players, as well as a new field.

The latter came last season in form of a recently revamped fastpitch diamond at Blue Heron Middle School — which, unlike before, has a completely dirt infield to match the sport’s standard.

The former is still a work in progress.

Since making the state tournament in back-to-back years at the end of the ’90s, Port Townsend’s fastpitch program has been plagued by low player turnouts.

Last season, the Redskins didn’t have enough players on their roster to field a junior varsity team.

With Metcalf and Sly at the helm, the roster has shot up to 18 players.

The problem is, none of those players are seniors.

And there is a handful of players who haven’t even played fastpitch since grade school.

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