Coming into this baseball season, the Skyview Storm knew they would be good. But they just didn’t know how good.
A lot of that had to do with the eight freshman and sophomores – players who because of the pandemic had never played a high school baseball game before – on the varsity roster.
On Saturday, the Storm showed they were undefeated good, capping a 17-0 season by winning the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League tournament title with an 8-3 win over Prairie.
“This season was surreal,” senior Cade Reitzenstein said. “I don’t think I could have asked for a better ball team. I even bonded with the underclassmen, the freshmen and sophomores that I didn’t know before this year. I knew they were coming. I worked with them in the offseason. And I just I knew we were going to have a great year. But I would never imagine us going undefeated. It’s probably the best senior year I could have had, especially with the COVID and not going to playoffs.”
The day started with another grind-it-out, low-scoring game with Mountain View in the semifinals.
After the Thunder took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, the Storm rallied for two in the bottom of the frame on singles by Seth Minor and Tyler Howard. From their, pitching from Caden Vire and Reitzenstein carried the Storm to a 2-1 win, their seventh win this season by one or two runs.
“We’ve done that all year,” Reitzenstein said. “If we’ve been behind, we’ve come back within one or two innings. That’s kind of how Skyview rolls this year apparently.”
In the championship game, Prairie took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Storm countered with four runs in the second, two on a single by Jack Santic. They would tack on four more runs in the fourth on RBI hits by Howard, Kyle Olson, Reitzenstein and Zayne Boyes.
It was an example of the team style of baseball the Storm had played all season, which the older players started cultivating early in the season, Olson said.
“My sophomore year, my junior year, we had senior leaders,” Olson said. “This year, we only had five seniors, and the younger guys had to step up. Our juniors and seniors this year took a role of leading our freshmen and sophomores to kind of bring them into the program, understanding what it’s like, not just in the games, but in the practices, the team bonding. Together as one. And that really summed up the season. We played like one team. We’re 17-0. It’s beautiful.”
The loss also ended an impressive late-season run by Prairie. The Falcons won seven in a row, including two in this tournament – knocking off the No. 2 seed Battle Ground on Wednesday, and the No. 3 seed Camas 5-3 on Saturday morning.
Jaden Trombello had a two-run single in the sixth inning to tie the game at 3-3 and later scored on a passed ball to give the Falcons the lead. Brady Trombello threw four scoreless innings to make the lead stand up.
But Prairie’s pitching struggled to stop the Storm, who were left to wonder what they might have been able to do in a state tournament if there had been one this season.
“I think the whole team wishes we had a state tournament,” Olson said. “Obviously we had a good squad this year. There are some good teams up north, and in this league as well. It would have been a fun time. I wished it had happened, but all we can do is win every game this season.”
And that’s exactly what the Storm did.