The New Kids in Town

Woodland Hills has a new collegiate team it can call its own. The Los Angeles Thrashers will play their home games at Pierce College all summer long as one of the six members in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League.

The team is composed mostly of players who call Southern California home, but hail from colleges as far as Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Kevin Rowley made the trip for the summer season from West Virginia. He was forced to make rooming accommodations on the fly, but landed safely with a couple who welcomed him to the area.

“I had to get on the internet and find somewhere to stay,” said Rowley. “I’m living with a nice Mexican couple who don’t really speak too much English, so it’s a little bit of a language barrier, but it’s working out well.”

Other players like Erik Scott, who attended Santa Monica High before heading to New Mexico Highlands for his collegiate career, are thrilled to be home.

“I’m very excited to be back in the L.A. area, there’s no place like home,” said Scott.

Likewise, Robert Dye, the father of player Christian Dye, who played for Newman University in Kansas, is elated to have his son back for the summer.

“I’ve watched him play every game since Little League and this past year was the first time I couldn’t watch him,” said Dye.

The team also includes Garrett Trevino and Ethan Mack, two members of the Cal Baptist NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) championship team from this past season.

“It was a great experience just to have the opportunity to play against teams from all over the country,” said Garrett Trevino.

Trevino and Mack have been playing together since they were in Little League.

Mack also has dual citizenship, which allowed him the chance to play for the Great Britain national team two years ago in Germany.

The Thrashers are coming off a heartbreaking finish last season when they missed the SCCBL playoffs by just one game.

“This year, I want to be playing in that game,” said first-year general manager Larry Reynolds.

Reynolds and the Thrashers are ready to take the next step.

“Each year we’ve tried to ramp up our roster and our competition level,” said Reynolds. “There are guys who I thought wouldn’t be interested, who said yes. For example, Lucas Whitehill from Brown University, Blake Sack (Sonoma State/Agoura) and we have another kid who attends here at Pierce, David Carver, and I hope he’s going to be just like his last name says: He can carve them up.”

Another player who should be key to the Thrashers success is Sam Gerald, a University of San Francisco corner infielder. Gerald will return from a ruptured UCL ligament in his thumb in July.

“I’m very anxious to get some at-bats and playing time,” said Gerald, who played at Agoura High. “It’s been a while, so I’m just looking to get some exposure and experience.”

Opening day at Pierce College for the Thrashers was many months in the making.

“The most challenging thing (as the general manager) was actually finding a field,” said Reynolds. Since October I’ve been trying to find a home and we’re fortunate enough that Pierce agreed.”

The Thrashers may need a few games to gel together as a team since they only had time for one full squad practice at their new home in Woodland Hills before the season started. The players aren’t worried.

“It’s going to be a new experience,” said West Texas A&M bound Matt Redfearn. “I’ve never really done anything like that before, but we have a great group of guys and we’ll figure it out together.”

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