By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– North Salem’s Daniel Alexander this season has been putting in his time and putting in the work on his work punchcard with the Vikings baseball program with the Vikings entering their second-game with Southridge Thursday afternoon at the Schaef.
Alexander, a special needs student at North Salem High School and is the Vikings Team Manager, would practice with the team but come gameday he would be found in the dugout cheering on his teammates and would chase down foul balls and doing whatever he can to help his team out.
His teammates however, haven’t treated him any different than they would themselves, holding Alexander to the same standards as the coaching staff do to them and that they do to each other every single day of the season.
“It’s pretty cool but honestly he’s no different on this team getting an at-bat,” said Will Tsukamaki on Alexander. “But it is pretty cool.”
After Wednesday’s game against the Skyhawks, Alexander was approached by one of his coaches and was told that he was going to get an At-Bat in Thursday’s game at home in front of the home crowd.
But not any at-bat, the lead-off spot in the line-up and would be the first man up when they went to bat in the bottom of the first inning.
“I was told, ‘hey your going to get to hit tomorrow’ yesterday…I was a little bit nervous but when I got to the plate, I was nervous that the guy who was pitching was going to throw at me that’s why I swing at all of them,” said Alexander on his nerves and
As the Vikings got the final out of the first inning and everyone came in and out of the dugout in-between innings, Alexander emerged out of the dugout and walked to the batter’s box to his name being called over the sound system as he faced his first pitch with bat in hand.
He swings, barely misses. His teammates in the dugout were supporting him behind him.
“He’s always there for us, hustling around picking up balls,” said Reyes Luna. “For him to go out and hit, we had to go out and support for him like he has for us.”
Alexander swings again, no luck and swings again to no luck as the junior looks back after the game and regrets swinging at that last pitch to go down swinging.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I swung at all three balls. I think that last ball out there was a little bit too high, I thought it was little too high and I should have laid off of it a little bit,” said Alexander of his at-bat.
But, live and learn right?
And with Alexander retiring to the dugout for the remainder of the game, only appearing to chase down a foul ball or pulling up a seat next to Head Coach Chris Lee, Alexander made most of his opportunity and wasn’t afraid to swing at what he thought was his pitch to swing at.
For Lee, what Alexander has brought to the team and continued to show on a regular basis has helped North Salem’s baseball team in more ways than in the stat book as Alexander and his teammates cleaned up the field after Thursday’s game.
“He has an attitude to serve. Attitude is servitude and he’s very helpful to everybody. I think everybody appreciates that. I really think that our dugout was into his at-bat,” said Lee of Alexander. “There was a lot of people who were trying to will him to get him on base.
“It’s what he always wanted to do, he’s worked really hard. He works so hard and helps out so much that I thought it was time, good opportunity for him to do it.”
Alexander and his North Salem teammates will be hosting cross-town rival South Salem Tuesday at 5pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald