Ending Summer The Right Way

By Jeremy McDonald


SILVERTON, Ore.–  There is no doubt that the Coronavirus Pandemic was the Debbie Downer at the party for everyone as the school year drew to an end.  Especially the Seniors.

But as things began to open up this summer, those few Seniors who had their Spring sports taken away from them managed to make do in their final Summer before the real world starts for them.

For Silverton’s Cole Runion, coming off of signing his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Linfield this upcoming school year, joining teammate Gage Mack and former Foxes Colton Meyer, there was an sense of something special for Silverton entering 2020 before the season was canceled.

Moving into the summer, playing with the NW Stars organization, there was a feeling of redemption of being able to end his Senior year on the right note before college.  Working on his craft in the meantime against some tough competition, playing against even college competition entering this next phase of his playing career.

Runion (far left) and his family at the Senior Recognition at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Senior Day on July 31, 2020 (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“I thought summer ball was great being able to get in some sort of senior season before going off to college. I think that it definitely got me back into the swing of things after having a couple of months off from the sport,” said Runion.  “I’m glad that other teams were able to get some games in too. My team saw all sorts of skill throughout the summer, and I think that it was good for me to see that. “When playing the college teams, it was definitely a whole different ball game. It was faster and you really had to think quicker once the ball was in play.  I think college ball is going to be a big step physically and mentally for me, and I’m sure that I am going to be learning things about the game that I would have never thought of.”

Runion pitched three times with the NW Roadrunners, throwing nine-and-a-third innings, striking out 12 on the bump.  He was 13-for-39 hitting, driving in 6RBI’s for the Roadrunners over the summer, including going 5-for-11 with 2RBI’s in his final four games played in what Runion called a blast of a summer.

“This summer was a blast, I loved actually being able to play with other seniors and getting to know what their plans were after high school,” said Runion.

This past weekend, Runion got to wear the Silverton jersey one last time.  Lining up with Mack and Zach Gerhards and his father and Silverton Head Baseball Coach Jeramiah Runion one last time at Volcanoes Stadium.

Zach Gerhards (14, left), Gage Mack (seated with water bottle) and Runion (far right, 4) sitting by the dugout during Saturday, August 1’s game at Volcanoes Stadium (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

It was the Senior Day Games.  All four Foxes played on the Team Brandon Crawford in the two-game pairing that all the squads, named after former Volcano players with the exception of Team Willie Mays.  The Fox said at the end of the two-games that Team Crawford went 2-0, outpacing their opposition 24-11.

Runion pitched two innings in their first game, striking out two and had drove in 3RBI’s in the second contest at the Giants Short-Season Single-A affiliate facility in Keizer.  But the experience was something he would never forget, especially sharing it with his dad one last time.

“When getting to play with the team one last time, my favorite of all was being able to be on the field again with my Dad, he’s done everything for me whether that was football, swim, or baseball. Sharing those last two games with him was one of the only things I had been looking forward to that whole weekend at the senior games,” starts Runion.

“It especially meant a lot to me that I got to play with Zach and Gage in those Silverton uniforms one last time. I’d give anything to have one last senior season with them, I’m glad I get to play with Gage for four more years, and I wish the best of to luck for Zach down at Blue Mountain (Community College). Playing with them was something I appreciated a lot and if I had the chance to do it again, I would within a heartbeat.”




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