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Baseball team finds a way back into the diamond

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    CLARK COUNTY, Washington (KPTV) — There’s no joy in Mudville and no sanctioned league season for the Clark College baseball team.

The Penguins have been frozen out for a second straight spring due to COVID-19, but ‘grit to great’ has found another way to play ball.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get. We are kind of creating our own luck this year,” Noah Guyette, Skyview H.S. alum said.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“It’s really draining. It took a toll on our team,” Union H.S. graduate Luke Staton said.

After more than five decades in the game, season five at Clark on Mark Magdaleno’s road to retirement was forced to navigate a major fork in the trail.

“We’re not Clark College right now, we are Northwest Star, but we get to put the uniform on and get to play a game that we love, and as coaches, we get to help those players develop so they can go on to the next level,” he said.

Coach ‘Mags’ isn’t one to fold ’em.

“We got handed a Wild Bill’s hand, right? Aces an 8’s, but we didn’t die. We’re still alive. We are like a Fenix, and we are just going to continue to get better, continue to make every day a great moment,” he said.

No bad days, just bad hops.

Clark College Baseball team finds away back into the diamond
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Claudia Woodcock
“This just gives us an opportunity to get seen and get looked at. Coach Mags has already gotten us about 20 games scheduled,” Guyette said.

No Northwest Athletic Conference schedule, no problem.

“Even from last year, Mags is just a straight-up person, and you have to adapt in certain situations, that’s what he’s taught us the whole time we’ve been here,” Hector Infante said. “It was just another day for us, honestly.”

The Penguins are now, NW Star an independent club looking to barnstorm any welcoming diamond they can find in this rough patch for the community college kids.

“I can’t let them outwork me because their careers are on the line and that’s the most important thing to the entire coaching staff,” Magdaleno said.

Winning starts from the top, and not a single young man on the roster chose to opt-out after Clark’s administration pulled the plug on all spring sports competitions.

“It shows a lot about our team to have 41 guys, and then the season gets canceled, and 41 guys are still on the team. No one left. It didn’t even cross anybody’s mind,” Staton said.

Trusting the process that has seen 42 of Magdaleno’s players earn that four-year scholarship elsewhere.

“Our job at this level is more than wins and losses. Our job here is to teach them how to be successful academically, athletically, to reinforce those morals and values that have been taught at home so they can go to the next level and use baseball as a vehicle to earn their degree,” he said.

Bus trips aren’t a free ride. That’s why NW Star has already raised nearly $20,000 to see an opening day this spring.

“We’re hungry to play, and we have something to prove,” Staton said.

“I don’t know if you can define it with any other words than grateful, respect and love,” Magdaleno said.

A GoFundMe was set up to provide players financial assistance to allow players the opportunity to compete as the NW Stars Penguins.

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