By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Regis Head Baseball Coach Kyle Baker knows a thing or two about the American Legion Triple-A level. About 20 years ago he played for the Mid-Valley Rockets, later the Southpaws.
He later coached for the Albany-based team before eventually landing the gig two-years ago as Head Coach of the Stayton Bandits, taking the Single-A American Legion team to the postseason before landing with the Post 58 Keizer Crushers entering this season.
Nerves? Not at all. Just excitement for what is to come starting here this next weekend.
“I’m just really excited. I was a player at the Triple-A level, then I coached as an assistant coach with the Mid-Valley Rockets about ten-years ago for three-years with Harvey Miller, had a great time,” Baker said. “I just kind of see what it takes to produce a winning program, so I’m just excited for the challenge. I’m excited for that opportunity.”
Several of his Bandit athletes were out at Saturday and Sunday’s try-outs. Kids from Cascade, Stayton, Regis, Kennedy, Santiam, Silverton, Blanchet Catholic were out at try-outs with a few more expected to come to Tuesday’s final day of try-out.
Baker was prepared for the opportunity as try-outs came. Preparing to field the Crushers as well as the Bandit teams, but the sheer number of athletes was impressive with over 40 coming out to Saturday’s try-out opener.
“That was definitely an eye-opener. We were hoping to get over 25 kids to evaluate and I think we ended up with 40 kids on the nose yesterday show up,” “And we’re getting emails and calls about others that couldn’t make it yesterday that are coming today or Tuesday and you’re looking at 45/50 guys coming out for two teams. It’s really exciting, but a little surprising, which is a good thing that there’s that kind of love and passion for the game in the area.
“So, I think it’s really cool to see the future of baseball in the Canyon and in the area.”
The squad will take Memorial Day off before getting back to work Tuesday afternoon as they prepare for the upcoming American Legion season this Summer.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald