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Former Enumclaw High standout Andrew Olson shines for the Bells | Baseball
Being a professional athlete is a dream shared by most young athletes, but few make it past high school competition.
Andrew Olson, a product of Enumclaw High School, has taken two giant leaps beyond the prep ranks, first in college and now with the Bellingham Bells semi-pro baseball team.
Olson fell in love with the game when he was in T-ball.
“I have always been big into sports but baseball, well, there is something different about it,” Olson said. “I just have to thank God for giving me the talent and for my parents for sticking with me.”
He relates a story often told by his parents, how he could throw a ball pretty hard before he was 2 years old.
Those early skills outpaced those of other young players, allowing Olson to excel at Enumclaw High. He was a three-year varsity starter for the Hornets and garnered all-league honors following each season. He made the all-league first team as a senior, when he was the team MVP, the same season he tossed a no-hitter and landed a spot on the all-state roster.
His stellar prep career landed Olson a position on the Tacoma Community College roster. He pitched two seasons for the Titans, receiving second team all-league accolades in 2010.
From TCC, Olson had choices when it came to continuing his career. Despite offers from larger programs, he headed to Seattle University.
“I loved the fact that it is a new program and I wanted to be able to help build the program up to what it was many years ago,” Olson said. “My teammates have the same passion to put Seattle University on the map in the baseball program.
“I got offers from the University of Washington and schools from down south, but when I visited Seattle U, I knew it was the place for me and a perfect fit,” he said.
Seattle University boasts an interesting hardball history. Baseball was played at the Division I level until 1980, when it dropped to NAIA competition. The sport was abandoned in 1986, only to be reborn in the fall of 2007. It took time to get a program up and running, and the Redhawks finally took the diamond in 2010.
Now between collegiate seasons, Olson is taking the mound for the Bells, who offer up a roster packed with collegiate talent from the Pacific Northwest, California and beyond. The Bells play in the East Division of the West Coast League.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Olson boasts an earned-run average of 3.49 and has compiled a 4-3 record in eight starts. Opposing batters are hitting just .259 against the lefty.
Olson maintains a solid workout routine. He runs almost every day and lifts weights three to five days a week, depending on the time of year.
“In the fall and winter, I make sure to do my lifting and conditioning to get myself ready for the upcoming season,” Olson said. “In the spring, I just make sure I maintain my strength. In baseball, as any sport, there are always ways to stay in shape.”
Olson receives tremendous support from his family.
A instant source of inspiration is a brother, Alex, who died in December. His death has motivated Olson even more.
“Every time I go out on the mound, I know that Alex is with me and it makes me want to win the game for him,” Olson said.
His brother’s death had a long-lasting impact, as Olson changed his major from communications to psychology and aspires to become a juvenile counselor.
“After our family went through what we did, I changed my major. I just want to be able to help teens and with this degree, I will be able to help other teens who are struggling with the many issues the (teenage) age group deals with on a daily basis.”
One of Olson’s biggest supporters is his mother, Toni. Before most games, she texts him or calls him to tell him to get plenty of rest, eat well – do the whole “Mom thing,” she explains.
“I will always be there to cheer him on and encourage him,” Toni said. “He has a good head on his shoulders. He is very competitive and wants to win more than anyone else. I have much admiration for him to come back out after the loss of his brother and continue to pursue his dream. Win or lose, he knows we love and support him.”
Another of Olson’s boosters is his father, Kevin, or “Pops.” Kevin’s role is to be the best dad he can be to all his children.
“I know that in this career or any other one he would choose, he would give it his all,” Kevin said. “My desire for him is that we will continue to support him wherever God takes him, whether it be fulfilling his dream of making it in the majors or having some connection with the sport he loves so much.”
Olson and the Bells finished second during the regular season with a record of 32-22 and, as of Sunday, were in the heat of a playoff series.
Thus far, Olson has started 10 games, notched a 5-4 record and compiled an earned-run average of 3.34
Olson had the honor of playing in the WCL’s all-star game July 24.
“I usually look at the stats, but in the end, it isn’t the stats that matter, it’s that he gave it all he had,” mother Toni said. “Andrew isn’t just a baseball player, he is much more than that.”