By Jeremy McDonald
ADAIR VILLAGE, Ore.– Aaron Nease is probably the closest thing to a real-life The Sandlot’s Benny Rodriguez. The kid just looks for anyway to get onto the diamond to play, and plays everywhere.
His prime positions are catcher and pitcher, but has played everywhere else. Wherever the team needs him. In the Stayton Bandits Fall Ball finale Monday night, the former Blanchet Catholic and current McNary Senior lined up at first base before pitching the final inning of the 5-5 game.
“It’s always nice to stay in the game and just being in the cages, it’s nice being out in the field playing games. It’s good to stay in it at,” said Nease. “I’ve played (first base) a couple of times, but I don’t play a lot. I play all over, it is what it is.”
Versatility was what made ‘The Jet’ great in The Sandlot, to understand each position and it’s meaning. Nease may not as much of a vocal leader like a Rodriguez from the movie stemming his quiet demeanor, his play does that for him.
Nease is just an athlete. His versatility has already had the Celtic being a pick-up player this Fall, having picked up as a player the last week or two on the weekend just to get those valuable live reps. Overall making him a better player entering hopefully his Senior Season and beyond with the chance to play at the collegiate level.
“It’s good because I can pick up on other teams that need a third baseman, a catcher or pitch a couple of innings. I can get some more hacks in and games the whole time which is very nice,” said Nease. “Just got to keep my arm going during long breaks or something like that. Stay out there is pretty much it.”
His versatility will pay dividends if McNary gets a season off. Good thing is too that Nease as played against guys from the Greater Salem-area over the Summer with the Bandits. Pitching against West Salem’s Titan Baseball Club, Sprague’s Olympian Baseball Club and players from South Salem and West Albany with the Valley Baseball Club over at Holland Youth Park.
But hey, the competition is something that Nease is thriving on for sure entering this next chapter.
“I like the competition. It’s good I like it. I like the coaches and the guys over there, they’re fun,” said Nease.