Varsity Vignette: Mount Si’s Summit

Timing is everything in baseball and Mount Si High (Snoqualmie, Wash.) has found a rhythm at the perfect time. Coming off a 3-A state title in 2011, the Wildcats had high expectations for 2012 with a strong pitching staff returning and an offense with potential. Mount Si got off to a strong start at 7-1 and debuted in the Baseball America Top 25 on April 10, but hit a snag and was out by the next poll after losing a couple of close games.

"We started off well," head coach Elliot Cribby said. "We played some good teams and found out who we really were. We started conference play and hit a little lull."

Since losing to Bellevue (Wash.) High on April 18, the Wildcats won seven straight games to claim a second straight conference title. While the offense has room for improvement, the pitching has come as advertised. Mount Si has three arms that Cribby refers to as 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.

"Our third best guy is Trevor Taylor and he had the lowest ERA on the team," he said. "They've put up numbers that were better than last year. It's going to be interesting."

Righthander Reece Karalus is the staff's so-called ace and is sporting a 6-1, 0.77 record with 71 strikeouts and 14 walks in 45 innings. Taylor's low ERA was passed by Karalus, but he's still sporting a 4-1, 0.93 record with 27 strikeouts and eight walks in 30 innings. Lefty Trevor Lane rounds out the group with a 5-1, 2.25 line and 67 strikeouts in 37 innings. He's allowed only 11 walks.

The Wildcats are batting .270 as a team in 20 games, but Cribby feels like the offense is starting to come around.

"It's been about execution," he said. "We've left a lot of runners on base. We've started to see some changes and we're going in a positive direction. We're getting bunts down and moving runners over. We're peaking at the right time."

Karalus is committed to attend Santa Clara in the fall while Lane and Taylor may end up at junior colleges. Taylor is set to attend Tacoma CC while Lane is still undecided. He has the option of heading to Western Nevada JC, but is also looking at Gonzaga, Washington State and Campbell.

The Wildcats also have former Mariner Jay Buhner's son, Gunnar, on the varsity squad and an interesting story developing at the junior varsity level. Two players—junior righthander Joe Boyce and senior catcher Dewald DeKlerk are originally from New Zealand and have been invited to play for their homeland's national team. Neither player was allowed to play on varsity this season because of eligibility rules, but Boyce will be on the team in 2013 and has big shoes to fill as the three main starters will graduate.

"(Boyce) has a great mind," Cribby said. "He knows how to pitch. He'll throw his offspeed in 3-2 counts. He trusts his stuff. He'll pitch 87-88 mph. I've seen 89."