Severe senioritis set in last week for three of the area’s most talented high school diamond dogs until a remedy came along in the form of the all-state baseball tournament, which comes to the rescue of senior players in mid-June every year in Yakima.
The tourney is designed to showcase the state’s elite high school senior baseball players and provides these upperclassmen with something to occupy their minds, besides dwelling on how feverishly they just want to snatch their sheepskin.
These senior players are selected via the feeder game system, which transpires on the weekend prior to the big Yakima show, in which they come up with four teams. Each of the squads in this foursome is given a mountain monicker, including Rainier, Baker, Adams and St. Helens.
Last year’s participants were White River’s Payden Cawley-Lamb and shortstop Connor Williams, now playing for Gonzaga University and Central Washington University, respectively. Also gracing one of the all-state rosters last year was outstanding catcher Alex Sloan of Sumner High School.
The cannon armed Sloan signed on with the University of Washington way before SHS ended its 2010 campaign.
This year’s representatives from the Plateau and the valley below are Enumclaw High’s maharaja of mash Eric Koenig, WRHS’s southpaw pitcher Trevor Lubking and Sumner High’s 6-foot, 3-inch, 260-pound Goliath, Brad Falk.
During the past four years this Spartan manchild has thrilled the SHS baseball faithful with his tape measure home runs, like the monster three-run tater he recently belted against Anacortes in the early phases of the 2011 state tournament.
Lubking and Koenig aren’t any slouches either.
Lubking is a stellar southpaw slinger who pitched a 1-0 complete game shutout against a tough Olympic High nine in the preliminary round of the 2A state tournament. Lubking also managed to coax in the game-winning RBI across the plate.
The kid is money. I’m not the only one who thinks so either. He recently put pen to paper and it wasn’t to write a romantic poem to his sweetheart. The lefty ace inked a pact with Pacific Lutheran University to bring it from the mound for four years.
The Lutes were wise to sign Lubking. Left-handed twirlers like this lad don’t grow on trees. Who couldn’t use a weapon like Lubking in their arsenal?
Reeling in Lubking is a feather in PLU’s cap because he is going to be an invaluable asset.
Finally, we have Eric Koenig…you know, the one who played third base for Enumclaw High, not Snohomish High.
Last weekend in Yakima, our boy was joined by another Eric Koenig, who happens to hail from Snohomish and played for the Mount Adams team. Can you imagine what it would have been like if the fellas concocting these contingents had put this twosome of Eric Koenigs on the same squad?
It would been like the old Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” comedy routine, except it would have been “Who’s on third?”
Enumclaw’s unassuming Eric Koenig, he of the 3.5 grade-point average, was elected by his teammates to receive the 2011 Team MVP and Hornet Silver Slugger Award.
In his swan song as an EHS winged warrior, Koening eclipsed the school record for most homers clouted during a regular season with an even 10 dingers. Eight of those were clubbed during a six-day period, from April 18 to April 23 when the predominantly senior group of Hornets was barreling down the backstretch in its unified mission to clinch their third consecutive South Puget Sound League 3A crown.
Koenig is a blue chipper who last week made it official, committing to play for Seattle University’s baseball club.
Eric’s father said the younger Koenig wanted to stay close to home and was swayed by a promise of getting some playing time, and traveling with the team, as a freshman.
Although Eric’s dad is too humble to blow his own bugle, he surely played a major role in developing his son’s skill set, along with several other players from a Hornet swarm that nearly made it to the WIAA 3A state tournament Final Four again in 2011 – namely, two-time league MVP Michael Lucarelli and Cody Hughes, whose polished pitching and powerful hitting had a lot to do with Enumclaw’s effectiveness during the trials and tribulations of the trying 2011 year, most of which was spent with a target on its collective chest.