SNOQUALMIE – The 2005 season has been a special one for a wonderful group of seniors on the No. 1 ranked Mount Si Wildcat baseball team. They have led themselves, and their fans, on a journey that few Wildcatsplayers of the past can say they have gone on. They won the Kingco regular season championship, a feat not seen since joining Kingco in 1997.
Team unity has been one of the fundamental keys to success in the 2005 season. Many of these seniors have been playing baseball together since they were in elementary school.
“It’s been seven years, and almost all of us left Little League early and we all joined a select team, and we’re fortunate enough to spend every waking day with each other and every summer. It’s good to know each other,” said catcher Brandon Sales.
The top ranking in the state 3A high school baseball poll is very nice indeed; it might even be the first time Mount Si baseball has been ranked in the top spot in Lem Elway’s poll (www.washington-baseballpoll.com). The prevailing attitude, however, surrounding the program regarding the rankings has been low key. Pitcher Blaine Sutton even wishes that people would stop taking so much notice.
“I actually would really like it if we were further down so we don’t have to live up to what we are,” said Sutton, jokingly.
The seniors are full of lighthearted responses, evidence of how loose and relaxed the team, and especially these seniors, are this season.
The loose, relaxed nature of the team extends beyond the field. The team, according to infielder Tyler Starkel, has team dinners together, and also congregates at various team member’s homes to have fun. For example, Starkel said, when they get together at teammate Chris Brown’s house, “we play some ping pong, pool and with bananas play poker, and some people lose a lot of bananas and get mad.” Of course, getting mad is all in good fun for these boys of spring and having fun and enjoying themselves is the main thing.
“That’s it. We’ve got our three captains here, and I’ve got to say that these guys are some of my best friends, and I think everybody respects us, and there’s no majority of who is in charge here besides Coach Mac [McGregor], but we all take it together. We’re just here to guide everybody else and we don’t beat up on anyone, but everybody is everybody’s best friend on this team. It’s a lot of fun to be able to say that about everybody,” said Sales.
Wildcat coach Gary McGregor, though, sees the success of this team in a different light.
“I’ve had people every year ask me, ‘What do you think of this year’s team,’ toward the end or at the end of the year, and we’re here for more than to just teach the kids how to throw a ball, catch a ball, hit a ball. If they’ve completed college in four [or] five years, if they’re all in a professional field of some kind and all successful in their field of endeavor, whatever they’ve chosen to go on and do after high school and college, that’s when we can decide whether this group has been successful or not,” McGregor said.