By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
Still looking for its first Everett win, but no less eager to return, the Seattle University baseball team will host highly-ranked Oregon in a 6 p.m. Tuesday game at Everett Memorial Stadium.
This will be the third year the Redhawks have scheduled a game in Everett, and the second year the game will actually be played — Tuesday’s weather permitting, of course. Two years ago, Seattle U was slated to face Notre Dame at Everett Memorial Stadium, but snow forced the game to be moved to Husky Ballpark at the University of Washington.
In last season’s Everett game, the Redhawks were defeated by Washington State 8-6.
Coming to Everett “is exciting for us every year,” said Donny Harrel, Seattle U’s fourth-year head baseball coach. “We work with the (Everett) AquaSox to make sure we can get a quality game up in Everett every year, and we’re looking forward to this.
“There are a lot of good baseball people (in Everett) and Oregon is a quality Northwest opponent, so that just adds to the quality of the night,” Harrel added.
The intrigue of this year’s game is a match between two schools with resurrected baseball teams. Oregon dropped its program in 1982, but restored the sport in 2009. Seattle U began fielding a team again in 2010, 30 years after canceling its program.
Ducks coach George Horton “has been very gracious after we started up our program a year later than they did,” Harrel said. “Reaching out to me and being a guy I could make a phone call to and say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing,’ and maybe to pick his brain a little bit about the nuances of starting from scratch.”
But for all the friendly feelings, the Ducks will be a fierce opponent. Oregon has been on the fast track since reviving its program, having reached the NCAA playoffs in 2010 and 2012. The Ducks, who were within one game of the College World Series last season, are 33-10 after a three-game weekend sweep of Stanford and are ranked 13th nationally, though they are likely to climb in this week’s new rankings.
“They’re a great example of what we want to be like coming back into Division I baseball,” Harrel said. “Our relationship has been tremendous, and there’s no question that we’d like to get the point where they are now.”
One player looking forward to Tuesday’s game is Seattle U pitcher Ted Hammond, a freshman who graduated last spring from Shorecrest High School. Hammond, who played at Everett Memorial Stadium many times in high school and in summer baseball, had a 3-4 record with a 5.01 ERA, and is the team leader in starts (10) and is second in innings pitched (552/3)
Though Hammond is not scheduled to pitch against Oregon, the game “will be fun,” he said. “It’ll maybe be more fun for me because it’s local, but it’s also always fun to play in a bigger ballpark. Our field (at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue) doesn’t hold as many seats as most of the places we play.”
Though the Ducks will be a tough test, “we took Oregon State into 14 innings (before losing 4-3 last Monday) and they were ranked sixth,” Hammond said. “So we can hang with anyone, and we’ve shown that throughout the year.”
The Redhawks have a disappointing 17-25 season mark, “but we’ve been in every game, at least until the seventh or eighth inning,” Hammond said. “We hear the coaches say our record should be flipped. So that’s frustrating because we know we’re better than our record shows.”