By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Jeremiah Pinkerton learned a thing or two from Ban Nagel over the last few years as he takes over behind the dish for the West Salem baseball team. Catching several pitchers during Tuesday’s intrasquad scrimmage whenever he wasn’t stepping into the batters box. Getting those valuable live reps necessary with the season kicking off next week for the Titans.
“He was a really helpful catcher for me for growing. I feel like last year and the year before, being a sophomore and being a younger guy, just learning from him a lot and watching him. He had a cannon, he was really good at hitting and he passed all that stuff down to me. It helped me make my own way and better way to learn my position, it was a big deal,” Pinkerton said.
For Pinkerton, he’s one of the new faces to be filling the gaps left by last Spring’s seniors. Carter Howard, Carter Lesh, John Olsen, Tyler Rock and Pinkerton join Brody McMullen and Evan Faust from last years 16-3 season that featured a 12-game winning streak with the scrimmage serving as good live hacks and working on who will go where going into Monday’s jamboree at Clackamas High School.
“They’re really helpful because me and Evan are pitching to these younger guys. They’re figuring out what the Varsity level is going to look like, it’s good for them and finding their timing,” McMullen said. “I’m excited to see how it goes. Our pitching staff is pretty loaded so we just got to put the ball into play and score runs.
“We got a lot of really good young guys that’ll eventually get better as time goes on in the program. But right now we’re just practicing live AB’s, finding the zone and attacking first pitch strikes, things like that.”
The scrimmage went five innings as ten different pitchers saw a half-inning of action each. Testing out their stuff against batters, batters seeing live AB’s and defense reading and reacting to the ball in play. It’s different, yet helpful, compared to being in the gym as their first real game isn’t until March 15 versus Central Catholic at home.
“It’ll help us figure out who our dude’s are going to be. Who’s going to hit, who’s going to be in the field and it gives a lot of players a chance to step up and take the positions that were left because I think we got eight new positions,” Pinkerton said. “Brody I think is the only guy who started a lot last year. So we got like eight open positions and now we got an idea of where guys are going to be, that’s what I think the scrimmage really did for us today.”
Following the game against Central Catholic, West Salem travels to Southridge before going to Arizona for five games over Spring Break before returning back to Oregon to play Roseburg on March 29 in Roseburg.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald