The North Marion baseball team participated in the American Legion league this summer.
Considering the odd circumstances of the Triple A American Legion summer league, North Marion head coach Randy Brack is happy his team finished with a 14-18 record.
While the Huskies roster consists of almost solely North Marion players, they compete against a few teams with kids from a variety of schools.
A lot of triple A teams are made up of several high schools. We are just using our North Marion kids. Its a challenge, Brack said.
Integrated teams included Sherwood and Tigard, Portland Eastside, which has seven college freshman, an East County team with players from Sandy, Barlow, Gresham and La Salle, a Hillsboro team with kids from Hillsboro and Liberty and quality programs such as Putnam and Central Catholic.
We get to see some good competition, Brack said.
Brack put the disadvantage into perspective: Were drawing from 600 kids. Some of these teams are drawing from 5000.
In the 1990s, Brack said most schools played in the legion league and had their own individual team and a feeder team for players who werent good enough to make the main team.
However, during the 2000s, Brack said Legion lost its popularity. Now, many teams from the metro area play in the Oregon Independent Baseball Association.
Brack said: Everybody wants to experiment with something different. To me, the old system was good.
Last year, North Marions team was so thin, Brack brought over Canby and Wilsonville players. However, this year the team drew enough turnout to field a team almost entirely of kids affiliated with the North Marion program (they have one kid from Molalla).
The other quirky aspect of the league is its inclusion of graduated players. As long as a player hadnt turned 19 by July, they were allowed to participate. Brack is happy to include some of his former players.
If we disallowed them, there would be no league for graduated players to play in. We would have to start a league for them, Brack said.
Brack utilized 2014 North Marion graduates Kyle Williamson, Brock Breshears and Tristan Wampole and Molalla graduate Devon Schaeffer to build a competitive squad.
Not only that, he had a 2013 graduate as well. Wyatt Moore graduated a year younger than most and doesnt turn 19 until after summer. Summer league provided a useful opportunity for the Montana State player to work on his game.
Here, he gets to work on pitching and get better as a player, Brack said.
Fellow Huskies alumni Williamson, Wampole and Breshears will join Moore at the collegiate level. Wompole will play for Western Oregon, Breshears at Blue Mountain Community College and Williamson at Minot State University.
Brack said the mix of younger and older kids fostered a positive experience for all parties involved.
Our older guys do a good job being supportive of our younger guys. We played some really young kids and the older kids are impressed. They want to see North Marion baseball be really successful, he said.
Rolling sophomore and returning starter Dylan Doubrava especially impressed Brack.
We moved him to shortstop and hes been playing really well. Hes made a few mistakes, but were talking about a 15-year-old kid playing against college freshman, Brack said.
He said rolling seniors Jordan Kendall and Nat Barrell also contributed nicely.
Despite its odd intricacies, Brack believes the legion league served its purpose.
He said: It got the young guys prepared for next year and kids going on to play college ball ready to play also.