By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Coach, The Country Boy and The Goofy Smart Guy all left the field of play on top.
The Coach, Jared Lund, The Country Boy in Joe Dixon and The Goofiness but the Genius that is Hunter Sullivan all started in the outfield and all three led off the line-up when it was time to hit.
Sullivan the first man up, the future Willamette University Bearcat flew out to start the game, but answered back with a RBI hit in his next At-Bat as he wraps his 12th sporting season in a North Salem Uniform; four in football, four in basketball, two in Track and two in baseball.
And this opportunity to wear the Viking Logo has been a opportunity that’s been something else said Sullivan.
“It’s been a blessed opportunity, I didn’t take a off-season, the only off-season I got was in the summer, and I was able to wear a Viking Jersey all year around and being able to walk the halls as an athlete, the whole year and it’s a blessed opportunity,” starts Sullivan. “It didn’t really hit me until last night, I was thinking, ‘wow this is my Senior Night. This is the last time I’ll ever wear a jersey that has the North Salem Viking Logo on it’.
“It was a little slap in the face because I started working out with the basketball and baseball and football teams until the seventh-grade. So I’ve been working for North Salem for six years and today’s the final day I’ll ever get to wear the jersey and number 11 (again). It hit hard, it hit hard but it’s been an opportunity not very many people get to have and I don’t know how many people get to say and it’s really cool and I don’t regret anything I’ve ever made.”
Lund was up next and the Coach was smart in his approach as he got on base with a walk his first time up.
“It was totally awesome you know, I’m definitely going to remember this for the rest of my life,” he said. “Being out here representing the uniform is probably one of the most honorable things I’ve done.”
The Coach made a few appearances over the Summertime as a ‘coach’ of sorts by lining up along the first-baseline whenever the needed some help to fill a quick void whenever he was not playing on the field.
“I definitely loved it, I’m always trying to help out whenever I can and coaching and I totally like being out there in my coaches stance,” he said with a smile.
As for coaching as a profession? Maybe one day Lund said.
“Maybe, I like to, it sounds like something I’ll like to do,” laughed Lund.
After Lund’s walk, Dixon came up and got the first hit of the game as the Vikings of North Salem scored six runs in the bottom of the first versus Benson as they Viks scored 16 runs in three innings in the 16-0 win Wednesday to close out their High School Careers at the Schaf on top with a ‘W’.
Dixon and Sullivan have been playing some sort of athletic sport together since the second grade and Dixon couldn’t see anyone else he would’ve gone out with a ‘W’ with.
“Me and Hunter Sullivan been playing sports together since we were in the second grade,” said the Country Boy in Dixon. “And he’s always been on my team and he’s really the one I wanted to go out with, so it was good that we ended it together.”
Though he warmed up as a pitcher, Dixon’s mammoth arm didn’t see action, but the seniors got a ovation when Head Coach Chris Lee sent in their back-ups in the fourth inning with the North Crowd cheering them as they came back to the dugout.
“It was awesome. It was just like basketball, we got pulled off in the fourth quarter,” said Sullivan. “It felt good, you got butterflies in your stomach, goosebumps on your arms and you can’t help…I did baseball for two year and did track for two years in the spring so I didn’t have as much time put in this program as a lot of people out here already have but they took me in as a family when I came back and wanted to play. ”
“It was a awesome moment.”
Sitting in the dugout, watching Zach Goodwin putting the finishing touches of the shutout win, the future awaits for the Big 3 now their prep careers are over.
Dixon, uncertain about college, will be working in the meantime while trying to live the ball-dream one last time.
“College, I’m not 100-percent sure about yet. So I know I’m going to have a job throughout the summer and hopefully I’ll make it with the Withnell Legion ball team here in Salem,” said Dixon.
Sullivan, it’s to Willamette University and the bubble that the University is in down in downtown Salem majoring in Marketing with the aspirations to be a lawyer while his NCAA Division-III playing days are over with the WU Football team.
“It’s a dream coming true,” said Sullivan on going to Willamette. “Ever since I was in the seventh-grade is when I decided football was my thing and I was going to play as a College Quarterback and I drop of it every single day and it’s a reality now.
“I chose Willamette because the law program and I’m majoring in Marketing and then go to their law school because I’m going to be a Business Lawyer. That’s the career I want to get into.
For the coach, it’s to the University of Northwestern Ohio where he’ll major in High Performance Motorsports.
Wait, what? High Performance Motorsports?
“It’s basically working on fast cars. Formula 1, NASCAR, NHRA, NRCA, things like that,” describe Lund of the major.
Ah ok, that makes sense now haha. With the evolution of making cars faster and more durable during races yet safer, got to have people like Lund out there!
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald