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Teammates score with wild stunts


Gaston baseball team raises $2,500 for tournament road trip

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Josh Davis of Gaston High School let people spray him with everything from ketchup to  mustard to whip cream and more in order to raise money for his baseball teams tournament trip.

Connor Matrisciano didn't just juggle, he held a goldfish in his mouth at the same time -- and brought in money for the Gaston varsity baseball team’s trip down to the Woodland Easter Classic tournament in California.

The “Fear Factor” fundraiser at Gaston High School drew more than 150 onlookers and more than $2,500 for a trip that is budgeted at $4,800, according to baseball coach Sean Casey. Team members still have a ways to go with fundraising, but the 14 who participated Saturday night put their whole hearts—and digestive tracts—into the event.

Keith Flaig squirted a can of "squeeze-cheese" into another student’s beard, Casey said, then snarfed it all up off his friend’s fuzzy chin.

Other boys indulged in a frenzy of fish- and bug- and worm-eating. Even the coaches went up and ate cockroaches for the cause, Casey said.

For Kiel Nagode, eating a worm wasn't a big enough challenge. Kiel “actually snorted a worm up his nose and pulled it out his mouth,” Casey said. “Somebody threw another $80 in the pot if he’d do it again and he did.”

Ryan Sweet walked through a maze of mousetraps blindfolded—until the audience needed more excitement halfway through and made him “stop, drop and roll” through the rest of the maze, Casey said. “He got a couple pinches, but he came out of it fine.”

Casey said he tries to take his team to a tournament every few years so every member gets to go on an overnight tournament trip at least once during their high school career.

In the past they’ve gone to eastern Oregon, where they occasionally run into snow. California would offer better weather, Casey thought, and was only a little farther.

This year the school can’t help financially as it has in the past, so parents have volunteered to save money by driving the team down instead of using a bus.

It’s a great bonding experience when team members see each other outside of a practice or school setting, Casey said.

Then again, worm-snorting and cockroach-eating seems to be working its bonding magic among team members as well, Casey said. “They’re like super-tight-knit now.”

To help the Gaston varsity baseball team reach its $4,800 goal, checks can be made out to Gaston High School and mailed to: Baseball Trip Fund; Gaston High School; 306 Clark St.; Gaston, OR 97119.