By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.–Meeting by home-plate were three old teammates to one another.
Where his black Warriors jersey, was Perrydale’s JJ Avila and in their grey SWAT Jerseys were Greyson Hanowell and Noah Ferguson.
The three were having a good laugh after playing one another and it was the first time all three were on the same diamond together after the Summer of 2016 when all three played for the Single-A Santiam Senators based in Stayton.
“It was really cool to play with them again, it was more of a awesome experience to play against them to see what it’s like and everything,” said Avila. “That always cool to see your friends on the other team and battle against them, it’s always fun to switch it up like that.”
Ferguson echos that same thing, but for Hanowell, he didn’t realize Avila was on the other team until the handshake line after the game.
“I didn’t even know until the end of the game, just playing with your friends makes it a lot more fun and a lot more relaxed, your not tensed up,” said Hanowell. “But it’s a good time.”
“It makes me want to go out there and beat them even more, go over the top and beat them and not being able to let them beat you and be able to have fun after the game,” adds Ferguson.
For Avila, who plays for the 1A Pirates entering his senior year, knows that this opportunity to play Fall ball will help him come Spring for his final ride with Perrydale as he played against kids from North Salem, South Salem and North Marion Sunday afternoon.
“I feel like it’s helping me a lot because it’s showing me a lot more than just what little schools have to offer and everything,” said Avila on the experience on playing up to the competition. “So it’s just showing me that there’s a lot more talent out there and it’s showing me that I have to work a lot harder than I normally expected.”
As for enjoying the last ride, he’s going into it with the same mindset he has the whole time:
One game at a time.
“I’m enjoying it as I did during last year and the years before, just take it one game at a time. It’s a awesome experience,” said Avila.
As for Fergunson, who played for the Saxons D1 baseball team this past summer, said that this Fall is just a continuation of that as he looks to make the jump to Varsity this upcoming season.
“It’s giving me more reps, I’m able to continue to play baseball and have that long break off before Spring ball and stayed in tuned before the season starts and be able to carry that momentum all the way through the regular season,” said Ferguson.
When Spring comes around at South, Hanowell will be joining the Saxons line-up that’s going to resemble that of a ‘Murderer’s Row’ of sorts with Sean Alvarado, Gavin Fredinburg, Aaron Zavala, Ryan Brown, Kaiden Doten to name a few; and Hanowell is taking the little nuggets of information that he learned from the summer and carrying that over to Fall ball and then into Spring ball in a few months.
“Fall ball, it’s just keeping playing, keeping playing. Just staying in, keep getting in there,” said Hanowell on how important Fall ball is going to be and has been for him preparing for the upcoming Spring.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald