Going Out Strongly

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

STAYTON, Ore.–  Owen Stalnaker and the six of the other seniors on the Western Christian baseball team knew they had some big shoes to fill this past season after they lost three crucial seniors from 2021.

It was nice, losing our three big seniors.  It was definitely a change, losing three of our big seniors last year. But Miliano was pretty good with us and it was fun.  It was an easy ground for guys to play with,” Stalnaker said.

“It meant a lot.  Especially after a good year in basketball and to leave it out there with baseball.  Just to show that we’re not…that we got some other sports out there and it was really good.”

The Pioneers went 15-5 and 15-3 on the year, reaching the second round of the 2A/1A playoffs before falling to Bandon 4-1.  Leaving a legacy for the younger players and Stalnaker walking away as Player of the year in the 2A/1A Special District 2.

But a lot of their success stemmed from Head Coach Craig Towne and his coaching staff.

“It was awesome, it felt good.  But I would’ve been there without our  Coach.  We had a really young group of guys, a lot of basketball and soccer players and he just knew how to coach to set us up for the best possible outcome,” Stalnaker said.  “I contribute a lot of our success to our coach.”

Stalnaker was out at Stayton High School Monday, trying out for the American Legion Canyon Crushers.  One of the many faces in practice on the first day, vying for one of the spots on their Single-A and Triple-A American Legion squads this Summer with their season starting June 4 against the Hillsboro Surfers.

“Oh it’s awesome.  It’s a great opportunity to get in some more baseball this Summer and see what comes after that,” Stalnaker said.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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