Pillar of the community
by SHAUN SCOTT, Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 14, 2016 at 2:39PM
|Bellevue Bulldogs baseball head coach Mark Yoshino has been calling the shots from the dugout since 1999. The Bulldogs have proven themselves to be one of the top teams in the Northwest Athletic Conference over the past two decades.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Rich Dworkis
The Bellevue College men’s baseball team is the epitome of a dynasty at the junior college level on the diamond.
The Bulldogs, who captured fifth place at the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament this past May in Longview, finished the 2016 season with a sterling overall record of 36-18. The 2011 Bulldogs squad, which won the NWAC championship, finished with a team record 37 victories. Bellevue skipper Mark Yoshino, who has been the head coach of the program since 1999, said he was glad to see his team compete at the NWAC tourney after missing the playoffs in 2015.
“We were sophomore-heavy this year so we expected to have a decent year,” Yoshino said. “The fact we didn’t make the playoffs last year (2015) I think hurt us a little once we got to the championship tournament (NWAC) because we didn’t have that tournament experience with the core group from last year. Even though we had a lot of returners, they didn’t have that experience and we didn’t really play up to our expectations. I think our whole team would agree that we just played OK at the tournament in which we finished fifth overall.”
Expectations never waver for the Bulldogs.
The program exudes excellence in all facets of the game and their record reflects that philosophy. The Bulldogs won NWAC titles in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The program has not experienced a losing season in 30 years. Yoshino began his coaching career as an assistant at Bellevue in 1994 before being promoted to head coach in 1999. He is well respected in the collegiate baseball community and has helped countless players move on to the four-year collegiate baseball programs following their careers at Bellevue College.
“That is what is most important,” Yoshino said of helping his players move on to the next level.
Bellevue College 2012 alumnus Adrian Sampson made his Major League Baseball debut as a starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners against the Boston Red Sox on June 18. Sampson was scheduled to make his second start of the season against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 23. Unfortunately for Sampson, he felt discomfort in his right elbow while tossing warmup pitches before the Tigers came to bat, resulting in his removal from the game. Yoshino, who caught the late-night flight to Detroit the night before to watch Sampson on the bump, visited with Sampson before the game took place.
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