Auburn baseball looks to protect 3A league crown

Trojans fight through the cold and rain to get their season underway.

The Auburn Trojans kicked off their 2023 baseball season with a jamboree welcoming Stadium and Sumner for two three-inning games on March 8. Auburn dropped the first game of two, 7-3, but there were a lot of positives for the green and gold.

“It’s just nice to get started. Let them guys get out and see what it is like to play in a game again. … It’s a good time to get the kinks out and play baseball again,” said Trojans Head Coach Gordy Elliottt.

The Trojans are coming off of their best season in the last decade and a half. Auburn in 2022 went 20-6 and reached the second round of the state tournament, something this team wants to repeat and build on.

One thing that stuck out with last year’s team was “last year’s team played really well together. We didn’t have one guy we were always counting on. Instead each game it was somebody different who could get it done and step up for us.”

In the top of the first, Auburn starting pitcher Gabe McNichols sat the Tigers down in order and struck out one in his solo inning of work.

In the bottom of the frame, the Trojans started with a lead off walk by sophomore Alec Smetheram. Center fielder Amari Goodfellow drove in Smetherham with a single up the middle, giving Auburn the early 1-0 lead.

“We started out really well,” Elliott said.

Stadium was able to tie up the game in the top half of the second. After a three walk inning, the Tigers scored on a sac fly, evening the score going into the bottom of the second at 1-1.

In the bottom of the second, the rain started dumping on the teams, creating difficult conditions for both sides.

In the final inning of the shortened contest, Auburn couldn’t slow down the Tigers. Stadium put up six runs in the frame taking a huge lead into the bottom of the third, leading 7-1.

During the Trojans’ bottom half of the inning, they drew three walks to load the bases. With two outs in the inning, Brendan Stein came up and drove a ground ball through the left side for a base hit, scoring two more and closing the gap between the Trojans and Tigers.

But that was it for the scoring, as the next batter lined out to end the game.

Auburn’s regular season schedule started March 11 and ends April 26. For this team to repeat its success from last year, it need to play together. “We just have to get consistency. We got some guys back and we got some new guys so we just have to mesh it all together,” Elliott said.

Auburn took down Bonney Lake on March 11 by a score of 5-3, getting out to an official 1-0 start this season.

Auburn senior Jailon Goodfellow in the batter’s box in the first inning. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Auburn senior Jailon Goodfellow in the batter’s box in the first inning. Ben Ray / The Reporter