By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER Ore.—Playing in the Mountain Valley Conference the past few years have been something out of the ordinary.
For 2020 McNary-grad Ethan Patterson, his fondest memory playing against the studs in the league came when he hit two home runs against West Salem and the tough competition he faced with South Salem and Sprague. His time as a Celtic had given him a lot of game time experience underneath his belt entering the next chapter of his playing career.
“Playing league against the other local high schools has been fun. I think my best memory was hitting two home runs against West Salem,’ Patterson starts. “South Salem had some great players that are always fun to go up against. Sprague has always been tough to compete against but we were able to come out on top the last two games we played against them.”
“Playing at McNary has helped get a lot of games under my belt. I have gotten to play with some of my best. I would contribute my development as a ball player to my off-time prep. Between working out daily, hitting with David Wong and James Mensing, also some camps with Jose Cepeda at Northwest Diamond Sports, playing with SBA teams in the Fall. I tried to play or prepare year-round.”
A big confidence builder came when he hit a home run off of University of Hawaii and Titan-grad Cameron Hagan over the Summer when both players played in the Willamette Valley Men’s Baseball League 16-plus league. Hagan, who was at Chemeketa Community College the last two years, played on the West Salem ‘Titan Baseball Club’-squad while Patterson was on the Valley Baseball Club.
The VBC featured players mainly from McNary, South Salem and West Albany. Their coach was Salem Academy Head Baseball Coach Steve Reed and the opportunity gave Patterson an opportunity to make-up for his lost Senior Season from this past Spring.
“Playing for Valley this past Summer and Fall was the highlight of my year. Since my senior season was taken from away due to Covid. Coach Reed made it so much fun yet, still we all there to play and compete at a high level. It was great getting to know all of the guys that I played against for years,” said Patterson. “In Summer ball hitting a homerun against Cameron (signed with Hawaii) was a huge confidence boost that I was ready for some college ball. By the time Fall Ball rolled around Valley was a tight ball club and we wanted to continue playing together.”
Like many of those boys this past Summer and Fall, it gave them more of an appreciation for the game. For Patterson, who’s currently attending Chemeketa Community College himself, it taught him teamwork, dedication, discipline and patience.
The opportunity to play at the next level for Patterson came late, but he jumped on the chance to play the game he loves as he signed to play at Dakota College at Bottineau. A two-year college in Bottineau, North Dakota, about 30 minutes south of the US-Canada border.
“It’s a long way from home but it will be an amazing experience that I won’t take for granted,” Patterson said. “I welcome the great opportunity to play with the DCB Lumberjacks and better myself as a player and a person. I am thankful for Coach Mark (LaCroix) for the opportunity to play ball for DCB. I have had a goal to play in college for many years.
“After meeting the team and Coach Mark and then getting a chance to work out with the DCB guys. I am really looking forward to my future playing on a very driven team with the same goals as mine.”
Staying positive and staying focused on his goals through these hard times has helped pointed Patterson. Pointing towards his family, Reed, James Mensing, Dave Wong, Jeff Auvinen and his coaches in helping him get to this point as Patterson refocuses and looks to this next chapter of his playing career.
“Once, I move to North Dakota in January. I am going to be working on improving consistent solid hitting. Also I would like to put some more muscle on before the season starts. I will continue to work hard daily in the gym. I can’t wait to be with my new baseball family,” Patterson said. “I am going to be working hard in the gym before the season and keep improving my hitting daily to be ready for our first game in February.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald