By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– Going into the Baseball Northwest, South Salem’s Ryan Brown was only expected to be a Pitcher Only; but instead, the six-foot-two incoming Saxon Junior also saw time at first-base and shortstop over in Gerogia as Brown saw some of the Nations best in the U16 World Series.
The experience, as Brown was now back in Oregon at the University of Oregon with the Northwest Futures team he plays for as well, was one of his best ever in terms of baseball fun.
“That was one of the best experiences I’ve had baseball wise,” said Brown. “Just because we get to travel, we get to play against competition like my competition in my age group and that was probably one of the funniest times I’ve had with all the teammates and other games and playing a two in the morning and just having fun.”
The weather was something else over in Gerogia as they go through the tropical season in the southeast with the humidity and the once in a while monsoonal-like weather coming from random downpours that’ll come across the area.
“So when we got there it was like 82-percent humidity, so we went and played top golf. I don’t play top golf and I can’t hit ball straight and I’m just sweating buckets and we got into the car and we’re sitting in the car and it was dumping,” described Brown. “So I was like, ‘it’s 92 and then it goes to poruing down rain and 75’.
“And then we go playing our game, it was all sticky and we see all the humidity in the air and it was foggy and it was something else. Then we’re coming back here and everyone’s dying cause it’s so hot and it’s really not that hot because it’s no humidity here.”
And the weather did play a factor into when Brown’s squad played on one of the four-five days he was out in the Atlanta-area, pushing games scheduled for that day back a few hours, and next thing Baseball Northwest knew, it was well after midnight before they took the field.
With the humidity mist around them at 12:30am, one and then two in the morning, Brown’s team battled for the win as they had three-games in that day alone as Brown crashed that night of what was to come at 3:30pm and soon after that game.
“I went from 1230(am), at 3 o’clock I went home, I ended up sleeping until 1:30 in the afternoon and then waking up and going…I got plenty of sleep,” smiled Brown. “I mean it wasn’t terrible but it was fun being able to play three games because technically we had a whole day off.”
With a team forfeitting a possible sixth-game versus Brown’s team, they flew back to the Pacific Northwest with lessons on how to improve upon.
Offensively, it’s hitting for Brown as his pitching was sound in five innings pitched with five strikeouts against the competition out there.
“Just hitting the ball a little bit better, I mean I can throw it pretty well and stuff like that but I didn’t get to really hit down there in Georgia so I just really need to focus on getting into the weight room. So I don’t even think I’m even going to throw until November, my coaches said I’ve been throwing a lot,” starts Brown on hitting.
“It was definitely fun because they were higher tiers so I mean getting them to hit ground-balls and strikeout and stuff like that, it was fun to see me go out there and compete with those guys,” Brown adds on his pitching and the confidence it builds for him for his junior season.
As for favorite memory of his trip down there, it had to involve his curveball break a bat right down the middle.
“I threw this guy a curve ball super far in front and it split his bat all the way down the middle because he hit the backside of the bat and it just split right down the middle,” describes Brown. “The umpire made them check the ball because they were afraid that it was some substance on it because my curve ball and it split it in half, ‘check the ball, check the ball’ and they took it to the dugout and threw it away so I don’t know.”
And with Oregon entering this Heat Wave of Triple-Digits that saw Eugene flirt with it Tuesday, Brown would rather take this heat over what he witnessed and played in down south.
“Definitely down there because it just makes me sweat a lot more because I get down there and my hair will be drenched, just can’t take sweat off my forearms,” said Brown on which weather was worst. “And here unless the sun is really beating on you 24/7 then it wasn’t that bad.”