(Since this story went to press an islander has notified the Weekly that there was a High School team that played two games in the year 1975.)
After 40 or 70 years, depending on who you talk to, high school baseball is back.
“I am more than excited… it’s like reading about yourself in a history book,” said high school baseball coach Jeremiah Johnson. “This team is ‘both feet in’ the game, they are kids that have been playing baseball together since they were six years old.”
Johnson said based on local lore the last time there was a high school baseball team may have been in 1977. According to research by Lopez Island Historical Society and Museum Director Mark Thompson-Klein the last baseball team may have existed later – around the 60s.
“It’s possible whatever teams were around were recreational – bunch of locals getting together – rather than a school team,” Thompson-Klein said.
What is known is that Duane and Eldon Weeks played in the 30s and 40s mostly at Odlin Park. They listed eight ball fields where their father and uncle played prior to 1930: Odlin Park, on the Spit, a field in the Village where the parsonage is now, top of Richardson (Paradise), near the Mud Bay schoolhouse, Flat Point, on the Clapp Ranch (where Dwight’s airstrip is now), and at Port Stanley. According to Historical Society records, Duane listed around 30 guys who played during the 1920s through the early-50s.
He said they usually played teams from Friday Harbor or Orcas (East Sound, Deer Harbor and Olga), with some games at Whidbey, La Conner, and Oak Harbor.
Going back to around 1910, the Richardson Tigers played their home games on a field at the top of Richardson Hill. “Most young men on the island played baseball in those days at one of the seven ball fields on the island,” said Thompson-Klein.
Now high schoolers are carrying on the tradition of swinging a bat. They are also helping to carry on a tradition that Duane and Eldon Weeks started of playing baseball with siblings.
There are three Hobis on the team, two Goodrichs, two Dyes and two Swansons on this year’s team.
“It’s a family team you might say,” said Johnson.
He also describes the team as having fun.
“There are moments of intense competitiveness and training, with a mixture of spontaneous laughter.They are eager to get some wins,” he said, “And are hopeful to go to the state championships.”
Stand outs so far this season include sophomore Vinny Kramer throwing about 70 miles per hour.
“For a sophomore thats incredible,” said Johnson. “Mike Hobi is putting ‘em right in there, Thomas Hobi is spot on every time and Bree Swanson, junior (our lady Lobos pitcher) has a natural curve ball pitch I can only associate with her previous softball experience.”