Baseball: South Kitsap standout Traxel finding his way back

Baseball is a game of routine.

South Kitsap junior left-hander Kellen Traxel just recently is getting back into his regular schedule.

Similar to most pitchers, Traxel followed a familiar pattern when it came to preparation before his starts. But that changed March 9 when the University of Washington commit set up the batting cage after rain forced the Wolves inside.

“One of the bars fell and hit me in the side of the head,” Traxel said. “It wasn’t very painful.”

But then he said “things started to get fuzzy.” Traxel immediately approached a trainer and was diagnosed with a concussion.

He said he missed a week of practices. But the fallout lasted much longer than that.

“As a pitcher, when you don’t throw for a couple of days your arm starts to ache,” Traxel said. “I had to get back on track with throwing.”

That showed March 28 against Olympia at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey when Traxel was pulled after throwing 58 pitches in two innings.

“We’re kind of in preseason with him right now,” South coach Jim Fairweather said at the time.

That changed April 13 when Traxel struck out eight batters to help the Wolves to a 5-1 win against Stadium.

“I’m feelinga lot better now,” he said. “I threw a lot better against Stadium last week and got my confidence back up.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge now for Traxel and his teammates is the weather. When South’s game April 19 against Bellarmine Prep was rained out, it marked the 15th time this year that a contest has been canceled or postponed.

“You get ready to go up until game time and then it’s shutdown,” Traxel said. “Over the course of the year when you get rained out, the games get piled up all of the sudden.”

But Traxel said the clustered schedule actually could benefit the Wolves as the season winds down because of their pitching depth.

“I think we’re really coming around,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape because we have good pitching.”

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