By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– The boys of North Marion didn’t skip a beat trading in their Air Jordan’s for the Easton baseball bats this week, turning and burning from basketball season straight into baseball season.
Four games in a week is grueling physically and mentally following three straight days of basketball State, but the result wasn’t all too surprising:
Four games…Four wins to close out the opening week.
“It’s been great. I knew I could just throw strikes and my defense had my back,” said Griffin Henry, who started on the bump Saturday afternoon. “We weren’t afraid to put the nose into the ball on ground-balls and we got great outfielders to track them down.”
Jesse Agnew, one of the roughly eight kids on the Huskie Varsity baseball roster who didn’t play basketball this winter, said it just came down to focus and playing as one unit when it’s game time.
“It’s just 100-percent focusing on you, 100-percent focusing on us in the field. When it comes to stretching or playing catch, just 100-percent focus and when we play as a team, we get through it,” said Agnew.
It was as if they didn’t skip a beat Saturday against Henley from their 4A State Semi-Finalist appearance from last season. Griffin Henry gave up a quick run in the top half of the first inning, but that was the lone run gave up by the North Marion defense during the first six innings.
Their offense just picked up where it left off against Astoria Friday, and though it wasn’t the 13 like they had against the Fisherman or 11 against Sweet Home on Wednesday, but their nine runs Saturday was enough to get the job done as they built a 9-1 lead in their 9-4 win over the Hornets.
It’s weird to think about to start the season, normally the offense is slow to come around because of the lack of seeing live pitching while defense is on par, and even though they’ve already posted 40 runs in four games this season the mindset is still the same of playing as one.
“We’re there for each other, we’re playing for each other and not for ourselves and really playing for the team as a whole. We’re doing things as a team and we’re all doing better this year than we’re doing last year,” said Agnew. “We got the weekend, we got Monday practice, it’s supposed to be great weather. It’s going to be great.”
Nic Iliyn and Noah Wierstra each drove in two RBIs, Agnew, Henry, Ryan Olson and Hunter Wierstra drove in one RBI each of North Marion’s eight RBIs in the game. Henry struck out five batters in five innings with twin brother Grant Henry returning to behind the dish for the first time this season.
And of course, four games doesn’t make or break a season. Certainly under long-time Head Coach Randy Brack, he won’t let the kids rest their hats on a simple 4-0 start with ballgames still in front of them for the reason that it is a long season of hard work and sacrifice and not a sprint to a certain start.
“We just got to rest through the rest of the weekend. We got practice, we got to make it sharp. We don’t have any excuses, we just got to go out there and do our thing,” said Henry.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald