By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.—When the OSAA decision came down the pipe that Spring will be canceled, Regis Head Coach Kyle Baker jumped right into action.
The Rams Head Coach wanted to find someway to honor his five Seniors for their hard work and sacrifice.
“When the OSAA made the final decision, I decided that we needed to do something,” said Baker. “Find a way to get these kids in a uniform one last time and get them on the field and that’s what we really tried to do. Talking to parents, the Senior parents, getting them all on board and bring them out here to try to get some pictures because they didn’t have a Senior Night.
“A lot of these kids, they look forward to that. I know the parents especially, being on the field with their kid. We’ve had this in the works for about a month ever since we got the word that it was done.”
For Jackson Nees, Joe Alley, Bryce Campbell, Jakob Silbernagel and Alex Pepin, their Senior night was scheduled for Thursday when they were suppose to play East Linn Christian Academy in a double-header at home.
Baker set up the field as he would for any Senior Night. Players numbers behind the dish, Seniors would come out to their number. Give their dad’s a signed baseball, their mom’s a gift bag. Pictures were taken as if it was an average Senior night, but the only people that were there were the Seniors. No fans, no teammates or opposition in the other dugout.
Just those five Seniors. On the diamond one last time with each other.
Joe Alley has been with the program since his freshman year, he remembers playing with the legend that is Don Heuberger before he retired following Alley’s freshman year before playing under Baker the last three years.
“He was little bit harder of a coach than Baker was,” laughed Alley about Heuberger. “That’s a great thing moving forward because you’re not going to have that same coaching style, especially at the next level. You’ll be with your position coach as well as your Head Coach, you have two different sides.
“Don was that good stern side that really taught you, ‘hey, you better not mess around. We got to play some ball and win ball games’. On the other hand, you got a guy who’s stern but also can be your friend with Baker who’ll let you know ‘we got to win some baseball games, but lets have some fun doing it’. So that was a great balance to have.”
As Friday’s evening festivities turned into Friday’s ‘Be the Light’ event for the Regis ballplayers and their classmates, celebrating the year that was they had together, Campbell said it was just nice to come out and reminisce of the times before.
Campbell arrived on campus his sophomore year and saw Regis reach the 2A/1A State Quarterfinals last season before falling to Knappa that May 24 day in 2019. Expectations and goals were set, but it was a bittersweet moment on this day when they remembered what they have done under the circumstances they were in.
“It was awesome to come out, from not having a Senior year and coming out and being with the guys one more time. Just remembering what we’ve done and wanted to do,” said Campbell. “But I think ending off the season with something to look forward to and what we did. Just something to look forward too.”
They looked forward to the memories of the Field of Dreams this past season. Yes it was taken away from them prematurely, but the memories that they did make, will stick with them for the rest of their lives.