Sweet Resurgence for Mountain View baseball team

After graduating 12 seniors last year, Thunder back at state

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The Mountain View baseball team believes in the power of the double-yellow Starburst.

Oh sure, playing for one another got the Thunder to places that exceeded even their own expectations, that got them to the Class 3A state baseball tournament.

There was that positive vibe in the dugout every day.

Plus there was a meeting, a rededication to the game after a series of early season losses.

All of those things that they could control — the teamwork, the energy, the accountability — played a major part in the team’s turnaround this season.

But do not discount the double-yellow.

Trevor Moore was about to open his two-piece candy wrapper, just before the Thunder’s third game against Kelso in the 3A Greater St. Helens League. Kelso had won the first two meetings and was looking for a season sweep.

“If we get a double-yellow,” he told his teammates, “we’re winning this game.”

It was magic. And the Thunder went on a roll.

A win that day got it started. The team would go on to win nine in a row before losing to league-champion Evergreen. The Thunder finished second, but found enough momentum to keep it going in the bi-district tournament. Of the four 3A GSHL teams to make the postseason, only Mountain View has qualified for the state tournament.

Mountain View will take on Edmonds-Woodway at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Mount Vernon regional. If the Thunder win that one, they will play again that day for a shot at the semifinals at Safeco Field.

Oh, and the Thunder are doing this one year after graduating 12 seniors.

“It’s inspiring,” Moore said. “Knowing the underdog can come up and make an appearance at state. That’s awesome.”

It might seem odd to describe Mountain View baseball as an underdog. After all, the Thunder won the 4A GSHL last season. This is a proven program. But even this year’s players understood the challenge.

“I was called up (from JV) last year,” Jasper Rank said. “I saw how talented they were. I knew this year was going to be a rebuilding year. It definitely wasn’t expected, to go on the run that we did.”

“I didn’t expect a whole lot,” acknowledged Lucas Gregory.

But then competition kicked in.

Actually, Mountain View started OK, beating Skyview and Columbia River — two other quality teams in different classifications that are in the state playoffs, too.

“Maybe we’re not as bad as we thought we were,” Moore said.

But that was followed by losses in three of the first four league games.

“What’s going on?” Moore questioned.

A team with a bunch of new faces in starting roles was having growing pains.

“I was (ticked),” Lucas Gregory said.

Expectations or not, losing starts to grind on an athlete. So Gregory, Moore, Rank, the rest of the Thunder and their coaches had a meeting.

“We could either roll over and quit or fight and have a huge comeback,” Gregory said. “We’re definitely a different team now than we were when the season started.”

Aaron Coiteux is in his 10th season as the coach of the Thunder. This team really is different that the others, he said.

“This team, more than any other team I’ve coached, plays more for each other,” the coach said, adding that he does believe this squad has overachieved.

“That’s what has propelled us to being in the state playoffs.”

That included an emphasis of support from the dugout, all game, regardless of the score.

“We all just came together and played as a team,” Moore said.

“We had to,” Gregory added. “We don’t have the talent not to. We have talent, but we live off energy.”

No finger-pointing.

“It’s not ‘I messed up.’ It’s ‘We messed up,’ ” Moore said.

Lately, the Thunder have not been messing up too much. True, they lost the last two games at bi-district, but those were seeding games.

They delivered when it mattered. And this team of new names has brought the program to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.

Mountain View got it done on the field, in the dugout, and with a little baseball superstition, too.

It all counts.