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Timberwolves young, but ready to go

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Tualatin has both some key returnees and talented new players

DAN BROOD - Junior Kaden Cook is one of five returnees for the Tualatin High School baseball team this season. TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School baseball team is hoping it has the right combination going into the 2017 season.

Sure, the Timberwolves might be young, with just two seniors on the roster, but they're looking to make up for it with some key returnees, strong leadership and some talented newcomers.

"I'm excited about the new talent (transfers and players moving up), along with strong leadership from returning players," Tualatin coach Justin Burch said.

Tualatin does have some key players back from last year's team that finished in fifth place in the final Three Rivers League standings at 10-7, while going 16-10 on the season.

Among those returnees are the team's two seniors, infielder/pitcher Elijah Diggins and infielder/outfielder Ryan Kamp.

"Our team leaders are our two seniors," Burch said. "Their strong work ethic and team mentality has spread to the rest of the team."

The Wolves also return sophomore shortstop Kyle Dernedde. Last year, as a freshman, Dernedde took the Three Rivers League by storm, earning first-team all-league honors as an infielder.

"I am looking for big things from Kyle Dernedde this year after a strong freshman season," Burch said.

Tualatin's other two varsity returnees are junior first baseman/pitcher Kaden Cook and junior outfielder/pitcher Chris Freese.

DAN BROOD - Elijah Diggins (right) is one of two returning seniors for the Tualatin High School baseball team this season. The Wolves are also bolstered by the addition of two transfers in junior catcher Cole Kinman and junior infielder/outfielder John Hensley. Last year, Kinman was a member of the West Linn varsity as a sophomore.

Among the other newcomers to the Tualatin varsity roster are junior outfielder/infielder/pitcher Colby Jackson, junior infielder/pitcher Ryan Webb, junior pitcher Jack Olson, junior outfielder/infielder/pitcher Danny Shell, junior pitcher Cameron Perry, junior infielder/outfielder Sean Chamberlin, junior outfielder Reed Hall, junior outfielder Tyler Lathrop, junior outfielder Nathan Platter, sophomore infielder/pitcher Jett Searle and sophomore catcher Bryce Beck.

"With so much rain, and so many new players, it's hard to know how these kids will perform in live situations, but they have been a super hard-working group," Burch said. "I'm looking forward to actually getting on a baseball field."

As for the Three Rivers League this season, Burch sees plenty of competition ahead for the Timberwolves.

"The Three Rivers League is the toughest league in the state," he said. "Every game is a battle. There are no easy weeks."

The Wolves are scheduled to open their 2017 season today (Thursday), when they play at Beaverton in a non-league game starting at 5 p.m. On Monday, Tualatin will host Southridge in a non-league game starting at 4:30 p.m. The Wolves will also be home Tuesday to play La Salle Prep in a 4:30 p.m. non-league contest. On Wednesday, Tualatin will travel to McNary for a 4:30 p.m. non-league game.