By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With their last game coming on June 24 against Willamette High School, it’s been nearly two-weeks since their last game.
Now, with their big DeMarini Wood Bat Tournament coming up this weekend starting on Friday morning, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games versus West Albany and Sprague will be a good way to tune-up and prep for their hosted tournament.
Keegan Wafer points to getting back into a rhythm with their communication and their bats.
“These games will help get back into focus and communicating with each other,” said Wafer. “Like this game (versus West Albany), we didn’t really communicate well. So this game was really well-done for communciation to learn on for tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re going to get our bats going.”22
Reyes Luna adds that these two-games will help them to pick up the energy as they get ready for their tournament.
“First off, pick up the energy. I tell the guys sometimes, you get to play baseball, you don’t have to play baseball’, and sometimes I feel like we all forget but we got to remind ourselves that this game is a privilege,” said Luna. “We got to put our hearts out on the line every single time we stepped onto the field.”
The soon-to-be-senior Catcher added on to the energy comment with how cool it is for team’s to come out to Schaffer, to host something on their home-field and to show what they got to offer as a squad at home.
“It’s pretty awesome, we’re on our home field,” said Luna. “Teams come out to play on our field. Then we get to show out how we play on our field against other teams so it’s kind of cool. Get people out, get to host the Australians, that’s a cool experience too.”49
Two teams worth of Australians from the Perth Heat organization will come to Salem once again to take part of the wood bat tournament. The team consisting mostly of Australians as well as people from all over the world, do play with the wood bat throughout their travels instead of the aluminum bats that baseball players in the States use.
And it’s a fun experience having them around as both sides learn about each other’s cultures.
“Just having the Australians at our house, we’ve had them stay at our house a couple of times and it’s a great experience,” said Jake Mason on having them. “They’re like, ‘hey, here’s my American accent’, they think all we talk about is pizza’s and cheeseburgers”
“Well you get to connect from both sides of the world,” adds Luna. “They’re from Australia and we’re from here, so you get to hear some cool things. Make a lot of fun memories that’ll last a lifetime, so that’s always good.”
As for memories of the tournament, Wafer, who’s entering his second Wood Bat Tourney, admits that setting up the field was something special to him.
“It’s probably setting up the field,” said Wafer. “It’s going to sound weird but I like setting up the field because, I don’t know, after two more years, I won’t be able to do it very much and it gets me attach to it. I love this field.”
For Luna, entering his third, it’s hitting a double off a Australian pitcher who was throwing 90 miles-per-hour.
“Favorite memory, oh let me think…Oh I hit a double off a Australian once,” laughed Luna. “He was throwing like 90. It was pretty awesome.”
Games are at 8am, 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm for the duration of the tournament between Friday and Sunday.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald