Seattle designated hitter Brady Steiger quit baseball in 2010 while playing at Washington State, but the last two years have reignited his passion for the game.
Steiger joined the Studs this summer after staying at Washington State to continue his education and to serve as the Cougars’ equipment manager. Being around baseball but not playing helped Steiger realize what he was missing.
"I took that year off and the Studs were the first team to pick me up and let me play again," Steiger said. "Coming down here in my first summer back, it’s kind of revamped the career. I’m having a blast, something I wasn’t having before. It’s really fun to be a part of this team."
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Steiger has hardly looked like a player who has been away from the game. He’s batting .304 in the NBC tournament with four walks and a pair of doubles and RBIs.
In the Studs’ 6-2 semifinal win over Hays on Friday, he was 1 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs. He reached base or drove in a run in each of his first four plate appearances.
His energetic performance in the tournament is an opposite extreme for a player who was burned out on baseball two years ago. He’s playing next spring at NAIA power Lewis and Clark State.
"I missed it," Steiger said. "It’s the one thing I’ve done my whole life. I stayed around it that year I quit, I kind of helped that team out. Coming back to all this totally helps."
Not that Cheney
People who saw "Cheney Studs" on Seattle’s uniforms perhaps thought that Seattle had connections to the town west of Wichita. But Seattle’s roots are in Washington, where in 1954 they were founded by Ben Cheney of Cheney Lumber Company in Tacoma.
The team has played its home games in Seattle and Tacoma during its 58-year run. The Studs hadn’t worn the Cheney uniforms in this year’s tournament until Friday.
Seattle had a clear advantage over Hays on defense Friday, and it wasn’t only because the Larks made the game’s only two errors. The Studs’ outfield consistently ran down balls in the gaps, as corner outfielders Caleb Brown and Julien Pollard easily covered Lawrence-Dumont Stadium’s spacious outfield.
Their presence gave Studs pitcher Miles Nagel freedom to be aggressive against Hays.
"I’m not worried about people dropping balls out there," Nagel said. "They’re going to cover most of the ground out there. As a pitcher, you have to trust your defense, that way you’re not rattled and thinking you have to strike everybody out."
Seattle 6, Hays 2
|Seattle Studs||102||100||200||—||6 10 0|
|Hays Larks||000||001||010||—||2 8 2|
W — Miles 1-1. L — Breit 1-1.
Santa Barbara 2, El Dorado 1
|El Dorado||000||010||000||—||1 3 0|
|Santa Barbara||000||101||00x||—||2 8 1|
W — McGreevy 2-0. L — Faulkner 1-1. S — Minnis (1).
Seattle 6, St. Joseph 1
|Seattle Studs||030||101||001||—||6 7 1|
|S. Joseph Mustangs||100||000||000||—||1 9 4|
W — Gavin 1-0. L — Jackson 0-1.