Cruiser baseball shows promise in early season

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The Eatonville Cruiser baseball team, under the guidance of second-year head coach Doug Fillbach, has displayed early-season resilience following a challenging 4-15 record last season and an early exit from the district playoffs.

In their season opener on Monday they overwhelmed the Foster Bulldogs with a commanding 25-2 win. Michael Stogsdill's stellar performance at the plate, going 3-4 with a double, two walks, two stolen bases, and 3 RBI, set the tone for the team. Contributions from Michael Laird, who went 3-3 with two RBI, and Payton Hanly, who contributed a triple and three RBI while going 1-3, further solidified their offensive prowess. Aaron Tozier's consistency shone as he went 2-2 with a double and four RBI, adding depth to the Cruisers' formidable lineup. On the mound, Payton Hanly and Owen Archer delivered a masterful performance, limiting the Bulldogs to just one hit while striking out an impressive 15 batters. The Cruisers' disciplined approach resulted in an extraordinary 12 walks and 17 stolen bases, underscoring their multifaceted skill set and aggressive style of play.

However, the momentum faltered during a doubleheader on Saturday, March 16, against the Montesano Bulldogs at Vessey Memorial Park in Montesano.

In the first game, despite Payton Hanly's strong start on the mound, where he cruised through the first 3 and a third innings allowing only 4 runs on three hits while striking out 11 Bulldog batters, the Cruisers succumbed to an 11-1 defeat. Despite the loss, Aaron Tozier and Michael Stogsdill provided bright spots for Eatonville, each going 1-2 at the plate and picking up the only two Cruiser hits in the game. The second game followed suit, with Payton Hanly's offensive efforts, going 2-3 at the plate with a double, supported by Brody Thirtyacre, who went 1-2 with a double and 2 RBI, falling short in a 10-3 loss.

Looking ahead, the Cruisers aim to capitalize on their strengths as they prepare for a series of home games. They will face the Black Hills Wolves on Wednesday, at 4:30 p.m., followed by a doubleheader against the Tenino Beavers on Saturday with the first game slated for noon. Despite setbacks, Coach Fillbach remains optimistic about the team's potential to rebound and make significant strides as the season progresses.


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