By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– South Salem’s Danny Alvarado certainly had some experience against High School athlete’s thanks to the D1 summer program and SWAT Baseball as he made the transition from Little League baseball to High School baseball this year as a freshman.
“Playing D1 was fun, being around High School Players was great. But what got me ready for this level is Playing Swat Baseball and Playing against top competition. Swat Baseball makes sure your ready for High School Baseball,” said Alvarado on the experience through SWAT and D1.
Entering his freshman season though, it was a whole different animal as Alvarado adjusted to Varsity baseball from the first day as the Saxon’s starting third-baseman and has been in the rotation for catcher with Aaron Zavala and Kaiden Doten 11 games into this season, but it’s just apart of adjusting what he’s use to in his athletic journey.
“The start of the year I started off really slow, but what can you expect freshman on Varsity. But I felt like I’ve transitioned well, I’m seeing pitches and I’m not missing very many,” said Alvarado.
His size, Alvarado looks like he’s a sophomore physically with his shear size and height and power when he makes contact with the ball as a few connections made outfielders sweat a bit when they go after it.
And though it took a few games to get into his groove, but once he did Alvarado looked as if he’s slowly carving his name into the Salem-sports scene around him.
“It just took one to find my Rhythm back to where I was in my past years. Back in 13U, 12U I was hitting home runs left and right but I think it just took one to get my swing back and I think I finally got that back,” said Alvarado.
The Freshman hit his first High School Career Home run on April 4 against West Albany, then followed that solo-home run, two RBI game with a two-home run game against McKay five days later where he drove in nine runs with one of those homers being a Grand Slam as his older brother Sean also hit a home run in the contest as well on April 9.
Most athlete’s would be lucky to get a home run or two in a season or in their High School careers, but Alvarado made sure as a freshman that his bat was as good as those in the line-up with him when he lifted his fourth home run of the season on April 13 against Forest Grove.
His four home runs this season, all coming in the last four games, leads the Saxons as his 21 RBIs leads the team in that category as well. And with the recent rain delays that have pushed back game’s like Monday’s game versus the Vikings of Forest Grove to Thursday, the trick becomes how can he keep his bat hot at the near-halfway point of the season 11 games in.
“Just keep working, like never take a day off from swinging,” said Alvarado who’s hitting .394 (13-for-34 hitting) on the year to go with his four home runs and 21 RBIs. “I know it’s tough not playing in games but hitting off a machine, hitting off a tee really even helps.”
His defense is also coming along with his bat as well at third-base as he’s adjusting to opposing hitters and the changes in the game at this level, and like his bat and his offense, he knows it’s a work in progress as well as Alvarado is slowly making is presence known in Salem and the Greater Valley Conference.