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PRYDE Junior Federal team finishes third in state

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIK HENRY - North Marion PRYDE's Junior Federal baseball team presents their placards and trophy after winning the county championship in July.The end of summer means the end of baseball, and the Junior Federal team for North Marion PRYDE?capped their year with a successful finish at the state tournament in July.

The Junior Federal team held their own at state, going 3-2 in the double elimination tournament to finish third overall.

“It’s pretty cool that we were able to have success, and it bodes well for the future of the program,” said head coach Erik Henry, whose sons Griffin and Grant are among a dozen players who earned a trip to state by winning the Junior Federal District Tournament in July.

The team entered the district tournament as the No. 1 seed after finishing the league with a 16-4 record. They went on to go undefeated in four games, posting victories over Tualatin, Barlow and Wilsonville twice to earn the berth in to the Junior Federal state tournament.

The playoff games were just a small part of the season for the team, which played a total of 60 games, including other tournaments and non-league games against club teams.

Cayden Delozier led the team with a .519 batting average, followed by Grant Henry’s .518, as every player but two posted a batting average above .300. Pitching-wise, Griffin and Grant led the team and combined to go 27-7 in 41 starts.

Henry chalks up some of the team’s success to PRYDE’s continued growth, as the program gathers talent from surrounding areas in northern Marion County.

“We’re becoming a little more noticed as each year goes on, and I think as time goes by, we’re getting more and more people from the other areas,” said Henry.

Henry, a North Marion graduate, has been coaching his sons through the program. This year’s team, which was composed of 11- and 12-year-olds, was a combination of players from PRYDE’s midget American, Junior National and Junior American teams from 2012.

“So it was a mixed bag, and they really had a good year,” said Henry. “We had a good time.”

The various team divisions can be confusing, but they’re designed to divide athletes by age and skill level to give kids the chance to compete on level playing fields.

“This is the first Junior Federal team that North Marion has had in about 20 years,” said Henry. “In (baseball) there’s the National, American and Federal levels, and typically the federal levels are your 6A schools. They have more kids to draw from, so they’re able to produce three or four different teams at each level.”

Henry anticipates that the experience his athletes accumulate in the PRYDE?program translates to success at the high school level when they get older.

“The consistency in our upper level programs really comes from when they’re young and able to get exposed to that,” said Henry.