By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– Central-Grad Connor Laeng has been making the most of this time off to heal up and prepare for the possibility of a Summer baseball season this year.
It was announced Saturday evening that Laeng will be joining the Salem Salamanders this Summer in the Cascade Collegiate League, a wood-bat summer baseball league that features active players in the NWAC, NAIA and NCAA to help ball-players improve.
Entering his freshman year at Umpqua Community College, Laeng suffered a shoulder impingement a few weeks prior to the Spring Season. A shoulder impingement is when the tendons of the shoulder with the bones in the shoulder, common with overhead athletes. The most pain came when he tried to throw.
Laeng battled through the shorten season, appearing in just two of the Riverhawks ten games and saw five at-bats in the shorten season.
“This downtime has allowed me to get healthy from my shoulder impingement. It also has allowed me to work extremely hard in my garage weight room and to continue to improve my baseball skills on a daily basis,” said Laeng. “I played through it until the season got cancelled then I went to PT to healthy.”
It took Laeng about a month-, month-and-a-half before he was truly 100-percent. With counties slowly opening up from the Coronavirus pandemic, Laeng is excited for the opportunity ahead to play ball again.
“I’ve heard a lot of great things about the CCL and thought it would be a great opportunity to play against some really good competition as well as play for some good coaches during the summer,” said Laeng.
“I can’t wait to get out and play baseball again. Looking forward to getting to know the guys on the Salamanders and to compete at a high level! Felt like the CCL was a great place to compete and get ready for fall ball!”
Joining Laeng will be Cascade Senior and Southwestern Oregon Community College-commit Jacob Winstead, North Marion-grad and Lower Columbia Community College freshman Nic Iliyn. Iliyn appeared in three games for the Red Devils, going 1-for-3 at the plate.
The Salamanders features guys from Grays Harbor Community College, Clacakmas Community College, William Woods, Oregon Tech, Wooster and Eastern Oregon to name a few.
The season is slated to start June 19 at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington.