Mike Nagamatsu named MVP

Mike Nagamatsu’s Husky baseball team named him the most valuable player last week at an awards dessert.

Other award winners included Randy Wunker with the golden glove award. Rookie of the year went to Ken May. Nagamatsu and Wunker shared the pitcher of the year award. Chris Phillips received the hustle award. Joe Rosa was named most improved.

Wunker was named to the Capital Conference first team in the outfield. Nagamatsu was named second-team pitcher. Richard Erevia was named second-team infielder.

In the “100 Club,” never missing a game or practice, were Tyler Emmert, Phillips and Nagamatsu.

“Most of the kids would have told you they had higher hopes going into the year,” Coach Dan Tow said. “So it was disappointing in terms of wins and losses.”

During the season, the team lost a couple of key players, Coach Tow said. The Huskies lost Jon Dearborn to an injury early and Brent Smith with a couple weeks left.

The team only returned three players, Wunker, Nagamatsu and Erevia, Coach Tow said. Most of the players were in their first year of varsity experience in positions they had never played by the end of the season.

“You always go in with high hopes if you’re a competitor,” Coach Tow said, and his team “probably had some high hopes.”

By mid season, the team was playing good baseball, Coach Tow said. The Huskies had a tough time with Sisters and Central, which are good teams and were still in state playoffs on Thursday.

Many of the last games, the losses, were close, Coach Tow said. Down the stretch, the Huskies were in most of their games and even had a good shot at state.

Finishing fifth in league, the Huskies played their best game against North Marion in conference playoffs, winning 2-1, before falling to Molalla in the second round.

Against North Marion, “we made big plays defensively,” Coach Tow said. “Wunker threw a great game,” and the Huskies had a huge hit out of Erevia to score.

Then they had to turn around and face Molalla. Nagamatsu had just thrown within the last couple of days and wasn’t at 100 percent.

“It’s tough to win two of those in a row,” Coach Tow said, though it has been done.

The freshmen and junior varsity both had a great year, Coach Tow said. The junior varsity was 12-9 overall and 9-3 in league and could have been 11-1 in league. The only reason the team wasn’t 11-1 was because it was shorthanded, with Coach Tow pulling players up to varsity.

Returning seven players, with the performance of the junior varsity and freshmen, Coach Tow is optimistic.

“We lost a couple pretty big keys,” Coach Tow said. “Nagi (Nagamatsu) and Wunker have thrown the lion’s share of the last two years.”

But the Huskies have several athletes who will be competing for varsity spots.

Coach Tow and Coach Lynn Ellis keep record statistics back to 1989. This year, the team set a record for being hit the most times by pitchers. Over the 2002 season, 21 Husky batters were hit by pitchers.

Earning first year letters this year were senior Ken May; juniors Carey Hintze, Joe Rosa, Brent Smith and Chris Phillips; and sophomores Donny Cliver and Tyler Emmert.

Second-year letters went to seniors Mike Nagamatsu and Randy Wunker.

Senior Richard Erevia received his third-year letter.