By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– No one would have penciled in Western Christian Baseball at this point of the season. Battling for a spot in the 2A/1A State Championship Game Saturday afternoon just down the road in Scio, down from where they would play their final game of the year at Stayton High School.
Squeezing into the Field of 16, they drew Knappa. The Pioneers took down Loggers 9-2 on Tuesday. Western Christian followed it up with a 9-6 win over Monroe.
A basketball school. Knocking on the door of history. Baseball has reached the postseason yes, but not catching the State by storm as they did. It’s uncertain when the last time they reached this point of the tournament.
“It was definitely a one-day at a time for us. You hear the big-time names like Knappa and Monore and think we’re Western Christian, we’re just a little and small basketball school. I mean we prepared ourselves well and got the job done,” Rylan Webster said.
A handful of players like Webster were part of the Cross Country and Boys Soccer squads that finished third and won the soccer State bracket respectively six weeks ago as they started their journey. Starting the season 9-0 before falling to Kennedy May 7. It was the first of three times the two teams met.
“This team…when we first showed up, the practice the first day, it was a little rough I’ll tell you that,” Darrin Campbell said with a smile. “But we pulled together as a team. It felt amazing. I’ve grown up with them as brothers, it was a Cinderella-story.”
Campbell pitched against Knappa Tuesday. Owen Stalkner pitched the war with the Dragons Thursday. Milano Camerena went five innings against the Trojans at Scio High School in Saturday’s doubleheader.
They battled with Kennedy. Pushing the Trojans to the brink, their third juggernaut to the brink before Kennedy edged Western Christian 4-3.
But, as frustrated as they were, the Pios pieced it together as they held Heppner/Ione to one-run through three innings in hopes to finish the season on a win at Stayton High School . They had their chances with runners on base throughout the game, but Western Christian couldn’t bring them home as the Mustangs.
“It was a really tough game. I definitely think we weren’t all there through that tough loss. But hey, it is what it is. It’s a good season,” said Jordan Trammell. “For all the years we’ve been here, it’s just been great. This was the season we wished for.”
Trammell, Webster and Campbell were the lone Seniors on the team. Leaving behind a program on it’s highest note, finishing their Senior Season 12-5 on the year and a fourth-place finish in 2A/1A.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald