Matthew Gretler and Robby Pogue are two players the Bonney Lake High baseball team has come to rely on over the players’ careers.
But it has been more than the pair’s prowess with the bat and glove that has pushed the Panthers to perennial league contenders.
The two have become the team’s heart and soul.
“Yeah, I would say those two guys are our top guys in terms of what it means to be a Bonney Lake baseball player,” coach Mike Olson said of his two standout players.
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With Gretler, a shortstop already committed to Oregon State, and with Pogue taking up the spot next to him at third base, these two players are primed to help the Panthers claim the first 3A PCL title in the league’s inaugural season.
“I really think this team has the ability to win the league title, and then go further than we were able to last season,” said Gretler, whose brother Michael plays third base for Oregon State.
If Bonney Lake wants to advance beyond an opening-round appearance in the 3A state tournament, the Panthers are going to need a lot of heart and soul.
Probably no Panther wears their heart on their sleeve more than Gretler, a shortstop/closer by trade, and a baseball rat since birth.
“I would say he’s all heart as he’s the one firing up the team, keeping up emotionally in the game,” Pogue said. “Matt is the one that is in the dugout telling us to keep our heads up if we’re down, or to keep the pressure up and keep scoring if we’re ahead.”
Last season, Bonney Lake had many games where the score was tied or the Panthers were down — that is until Gretler stepped up to the plate.
It seemed like it was almost always a certainty that the Panthers’ top player would start a rally, and when he did, the runs came in in bunches.
“Hitting is contagious,” Gretler said. “When you get a hit and get on base, or when the guy in front of you gets on base, you want to keep the momentum going. Everyone seems to pick up on that and feeds off of it to where we were able to have several seven-run innings.”
And if there was a slim lead to hang on to, Gretler shut the door coming in to close the game.
A soul brother
When gauging Pogue, many might see a quiet player that roams Bonney Lake’s dugout and field, not barely ever raising his voice to be heard.
But then take him away from the field and Pogue is just another kid looking to have fun with his friends.
“That’s kind of who Robby is,” Gretler said. “He doesn’t say much or won’t be the one who fires up the team, but he the type of player that defines what it takes to be a Bonney Lake Panther. He works hard and puts everything into his teammates.”
Sometimes you don’t have to the most boisterous player on the team to get your point across, and that’s what Pogue does.
Pogue’s quiet demeanor makes for a major impact on the field for Bonney Lake.
“I believe that if you go out and are proving it on the field, your teammates will want to do the same thing,” Pogue said. “I don’t think it’s just me or Matt, but the team that really steps up and plays together.”
But for Bonney Lake baseball, it starts with their heart and soul of the team — Matt Gretler and Robby Pogue.