By Jeremy McDonald
CORVALLIS, Ore.– Walking back to the dugout at Goss Stadium and taking his helmet off following his last at-bat of the game with a partially dyed hair style was soon-to-be-South Salem freshman Danny Alvarado.
In that same dugout getting ready to come out for his last inning on the bump with his long-hair flowing out of his hat like Tim Lincecum, was his brother Sean and his father Alex, a coach on the staff on their Champion Baseball Summer ball team floating around the dugout-area.
This summer, the Summer of 2017, is the second summer that Sean and Danny have played together, having played together last summer as well…and yeah the excitement is there to be playing with another again; but the ability to improve together on the same team is just as great.
With Danny making the move up to the High School level, the jump won’t be as much as a surprise for him having played against High Schoolers dating back to last summer with the North Salem D1 baseball team; but this summer’s experience against team’s that are of higher talent then that of last summer and build from that foundation this summer just before his freshman campaign.
“It’s crazy just thinking about it,” said Danny. “A lot of things could be different, but you just got to keep working, a lot of work. It’s crazy to be playing with guys at this caliber, but I think anybody can do it, you just have to work. That’s all.”
Sean, who’s been steadily becoming one of Oregon’s best as a outfielder and a pitcher coming out of the Salem-area too said that this summer has helped him further as he enters his junior season in the Blue, White and Red thanks to the level of competition that he is facing on a regular basis.
“I feel like the competition is just getting me better,” said Sean, who was named to the Honorable Mention-team as a sophomore. “We’re playing at OSU in front of the coaches, there’s teams here, they’re getting looked at also. Just that competition, that aggressiveness and the pitching ad the people wanting to win is going to help me during the season.
“Compare to last year, I feel like I’ve grown as a player from this.”
As for playing for their dad, though a assistant coach; it’s something all three, including Alex, won’t forget.
“It’s just a blessing, he could be at other places,” said Danny. “Like right now, he has opportunities to go coach in Klamath Falls, out-of-state too, he could go anywhere; but for him to stay and coach us, it’s really exciting that he wants to be around us and he wants us to be the best that we can be.”
Alex is surprised with how good his sons are and mentions how awesome it is to observe and watch Danny and Sean develop into who they are today.
“You know, I get surprised on how good the boys are,” said Alex on his sons. “I’ve coached at a high level and just watching them develop into what they have become is really fun to watch.
“Sean is a smaller guy, but Sean has one of the biggest hearts for the game, a good mind. I mean his approach to the game is tremendous and it’s really fun to watch. And with Danny, Danny has the size and he has the ability and he surprises everybody when they see him. I know everyone that looks at him and looks at his size first, it’s ‘Jesus, he’s big for 13’, but when they see him on the field they see his ability and they see how good he is, they forget that he’s a 13-year-old and treat him like a College guy. Danny’s playing 18U right now in this tournament and goes 2-for-3 with a double, it’s really fun to watch.
“But being able to be in the dugout and watch my boys is just so exciting and so fun to be around,” continues Alex. “To be around them, to see them interact with older guys, the way they interact with the coaches. I feel like they are going to be playing for a long time.”
For Alex Alvarado, he’s excited to see how his two sons will do together next season at South Salem and Sean echoed that with a look of excitement, knowing the hitting power of Danny is similar to that of Aaron Zavala and Ryan Brown.
“I feel like it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Sean. “I’m going to try as much as I can to get on base every time he comes up to get him more RBIs because I know he’s going to hit some out next year no doubt. He’ll be a dude as a freshman, everyone should be looking out for him.”
“I can’t wait until next year,” said Alex on his two boys playing together. “That feeling of…you know, it’s sad, Danny’s my youngest and watching his first-year of High School ball and only knowing he has four-years to play High School ball.
“It’s sad but at the same moment watching him and Sean on the same field in the same South uniform, it’s going to be fun to watch. Not only do I think that they’re going to have a good chance of winning the league Title, but making a good run at into State.”