It’s been at least five straight months of baseball for players on the Brookings club team, but the Bruins are still going strong with less than a week left in the season.
The Brookings-Harbor varsity team is coming off one of the most successful season’s in school history in which the Bruins set a new record for wins, going 26-3, while advancing to the Oregon 3A state quarterfinals and finishing as the No. 2 team in the OSAA rankings.
Although the high school season ended more than a month ago, many of the underclassmen on the team have stuck around the diamond, while being joined by junior varsity players and a handful of eighth graders who will be freshmen next year.
“We typically don’t have seniors play, just because they are going on and doing other things,” said Brookings-Harbor head coach Keith Wallin, who is also coaching the club team.
“So we pretty much have juniors through eighth graders. It is kind of a collective makeup of everybody who is in our program, and coming next spring.”
Playing on the club team isn’t mandatory, but Wallin said the Bruins have still had good participation through the summer.
“We have some kids that come most of the time, kids that come sometimes due to work schedules or other sports, and we have some kids who just can’t make it work with their schedules,” Wallin said. “We just open it up to all of our high school players and some of our eighth graders. We try to get nine and then we go play.”
Wallin said club baseball is a good opportunity to get the younger players incorporated into the program, and a little extra practice against different competition for the veterans.
“We have a lot of young guys that are learning some really cool stuff, and their energy is great,” Wallin said. “Our older guys are working on putting some things into play that they have been working on. We just want to see some more pitchers, and just get better all the way around.”
Brookings was back in action on Monday hosting Northern Humboldt for an exhibition game and came away with a 10-6 victory.
The Giants put up two runs in the top of the first, but Brookings came back in the bottom of the inning when Jacub McCollum crushed a three-run homerun to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead that they never relinquished. Brookings added two more runs before the end of the first inning, and two more in the second inning to jump out to a big 7-2 lead.
Northern Humboldt made a late push with a four-run fifth inning to pull within 7-6, but Brookings picked up a run in the bottom of the inning, and two more in the sixth inning while holding the Giants scoreless for the rest of the way.
“It was good to see us rally,” Wallin said. “We gave up two runs in the first inning there, and to come back and score five in the bottom of the first is pretty exciting. It’s neat when you can have your back against the wall that early, come back tough, and play good baseball. Defensively we were pretty strong today, and it was nice to see a couple different guys on the mound get the job done. We just kept grinding away and we were able to hang on there at the end.”
Wallin said Monday’s contest was about the 12th or 13th game for the club team. Brookings still has two games left before they will wrap up for the summer.
“Some of these guys have been working out since November. Most of them have been working out since February. It is a long season,” Wallin said. “Guys are getting tired and we know that. We are just trying to hold it together, get through another week, and then we will let them have some time off to go do other things and have some fun.”