Three former Tomahawks are part of the Everett Merchants' lineup: Pitcher Jake Thomas (left) and outfielder Ty Holm (right) stand with head coach Harold Payette (center).
Summer is here and the Everett Merchants Baseball Club is in full swing. With the sun shining on the beautifully manicured baseball field at Everett Memorial Stadium, two Marysville-Pilchuck alumni started their warm-ups wearing their blue Merchant uniforms as they prepared for a double header league match up with the Kamloops Sun Devils on Sunday, July 8.
The Everett Merchants is a summer baseball team that is comprised of current collegiate and former professional players that compete in the Pacific International League (PIL), an affiliate of the National Baseball Congress (NBC).
Minutes before the start of the first game head coach Harold Payette, another Marysville alum, gathered the team of current collegiate players for a pep talk. Coach Payette has been leading the Merchants for more than thirty years and has seen countless players drafted by major league teams. Seven of his former team members play on Major League Baseball teams. He has been recognized by the NBC for his lifelong achievement with induction into the NBC Hall of Fame.
Nineteen-year-old pitcher Jake Thomas, who just finished his first season with Everett Community College with a 1.85 earned run average and 24 strikeouts and a record of 4 -1 in seven games as a starting pitcher, is now taking a different role on the Merchants.
"Being a reliever for this team is a lot different for me than being a starter. I am trying to figure out the new routine, but I feel good about it," said Thomas.
According to Merchants' assistant coach Jeff James, the southpaw should feel good about his pitching. "He has really done well so far this summer. For a younger guy playing with mostly older players, he already looks like a veteran. He has been able to get us out of some tough situations already."
When Thomas was a sophomore at Marysville-Pilchuck, he received some special attention before his try-outs from another former Tomahawk, which he says helped him make the varsity team that season.
"Nick Haughian helped me out a lot, and that was really important to me. I don't think I would have made varsity that season without him," said Thomas. Haughian was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2008 and played for the University of Washington.
The other former Tomahawk donning the Merchants uniform is a veteran to the team. Outfielder and pitcher Ty Holm is in his third season with the Merchants, returning from California after playing his junior year with Concordia University Irving. The Everett Community College transfer student has a collegiate batting average of well over .300 and has the added skill of pitching when needed. Holm struck out 71 batters in his two seasons with EvCC.
"It really doesn't get much better than this," said Holm, referring to the beautiful field and weather. "I get to come home for the summer and get a job playing baseball."
Coach James coached Holm at EvCC and has been impressed by his play for many years.
"He is a team leader. At EvCC, he really took the reins of the team and was our leadoff hitter. It's nice to have him back playing for us again."
When Holm talked about his time with the Tomahawks, it was his high school coach who first came to mind.
"Coach Koshelnik taught us how to be aggressive, prepared us for playing after high school, and made sportsmanship a priority, no matter what," said Holm of his former coach at Marysville-Pilchuck.
For Everett Merchants schedules, information and ticket prices, visit www.everettmerchantsbaseball.com