Photos courtesy Katie Moeller and Sara Rath, graphic by Skip Smith:
Eatonville High School seniors Zach Smith, from left, Ryan Rogers, Collin Blake, and Jordan Lamb all contributed greatly to the Cruisers baseball team.
Photos courtesy Katie Moeller and Sara Rath, graphic by Skip Smith: Eatonville High School seniors Zach Smith, from left, Ryan Rogers, Collin Blake, and Jordan Lamb all contributed greatly to the Cruisers baseball team.

This is the second in a series of columns where I will be spotlighting the Eatonville High School spring sports seniors who have had their seasons cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A different team will be the focus each week. This is just my way of honoring these amazing student-athletes since they can’t be out there playing the sports they love, and I can’t be out their watching and reporting on them. — Skip Smith

This week the spotlight will be on the seniors from the Eatonville High School baseball team, Zach Smith, Ryan Rogers, Collin Blake and Jordan Lamb.

Zach Smith

I had the pleasure of coaching Zach when he played for the Junior Cruisers football program in fifth and sixth grades. Once he made it to high school, he quickly showed everyone what a tremendous athlete he was. Whether it was on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond, Zach excelled at every sport he played.

Zach's true love is baseball, however, and he is very good at it. During his career at Eatonville, Zach set the season record for the most hits, the most triples and the most runs scored. He also holds career records for triples and runs scored.

For all of Zach’s great accomplishments over his four years, he has received many league accolades. He was named first team all-league infielder in 2018 and 2019, second team infielder in 2017 and was named to the Associated Press All State Team in 2018. I am confident he would have been named first team all league and to the all-state team again in 2020 if the season was played. Zach was also voted the team co-MVP in both 2018 and 2019.

Coach Mike Moeller said Zach had a huge impact on the EHS program.

“Zach is extremely talented,” Moeller said. “He is one of the three or four best players I have had the opportunity to coach in my 22 years here. He will be hard to replace. He excelled in all five tools of the game and loved being on the field.

“He started all four years for me, was a freshman starter on a team of 15 seniors on our 2017 state playoff team. No one loved the game more than him, loved helping and teaching kids. He grew up around the program and will always be a special part of EHS baseball.”

Following graduation, Zach will be attending Tacoma Community College, where he received a scholarship to play baseball and continue his education.

Ryan Rogers

Moeller said the first thing that came to his mind when I mentioned Ryan is hard working.

“His improvement behind the plate as our starting catcher was incredible,” he said. “He worked hard into becoming a terrific catcher.”

That hard work helped Ryan earn South Puget Sound League honors when he received honorable mention for his work behind the plate.

Ryan played first base for Eatonville as a sophomore and won the starting catching position his junior year. Moeller said Ryan improved a lot behind the plate, and he was expecting a big year from him this year. He also was working with the younger catchers to help prepare them for after he graduated. In his two-year career as a varsity player he had 20 hits, 23 RBIs, three doubles and led the team in getting hit by pitch, with 12.

One of the memories that Moeller said he will have of Ryan is “his growth and maturation through the years.”

Besides being a great baseball player, Ryan is also a great photographer. You could see him at many basketball games this past year taking some great photos.

Ryan is also very involved in his family’s livestock farm, Rogers Herefords. Ryan and his livestock have won many awards over the years, and he was a key member of Eatonville High School’s FFA.

Collin Blake

Collin was a great pitcher for the Cruisers. I knew whenever I got to the ballpark and he was the starting pitcher, the Cruisers had a pretty darn good chance at picking up the win. I really enjoyed watching Collin baffle the opposing hitters each time he pitched.

Collin started pitching for Eatonville his sophomore year. After the 2018 season, his teammates voted him Rookie of the Year.

“Collin really enjoys playing the game, and he has a real passion to do well,” Moeller said.

In his two years at Eatonville, Collin pitched 61 innings, struck out 59 batters and was 2-7 with a 3.21 ERA, Moeller said. He also played some second base and outfield for his team.

“He loved to pitch and really worked hard to improve over the years,” Moeller said. “He became a key pitcher for us and someone I had confidence in on the mound.”

Collin was poised to have a great senior season, and I was really looking forward to seeing how he fared.

Jordan Lamb

Jordan played the outfield for the Cruisers. I remember coaching Jordan in youth football, as well. Jordan was smaller in stature than all the other players, but that didn’t seem to stop him from tackling opposing players. He was a great teammate and player who always seemed to have a big smile on his face.

I really enjoyed watching Jordan roam the outfield for the Cruisers. You could see that smile of his shine bright. I was really looking forward to watching Jordan grow more as a baseball player this season.

Jordan's first varsity appearance for Eatonville was last year as a junior. He was a vital role player for the Cruisers, and while he only had 10 career varsity at bats, he was a very positive influence on the team as a whole. He worked hard, did whatever was asked and would contribute to the team's success in multiple ways, Moeller said, adding there is no finer example of a young man out there. Moeller said Jordan was always positive and just loved the game and being on the field each day.

“I wish I could clone Jordan's attitude, unselfishness and personality,” Moeller said. “He is the person every coach wants to be a part of a team. He is the ultimate teammate. He has a very infectious personality and kindness towards others.”

Coach Moeller said feels sad for the seniors.

“This is a tough time for them and for me,” Moeller said. “I hope some of the things these players learned through the game of baseball is helping them get through this time. I feel sad for the lost opportunities these players had this year but am appreciative and thankful that I have had the opportunity to have coached each one of these young men. All will be incredibly successful outside the game of baseball in the future.”

In closing, I just want to say thanks to these three incredible players for their hard work in the classroom and the courts/fields of Eatonville. Whether they know it or not, they have brought a lot of joy to not only me but to the many residents of Eatonville who came out every afternoon and evening to watch them play. Good luck in the next chapter of your lives!