By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– A game against a Top baseball team in Saint Mary’s of Medford was surely a good test for this young team entering their playoff opener versus Glide Wednesday afternoon on the road.
But with how young this team is, Head Coach Steve Reed knows how benifical a game like this was for a team that has six freshman that saw some form of significant action thus for in 2017.
“The St. Mary’s game set us up because it showed our players what they need to play up to, they’ll have to play at a different level, and they needed to see that,” ‘They needed to understand what playoff baseball is going to be about before you get to that playoff game. If you wait until the playoff to find out what level you need to be at, it’s too late.
So the fact that we got those two-games in has put it in, especially our freshman’s mind, but all of our minds, ‘ok we need to ramp it up’ so practice is going to be ramp’d up, our mentality has to be ramp’d up, our pace of play has to be ramp’d up, our approach on the mound has to be stepped up.”
All of that, that playoff approach, mixed in with their athletic ability that each of them possessed, is what they’ll need to be successful in the post-season said Reed.
As for those senior leaders in Zach Aldrich and Hunter BeDoya leading the way all season long is something that has helped the Crusaders pick up the same intensity that they have all season long.
“Those two athletes, their super competitive, they want to be on the field , they want to get the hits,” said Reed. “They want to be the guy who’s getting the ball every single time and when other players, especially the young guys see that,then that instills that same desire in them.”
Salem Academy will look once more to their two leaders as they make their way through the bracket.
BeDoya, like a few other members on baseball team that were on the football team that were the Road Warriors as they traveled their way to the State Championship game, will carry over that menatlity of, ‘this could be it’ and go as hard as he can to help his team out.
“I knew in Football I had four quarters in the rest of my life, and so it’s that same for baseball, I’m only guaranteed seven innings, so I might as well go at it” said BeDoya. “We just got to go full at it, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we just have to go full throttle even if it’s the worst team or the best team, if we’re the favorites or the un-favorites, we just got to go at it and hope for the best.”
Aldrich points to what the seniors prior to him and BeDoya have done to help guide them to this point, that it’s more than baseball as it is to lead by example and play with another.
“My four years and Hunter’s four years it’s been a lot of seniors on the team that have showed us how to lead in playoffs and know what to expect,” said Aldrich. “We’ve got a little bit of playoff experience and that’s been good, just showing these guys to lead by example and to play as Men and that it’s more than baseball and that’s something our coaches have put into us and they’ve showed us that although we’re here to win, there’s a lot more than baseball and becoming Men.
“These next seven innings of this game, I mean I’m not saying it’s our last, we’re going with all we got and we’ll be fine.”
Reed too adds that they’re use to going elsewhere to play a game due to the weather, and this postseason won’t be any different than what they’re used to in 2017.
“That’s going to come a little bit easier in that our field wasn’t alway ready this year because of the rain, so we had a lot of games away. We had to win a lot of games away, and a lot of the big games we’ve had to win, have come on the road,” said Reed. “So for us, it’s not going to be a huge thing, but we have to embrace, we have to understand, ‘hey look we’re going to be driving two-and-a-half hours before we win this game right? We’re going to have to go to someone else”s place and we’re going to have to win.”
As for their underclassmen performing well on the road? Well, Reed is comfortable and highly confident in their abilities to perform on the road in a big game situation.
“With the underclassmen, not a lot really phases them in that way. They’re competitors,” said Reed. “They’re going to go out, they want to play and they want to have fun and you know what, it doesn’t matter if it’s here or it’s there, they’re going to go out there and compete.”
First Pitch at Glide is at 4:30pm at Glide High School, just east of Roseburg Wednesday afternoon.
GREYSON HANOWELL WINS PACWEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
As for underclassmen, it was a Frosh that took home the biggest honor in Greyson Hanowell.
Coming from a big baseball background with who his grandfather is, it wasn’t surprising that eventually Ron Caligure’s Grandson’s name would be making his name in the area and as humble as his grandfather, Hanowell was honored by the award.
“Well, it was pretty surprising honestly,” smiled Hanowell. “When I heard, Steve my coach come over and said that he nominated me and that I won, I was like, ‘Whoa’, that’s going to show a lot of people say, ‘Your talented and all that stuff’.
“But when it really comes down to all the coaches voting, it goes to show. It’s a humbling experience. So, a humbling award to get.
It’s hard to believe that Hanowell is a freshman with how he carries himself in a way of a junior in his mannerisms and his leadership traits, but recieving such an award now is a huge motivation for the frosh moving forward.
“It’s a huge motivation and to keep going and it’s refreshing the love I have for the sport in a cool kind of way,” said Hanowell.