By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Sprague baseball returns a slew of baseball players who live, eat and breathe the game of baseball.
Wyatt Connally played with the Canyon Crushers American Legion AAA squad. Dayton Walker dabbled a bit with different players, playing whenever he could around his Summer Work schedule.
Will Hassoun, Chris Rogers, Grant Strother, Taylor Brenneman and Quinn Altman all played together as members of the Withnell Dodgers over the Summer time to name a few studs who had put in the off-season work over this past Summer.
“It’s really important because it’s a really young group of guys and I feel like all of us being able to play at a high level and being able to play with each other…it’s helped to build chemistry to hopefully translate over to this Spring season,” Rogers said.
“I just like how our whole group just super into baseball, year-around. Everyone has a baseball in their hand and are ready for the season and now it’s ready to compete,” adds Walker.
The question will be pitching staff with Brett Hassoun, Rory Lampe, Broderick Stanaway and Jackson Muth all graduating. But with guys like Strother, Connally and Altman will fill in the voids left in the pitching staff and around the diamond this Spring.
“I feel like our pitchers are doing everything they need to do right now. They’ve been working constantly to make sure their arms are ready to go with technique,” Rogers said. “I’m not worried about them this season because we got assets coming in.”
Walker will help in the outfield where they’re graduated Carson Vankempen. Walker and Rogers are two of four seniors on an Olympian squad that’s junior heavy.
But as Walker points out, he’s not worried about how old they are because of the experience they all are bringing in.
“I think it’s up to the seniors that we have on our team to help mentor some of the younger kids on our team. But we got a lot of the juniors on our team this year that were Varsity players as sophomores. Even though we may not look that old with four seniors, we got a lot of returning Varsity players and it’s a lot of Varsity players throughout.”
Sprague will start the season at Roseburg on Monday before traveling to Barlow Wednesday. The Olys home opener is Friday when they host Nelson.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald