Ben Talbot doesn’t like thieves.
As a starting catcher on Concordia (Ore.) University’s baseball team, Talbot, a 2010 Timberline High School graduate, gets offended when base stealers run on him.
“I feel like I get embarrassed,” he said.
Talbot wins the catcher-base stealer battle a lot of the time. He has made a name for himself as a strong defensive catcher for the Cavaliers, whose regular season ends this weekend with two doubleheaders against the College of Idaho.
The NAIA West Region tournament is May 1-3 at their home field, Porter Park in Portland.
Talbot leads the region with eight pickoffs and has thrown out 15 of 44 base runners (34 percent). During one stretch this spring, he threw out 42 percent.
Talbot compares throwing out base runners to pitchers striking out hitters.
“It’s a battle, I feel like,” said Talbot, a junior batting .245. “If someone steals a base, you feel offended.”
Coming out of high school, Talbot, who also excelled at golf, didn’t have many college options for baseball. Concordia was his only offer, and he jumped on it.
Working with assistant coach Jeff Bard, Talbot has improved his footwork to go with his strong arm.
Talbot won the starting catcher job as a sophomore, and he was named to the all-NAIA West first team last season after posting 22 throwouts on steal attempts.
“I’ve progressively gotten better,” Talbot said. “I got here, and (Bard) really kicked off my raw skills. ... I still feel like I have something to prove a lot of the time.”
SAINTS CLOSE TO A FIRST
Saint Martin’s, ranked No. 21 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II poll, wraps up the regular season with home doubleheaders Saturday against Northwest Nazarene and Sunday against Central Washington.
The Saints (14-6 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) are one game ahead of Central Washington (13-7) in the race for the GNAC title. Sunday’s doubleheader, starting at noon, could determine the conference champion.
Saint Martin’s, whose program began in 1992, has never won a conference softball title.
The Saints have clinched a spot in the inaugural GNAC softball tournament May 2-4 at Montana State-Billings.
SPSCC HOOPS TRYOUTS
South Puget Sound Community College is holding open tryouts for its women’s basketball team from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at the campus gym.
The Clippers signed two players — Timberline’s Becky Clayton and Napavine’s Stephanee Stedham — during the most recent signing period.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports