By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It seems like the same story, different verse for the Sprague Baseball team. Most of the team, like entering last Spring, had played together with the Salem Withnell Dodgers American-Legion team. Working on their team chemistry once more and hoping for the same result as they enter this Spring after they reached the 6A State Sweet 16 last year.before falling to eventual Champions in West Linn.
That Dodger team finished sixth at State in Roseburg this past Summer as the Boys from the Berm went back to work over the Winter months in preparation for the season ahead.
“This Summer was big, a big chunk of that team was our Sprague team so we stayed together throughout the Summer and built team chemistry and I feel like that’s going to play a role going into this year for us. It should be a fun season,” Brandon Stinnett said of the Summer.
“From last Spring into this Summer there was a quick turnover and I feel like it went really well. We had a lot of those guys on our Summer team coming from Sprague…team chemistry that continued to bleed over into our Winter practices here at Sprague. You’re seeing that this team has been together for a long time and I think we can do some great things this year,” adds Eli Lowe.
Along with Stinnett and Lowe, Brady Muth, Grant Strother, Will Hassoun and Hayden Laudette were just some of the names rejoining the Sprague team from that Withnell Dodger squad Carter Lesh, a West Salem-transfer, was part of the Post 20 Dirtbags American Legion team that reached the American Legion Triple-A Play-In game at Roseburg this past Summer as well as the squad as a plethora of baseball experience coming into this Spring.
“We have a lot of seniors this year. We got a lot of dudes who came back from last year who know how to win, we won the (Mountain Valley Conference) league last year and went to the playoffs. We know how to do that, we just have to keep on improving and keep on getting better and hopefully we can do the same thing this year,” Hassoun said of the team.
With only four teams in the Central Valley Conference this year, the Olympians will look to a non-league heavy schedule and a schedule that will feature them often playing three-games-a-week. Very similar to the smaller classifications in Oregon or the Legion schedule that the squad is used to in the High School offseason.
“It’ll be huge, we got a tough schedule this year playing all the Portland schools, so that’ll be a good challenge for us coming into our league. That’ll be good, we got a good group of guys this year, it’ll be fun to see what we can do,” Stinnett said.
Sprague opens the season March 14 versus Bend at McMinnville High School before heading to Sunset the next day and Ida B. Wells on March 17. The Olys first true home game in Salem won’t be until March 20 against Jesuit.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald