After making a run to the NWAC tournament last season, EvCC is locked and loaded with talent this season, as they gear up for another run at the NWAC trophy. EvCC made it to the playoffs last season, but fell short against the Douglas Royals who share the North Division with the Trojans.
The Trojans finished 17-7 in league play and 25-20 overall last season with seven starting freshman. They return this year making EvCC a loaded veteran squad. Head coach Levi Lacey talked about losing two vital pitching arms in Tanner Brown and Michael Wood who were sophomores that moved on to Division 1 and Division 2 colleges, however Lacey said, “we reloaded, we had guys and we still have two of our sophomores back that were in the rotation last year. We brought in a couple of talented top end arms to fill in the spots of the guys we lost last season.”
One of the sophomores back on the team is Andrew Ivelia who plays second and third base for the Trojans. Ivelia has the same goal as coach Lacey, which seems to be the attitude of the entire Trojan team. That goal, “expect(ing) that we win our league, and move to the NWAC tournament, and our goal is to win the ring overall. We do that one game at a time though and keep our eyes set on the goal, which is to win it all,” said Ivelia.
After talking to many EvCC players, it’s easy to get the impression that the returning players on this team are focused and that the team is loaded with talent. There are multiple players on the team from Division 1 schools, and even have a player in Jake Nelson who was the starting quarterback for Central Washington University. Nelson was drafted by the Red Sox in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB draft right out of high school, Nelson did not sign the deal and tried giving quarterback a shot.
Coach Lacey said his team spent the last 30 weeks in intense weight training making them a more stronger and physical ball club. Ivelia also talked about that being an area in which he improved from last season to this season, saying that the ball is traveling much further for him. Lacey talked about the competition in the loaded north division, “Edmonds and Bellevue is our toughest competition, they are the usual suspects and we look to compete hard with them.”
Alex Gray is an additional returning sophomore pitcher who is experienced and ready for the season. Gray said that he has learned a lot over the summer, and that he is very excited along with rest of the team. “We are going to get after it this year and raise the NWAC trophy. That’s the only goal that we have in mind, which is to win the NWAC championship,” he said. Gray also said he was roughed up a couple of times last year and that he wants to improve his consistency so that doesn’t happen this season. One team Gray has his eye on is Edmonds, because that was his worst outing of the year last season and he would love to get revenge on them.
According to coach Lacey, just making the championships wasn’t good enough for him and his team. He said, “we have a good core group, our expectations are higher than last year, we made it but we didn’t win it. So the plan is to win it this year.”