Mountain View baseball: Proud to be loud

Thunder hoping for a big week in order to qualify for state tournament

They have been loud all season.

The crack of the bat. The smack of the glove.

And their voices, too.

The Mountain View baseball dugout seems to be in a constant roar, players cheering their teammates through the ups, through the downs.

This week, expect it to be even louder.

The Mountain View Thunder celebrate a big moment Saturday morning during the team’s win over Yelm. Mountain View’s dugout has been a constant buzz of energy throughout the season. Players and coaches say it is one of the keys to the team’s success. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Mountain View Thunder celebrate a big moment Saturday morning during the team’s win over Yelm. Mountain View’s dugout has been a constant buzz of energy throughout the season. Players and coaches say it is one of the keys to the team’s success. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Class 3A Greater St. Helens League champions have put themselves in a tough, yet doable, position. The Thunder went 1-1 in the opening day of the 3A bi-district baseball tournament Saturday, which means the Thunder now must win two in a row in the consolation bracket in order to make it to the state tournament.

They vow that no matter what happens this week, they will be heard.

“Having great energy in the dugout is a momentum changer, for sure,” senior Grant Francis said. “That’s why we do it.”

There is a decorum to the chants, too. All shout-outs must be positive. None of them can be directed to the other team.

“Always have good energy,” senior Spencer Warner said. “Never be down in the dugout. And it’s all related to us, to help the team out.”

Mountain View senior Spencer Warner is the team’s designated hitter after a shoulder injury has limited his availability in the field. He does his part on offense and is a big support in the dugout when his teammates are on the field on defense. Photo by Mike Schultz
Mountain View senior Spencer Warner is the team’s designated hitter after a shoulder injury has limited his availability in the field. He does his part on offense and is a big support in the dugout when his teammates are on the field on defense. Photo by Mike Schultz

Warner has an interesting point of view from the dugout. Shoulder surgery last year has limited his availability this season. He is the team’s designated hitter but does not play defense.

“I know if I’m cheering, it’s what I can do the most when I’m not on the field,” he said.

That is the kind of attitude that helped the Thunder return to the top of the 3A GSHL standings. It is a team-wide philosophy that no one player is THE leader.

“They all are captains,” Mountain View coach Aaron Coiteux said. “They all have a role. They all have an identity. Everybody has a voice.”

The Thunder went 17-3 in the regular season, including 14-1 to win the GSHL.

Mountain View opened the postseason Saturday morning with a 7-4 victory over Yelm.

Senior Grant Francis is one of the Mountain View players who has been on varsity for three seasons. He is proud of his team’s accomplishment - winning the 3A GSHL title - but he and the Thunder want more. Photo by Mike Schultz
Senior Grant Francis is one of the Mountain View players who has been on varsity for three seasons. He is proud of his team’s accomplishment – winning the 3A GSHL title – but he and the Thunder want more. Photo by Mike Schultz

Andrew Selden had three hits and drove in two runs. Jasper Rank threw a complete game and also drove in two runs.

Capital got the best of the Thunder in the afternoon game, 9-1, to advance to state.

That dropped the Thunder to the consolation bracket. They will face Wilson at Foss High School at 4 p.m. Wednesday in a must-win. If they prevail, they will play another elimination game Saturday afternoon, a game that will determine another state berth.

In the victory over Yelm, the Thunder lost a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. That was nothing for them, though. They bounced right back and regained the lead in the bottom of the frame.

That has been a key all season, the coach said.

“We’re just trying our best to say, ‘Hey man, next pitch. So what that they tied the game. Get it to the next inning and do what we are supposed to do.’”

Francis said it meant the world to him to win a league title in his senior season. He echoed what his coach said.

“We just come out, do what we have to do,” Francis said. “Just … staying as a team. Never getting down on each other. Always believe in each other.”

On defense, it’s all about getting off the field, getting back in the dugout, in hopes the bats will come alive. Even in defeat, the Thunder try to stick to this plan.

Jasper Rank, a junior, threw a complete game in Saturday’s win over Yelm. He also drove in two runs from the plate. Photo by Mike Schultz
Jasper Rank, a junior, threw a complete game in Saturday’s win over Yelm. He also drove in two runs from the plate. Photo by Mike Schultz

In Saturday’s game against Capital, trailing 9-1 in the seventh inning, Selden made a diving catch in foul territory for the third out. Just another Thunder player going all-out for his teammates, even though the game was pretty much decided.

“It’s all about being there for each other,” Warner said. “We don’t have (individual) goals. We only have team goals. Do whatever is best for the team.”

“We want to be the best team in Mountain View history,” Francis said of that goal.

“Be remembered,” Warner said.

Mountain View has never won a state playoff game.

“We always dream about it, but we want to feel it in person,” Warner said.

“You want to live it,” Francis added.

The Thunder must win their next two games this season just for that opportunity.

No matter what happens this week, the Thunder promise to be loud and proud.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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