By Jeremy McDonald
PORTLAND, Ore.– There was a sense of familiarity the last two days for Sprague-graduate Michael Soper, playing against some familiar faces in Medford playing the Medford Rogues.
Playing with the Willamette Wild Bills summer baseball team, the incoming second-year Linn-Benton Infielder played against teammates in Ruben Cedillo and Emiliano Alacron, both of Central as well as Kaden Miller as the 2018 Olympian-grad gets back on track health wise.
“Going down to Medford yesterday and the day before was great, they had great pitching. A lot of fun,” Soper said, going 3-for-10 with an RBI in two games against Medford. “Seeing D-1 guys like that was really good to get the reps that I want. See the upper-level pitching and get used to it.”
Soper had some minor shoulder issues as he got healthy down the stretch entering this Summer, looking to build from the foundation he built his second-year of college baseball. Going .296 with 11RBI’s in 16 games this past Spring. Focusing on the mental side of the game as he physically healed up from his Fall Ball injury.
““It was definitely nice to be play healthy and not have to worry about this hurting or that hurting. Just getting back into the rhythm has been really good,” “We have a book that focuses on the mental side of the game and really stealing myself there was helped me coming back from the injury. I really give my coaches credit there, the athletic trainer getting me healthy. Once I was able to get myself a little bit better, it was easier.”
Former Sprague and current Wild Bills teammate Brock McMullen has been getting a lot of action at catcher after redshirting his freshman year at Edmonds College up in Lynwood, Washington. Catching five innings Friday and nine Saturday in the two games against the Rogues and the first three innings Sunday afternoon over the past three days alone.
“It’s awesome to play guys who are at the level that I want to play at. The extra reps are nice because of the Covid-year it was really hard to find and get live pitching, but this summer has been super nice to compete against other guys who are at the same skill level as I am,” McMullen said. “It’s getting me the reps that I need. It’s super nice to get those reps…it’s time to focus on my craft and what I can do to get better before next school season starts.”
McMullen saw an at-bat against the Gresham Greywolves Sunday as the Wild Bills rallied from 3-0 down to tie it up in the fourth inning at 3-3. The game would end in a 3-all tie after seven due to time restraints with the Portland Pickles-Bend Elks game that followed that was scheduled.
Soper saw two plate appearances Sunday while playing shortstop, drawing a walk in his second at-bat in the three-run fourth inning as the Willamette Wild Bills will play the Portland Gherkins Friday back at Walker Stadium. First pitch is at 7:05pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald