The baseball season at Hudson’s Bay High School has been exciting so far this season.
Maybe a bit too exciting.
“Goodness gracious,” Bay baseball coach Greg Peavey sighed.
With a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Ridgefield on Monday, the Eagles improved to 6-0 with four of those wins coming in the Eagles’ final at-bat.
There were extra innings wins over Skyview and Hockinson. And Bay has scored the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning against Evergreen and again at Ridgefield on Monday.
“We come in and we try to close out games, but sometimes, they’re really close,” senior Elias Estrada said.
“We have to start a little sooner than that,” junior Chanz Flores added.
Peavey, the former baseball standout at Bay who went on to pitch several season in the minor leagues, is back for his third season at Bay’s head coach.
This season’s start is similar to last season, when the Eagles opened 5-0, including a clutch win over eventual state runner-up Columbia River.
But things took a turn as the Eagles finished 11-12 and were eliminated from the district playoffs by Ridgefield.
“This is sort of how it’s been for us every season,” Peavey said. “It’s never been easy. It’s always been kind of a grind. … I think we’ve grown up a bit this year.
“We went through so much adversity last year that they’re kind of like ‘Hey! This is baseball. You’re going to get punched sometimes, but it’s how you respond to it.’ Kids are learning to live in the present better this year than they have in years past, and they’ve really stepped up to the challenge. And I’m proud of them for that.”
That was on display Monday after Ridgefield jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, the Eagles battled back to tie the game at 2-2.
In the top of the seventh with two on and two outs, Estrada delivered the go-ahead single to put Bay up 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Flores was one strike away from a complete-game win on the mound. But an infield hit and error put runners on second and third for the Spudders.
Estrada then was called in from his shortstop position to get the final out from the mound. He struck out the lone batter he faced to earn the win.
“He came in and just dealt there, got the strikeout,” Flores said.
And that displayed the biggest change in the Eagles this season, Peavey said.
“From last year, the biggest difference you’re seeing them support each other, to be able to get away from themselves and focus on what the team needs,” Peavey said. “And they’re picking each other up in ways that I haven’t seen in the past. That’s been really cool to see that come together.”
That comes from playing with each other for the better part of their lives.
The connection many players on the Bay team have made started on the fields of Fort Vancouver Little League across the street from Hudson’s Bay High School, and they’ve carried those relations all the way through high school.
“Overall, we’re all brothers,” Estrada said. “It’s not just a baseball team anymore. We’re family. Off the field, we’re all at each others’ houses. We’re doing stuff to team bond. There’s not that much team bonding left. We’ve hung out with each other for 10 years.”
And that has helped the Eagles produce in the clutch so far this season. That will be important in the very competitive 2A Greater St. Helens League.
“That’s what baseball is,” Peavey said. “It’s who you are when the game is really on the line. Can you really bore in there and compete? And they’ve shown so far that they are willing to do that.”
Estrada added: “We’re a gritty team. We know how to win the game when it’s close. If things aren’t going our way, we just know what to do.”