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La Center Wildcats Baseball Pack A Deep Roster

La Center Wildcats Baseball Pack A Deep Roster

The La Center Wildcats varsity baseball team brings its 2024 campaign depth and experience as it looks for a fourth-straight District Four 1A championship this season.

“We have everybody returning from last year’s team, except for one guy. So, we have a lot of experience at the varsity level,” head coach Hunter Weiss said.

The Wildcats return multiple 2023 1A Trico League honorees: Pitcher of the Year Austin Aseph, Player of the Year Smith Stimmel, first-teamers Caden Taylor, Justin Fuller, Houston Coyle and Wyatt Eiesland, second-teamer Branson Castleberry and honorable mentions Alex Mora and Tyler Normine.

“Having depth is always a good thing, and, you know, at the start of this year, we’re looking at our depth chart, and we have eight guys that can pitch,” Weiss said. “We have a couple of guys that are working back from injuries right now, but I mean, we still have seven guys that can throw on any given day and any of them are starter quality. And we have confidence in all of them.”

On Friday, March 15, the fielding came together for two double plays in the Wildcats’ 9-4 win over 2A Woodland High School. The Wildcats made four errors on the evening, but Weiss believes the team should not be struggling with clean baseball.

“Fielding has been one of the things that we’ve struggled at early this year, and we’ve actually gotten the opportunity to get on our field a little bit more than we have in the past, and so I don’t think that should be something that we’re struggling at,” Weiss said. “But we need to work on it a little bit more. … Branson [Castleberry] played the heck out of shortstop, and we turned a couple of double plays. That was encouraging.”

Stimmel took to the mound to throw four innings and allowed four hits, three runs with one earned and four strikeouts with no walks. Mora relieved for two innings with one hit, two strikeouts and two walks. Garrett Maunu closed the game with one hit, one run and two strikeouts in the seventh inning.

The Wildcats hosted the 4A Battle Ground Tigers on Tuesday, March 19, but results were unavailable at press time. Their first league series is against the Columbia/White Salmon Bruins.

“We have a tough league. King’s Way and Seton [Catholic] are going to be really good this year, and White Salmon and Castle Rock are not teams to look past, either,” Weiss said of the Trico League this season.

The Wildcats are slated to play the Columbia/White Salmon Bruins on the road for a double header at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, and a home game on Friday, March 29, to conclude the series.

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