Photo Credit: mtsihsbaseball.com
The Mt. Si Wildcats won the 2011 WIAA 3A State Baseball Championship in head coach Elliott Cribby’s first season. This year, the Wildcats are nationally ranked and will not be taken lightly by any team on their schedule. They’re off to a 4-1 start and open up KingCo Conference play against Bellevue on Monday. We had the chance to interview Coach Cribby via email, and here’s what he had to say about his team’s mindset this season. A full article on the team will debut early next week.
Seatown Sports: After winning the state championship last season, has it been difficult to keep your team motivated to do the same this year?
Elliott Cribby: After winning the State Championship last year a lot has changed in the Snoqualmie Valley, but the one constant factor that hasn’t is the work ethic that Mount Si Baseball thrives on. One of the hardest things to do in team sports is repeat as Champions and we are very poised to make another run at it this year. There are a few new faces to the team this year, which makes them even hungrier for another State Championship!
Read the full interview after the jump!
SS: Expectations are high for the Wildcats, as the team is nationally ranked. Is there a sense of pressure to live up to these expectations?
EC: Expectations are very high, especially for those who are returning and have post-season experience. Everyone wants to be a winner, but it takes hard work to be a successful, which the student-athletes have bought into. We talk about pressure all of the time and there really isn’t any if we are physically and mentally prepared on a daily basis. I tell the student-athletes (I call them that to help reinforce to them that is who they are and academics are very important) that it is the same game that they have played since they were five years old, with a little bit more meaning to it. We aren’t playing against the other team. We are playing against ourselves and the game of baseball itself. Whoever executes the most will win the game that day.
SS: After splitting a pair of games with Kamiakin and Kennewick, what’s the mindset heading into conference play?
EC: Kamiakin and Kennewick are two very tough ball clubs and I’m sure one if not both will find themselves in the State Tournament this year. We had a huge task at hand with our non-league schedule and knew how tough these two games would be. We needed to go out on the road and set the tempo with our style of play. We were successful on one account, but we have to be ready to play in a double header and win both in order to go back to the State Semifinals if we are fortunate to even get there. Our mindset into conference play is nothing different than from non-league. We have to go out and win the first three innings and establish our style of game on both offense and defense. If we stay with our mindset and approach we will be just fine.
SS: If possible, could you provide an update on any of your players’ commitment statuses for college?
EC: Reece Karalus: Santa Clara University; Trevor Lane: Western Nevada College; Trevor Taylor: Tacoma Community College; Daniel Besmer: Yakima Valley Community College ; Dewald Deklirk: Bellevue College; Ross Tassara: Receiving JC offers; Ryan Atkinson: Receiving JC offers