Tornados Baseball Drops First Two, Bounces Back Against Rainier

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 3/22/22

New Yelm High School baseball coach Zach Miller looks to turn the ship around for the Tornados, following a 1-11 season last year.

In the season opener for the Tornados on Tuesday, March 15, the …

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Tornados Baseball Drops First Two, Bounces Back Against Rainier

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New Yelm High School baseball coach Zach Miller looks to turn the ship around for the Tornados, following a 1-11 season last year.

In the season opener for the Tornados on Tuesday, March 15, the team hosted South Sound Conference rivals Timberline in the first game on the new baseball turf at Yelm High School.

Prior to the game, a celebratory first pitch and catch took place as Miller threw the first pitch. Dr. Andrew Larson, from Yelm Family Medicine, was the catcher. 

“It was great to start our season out at home in front of our fans on our new field. A huge thank you is due to our district and administration for the time and effort that went in to make sure we have one of the nicest facilities in the state,” said Miller. “It is truly amazing we get to play on it daily rain or shine. We are so grateful and appreciative of the support to make it happen.”

Following the ceremony, it was officially game time. On the mound for the Tornados was sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin Richardson, with freshman Ethan Mathis pitching for the Blazers.

The Tornados were able to jump ahead quickly to a 3-2 lead in the first, but Timberline’s offense could not be contained after the inning. Timberline went on to score seven runs over the next five innings, which was more than enough for the victory.

The win for the Blazers wouldn’t come without a fighting effort from the Tornados, who tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning. But ultimately, the Blazers wound up with the win, 9-5.

For the Tornados, senior Kollin Gifford and junior Kolby Henry each went 1 for 2 on the day and combined for three RBIs, while senior Dawson Schnetz went 2 for 4 on the day, including a double.

“We fought in our first game against Timberline, but couldn’t get the big hit late in the game to overcome a four run deficit,” said Miller. “I was proud of how we played after practicing for two weeks straight in some rainy elements.”

Then on Wednesday, March 16 at the RAC in Lacey, Yelm had an opportunity to learn from the loss, and put that to use to challenge the Blazers again.



On the mound for the Tornados was senior Kyle Olmsted, who was facing off against Timberline sophomore, Marcus Olson.

The Tornados allowed an offensive outburst from the Blazers. Timberline tallied 13 hits, and scored a total of 18 runs. Their defense was on point throughout the game too, having zero errors.

In the blowout loss, Gifford went 1 for 3 with another two RBI day, while junior Aden Schaler went 2 for 2 with a double.

“Our second game proved to be a bit tougher, and we didn’t help our cause on the mound where we had nine walks, two (hit-by-pitches) coupled with three errors on defense,” said Miller. “Credit to Timberline, when we did throw strikes they hit it and made us pay for it.”

In their last matchup of the week, it was Richardson on the mound again for a matchup with Rainier High School.

It seemed as things were finally beginning to click for Yelm offensively, as they erupted for 10 runs, accumulating eight hits along the way.

In a shutout effort, Richardson received the win for Yelm. The Tornados did not allow a single run in their contest with Rainier.

Schaler was the most active on the bases for Yelm, as he ended up stealing five times. He also went 1 for 3 at the plate during the game. Freshman Barrett Schnetz went 1 for 2 on the day, with two RBIs and a double during the outing. Gifford continued his strong week as well, going 1 for 3 with a double, and two more RBIs. 

“Our third game was another home game on what turned out to be a sunny Saturday. We came out aggressive at the plate and on the base paths,” said Miller. “It was good to see our guys bounce back at practice the Thursday and Friday before after suffering two losses to open up the season. Always nice to get the first win under our belt and we hope to keep the momentum heading into this week against Peninsula.”

The Tornados traveled to Peninsula in a South Sound Conference Matchup on Tuesday, March 22.

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