It wasn’t the ending anyone on the Camas baseball team expected as Issaquah finished the Papermakers’ season with a 5-1 win in the opening round of the 4A state tournament at Propstra Stadium in Vancouver on Saturday, May 18.
Following the heartbreaking loss, Camas’ seniors packed up their equipment and left the dugout for one final time as tears started to flow. On the green grass outside the ballpark, the entire team comforted each other, and in the middle of the emotionally charged group hug was head coach Stephen Short.
“We have a lot of empathetic guys on our team that care about each other and other people, and they have built a culture of togetherness, which is a hard thing to do, especially in this day and age,” Short said.
The Papermakers, who finished the season with an 18-6 record, won 4A Greater St. Helens League and 4A District 3/4 championships to qualify for the state tournament for the fifth time in the program’s history.
“This is one of the greatest teams in the history of Camas, and our school has a long history,” Short said.
Short said the team has created a strong foundation for the program’s future success.
Team like a second family
Hard-working senior catcher Grant Heiser has been a cornerstone for the team all season, leading the team with a .461 batting average and total hits.
Heiser, who Short said is an incredible leader, helped to comfort his hurting teammates after the loss, an act that highlighted the culture of togetherness that his coach values.
“Honestly, this really is my second family, and we just told each other how much we loved each other and that we accomplished a lot this season and proved a lot of people wrong,” Heiser said.
The Papermakers were made up largely of multi-sport athletes, many with a long history of athletic success.
Several players on the team, including senior Shane Jamison, have won state championships in football, and others, like Gideon Malychewski, have state titles in wrestling.
Heiser said they all had a goal this year of putting Camas baseball on the map.
“We are way more than just a football town,” Heiser said in an interview with the Post-Record earlier in the season.
“These kids were very, very close,” Short said. “They spent a lot of time together, and I don’t even know exactly what they all do, but I know they are good things.”
Those things include a game they spent hours playing after practice called fungo golf. Players used fungo (practice) bats to hit certain targets on the baseball field which they transformed into holes, just like golf.
“Looking back I’m going to remember the boys, the hangouts and especially those fungo golf games,” Trupp said.
Trupp’s grand slam against league powerhouse Skyview during the regular season really got the Camas train rolling.
“That’s when we realized we were to be reckoned with because we could hit and pitch,” Trupp said. “I guess someone had to light the spark, and I’m glad it could be me this year.”
A milestone season for Camas baseball
In a season filled with incredible moments from Trupp’s grand slam to winning the league championship and district tournament, Short believes the players will remember their relationships the most.
“These moments are hard to handle because you are stuck in the moment, but they will remember all the good and forget about this day,” Short said. “The future is bright for them.”
For Trupp and Heiser, their special bond will continue at the next level next season when they both play for Tacoma Community College.
However, the rest of this team will be missing, and saying goodbye after a tough state tournament loss reminded all the players just how close they have become.
“We really do love each other, and I’m going to try and keep in contact with every one of these guys,” Trupp said.