Jager Bombers sweep Prairie Days Charity Mushball Tournament

Team donates to Parkinson's Foundation


The Jager Bombers, a team mostly comprised of Yelm High School football coaches, used dominant pitching and clutch hitting to take home the Prairie Days Charity Mushball Tournament championship and a $1,095 check toward a charity of their choice on Sunday, June 23.

The team won four games, highlighted by a semifinal victory over defending champions The Feds and a title-clinching win over The Guardians, which was made up of officers from the Yelm Police Department and Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders.

With the check, the Jager Bombers chose to donate to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Jacob Nolan, an assistant YHS football coach, has a special connection to the cause as his grandfather passed away from Parkinson’s.

“Whenever I pick a foundation, that’s always my first one to pick. I didn’t even know they ended up choosing that. I just threw it out there,” Nolan said. “To see that actually be the foundation that we gave the check to, it was awesome.”

Team captain Braden Castleberry-Taylor said the Jager Bombers clinched the title thanks to a strong day of practice and positive energy.

“We got the team together and made sure we all knew where the positions were. We were all a little rusty, but we tried to come together so we were prepared,” he said. “We knew one of the teams was all year-round players, so we wanted to make sure we had some type of organization. It took a lot of positive energy. There were a lot of high fives, a lot of cheering and keeping each other up the whole time.”

YHS offensive coordinator Bryan Irion overcame a tight hamstring to crank a clutch two-run home run in the semifinals against The Feds that helped his team punch its ticket to the title game. The Bombers screamed in joy in the dugout as Irion rounded the bases.

“Tensions were kind of high, and we needed a spark, so I just swung away. I felt like I was close in previous games, and I was able to get the right high pitch and take it out,” he said. “It feels good to be champs. We all came together for a good cause. We’re all competitors, and no one wanted to lose.”

Sanders, whose team took second place for the second-straight year, took to Facebook to reflect on the tournament.

“It seems like we’re destined for second place in this mushball tournament every year, but there’s no group I’d rather get it done with than these Yelm Police officers and Thurston County sheriff deputies,” he wrote.

Line Roy, the City of Yelm’s communications and recreation coordinator, took on the role of play-by-play announcer with City Administrator Todd Stancil as the analyst. Public Works Director Cody Colt bounced around as an umpire, emphatically emulating Little League umps on close plays at first and second base.

Roy said she was proud of the tournament’s growth despite having 10 teams, down from 12 last year.

“The really cool part about this year’s mushball tournament is the teams that stayed to watch the other teams. We haven’t seen that in the past and the camaraderie with the other teams,” she said.

“Thank you to our community for being such awesome supporters and for always being willing to come out and have fun.”