Two years ago, the Roadrunners baseball team was brought back to LBCC. Head coach Ryan Gipson knew the pressure was on.
LB was able to work together and comprise a record of 30-12 this season and make it to the NWAC championship in Longview, Washington.
The team entered the playoffs with high hopes and one goal in mind: to win it all. Unfortunately, they were eliminated after the first two games against Walla Walla and Tacoma. Although unexpected, the team still had an amazing season to be proud of.
“It was a great season and we made huge strides as a team this year compared to last,” said Catcher Jack Bauer. “Team chemistry was outstanding and we all had the same mentality
towards winning. Although, we couldn’t have gone out in a worse way at the tournament but that’s baseball for ya.”
Some outgoing players were able to leave a legacy before going on to different paths.
“I feel that this group did something that was kind of unexpected. We were a really raw, young group that individually was very talented,” said outfielder Spencer DesPiens. “To win league the way we did was pretty special. Overall, this season was a big learning curve for all of us as we were all pretty different individuals that all had to sort of find our place where we fit together.”
Other players, such as freshman Tate Cowden, also thought it was a great season.
“As it was my first year of college baseball, I was fortunate enough to have it be with this outstanding group of guys. We all had the desire to get better and win, day in and day out,” said Cowden.
The players also believe the team can only progress moving forward.
“I think this group is going to be really tough to beat next year. They won’t lose much from their starting lineup,” said DesPiens.
Other players agree that next year’s team will be a freight train. “We have another very good recruiting class coming in next year,” said Cowden. “Therefore, my hopes are high. Making it back to Longview and winning the NWAC Championship will be very realistic for our team next year.”
Coach Gipson was a part of the 2006 NCAA World Series championship team at Oregon State. He is used to being on the winning side and brought that same mentality to LBCC when he became the head coach.
“With how abrupt the season ended I feel most for our sophomores,” said Gipson. “For our Freshman, the experience was invaluable, this freshman group will have another opportunity in Longview in 2018. Unfortunately, our sophomores won’t have that opportunity. This group should be proud of their accomplishments. I’m proud of how they approached the game and how they’ve all grown as individuals in their own way.”
Story and Photos by Quentin Jeans