Scappoose has almost everyone back, and will look to make another run in the post season.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior catcher Anthony Bernal takes a swing during practice last week. Burnal is an important returning piece to this year's squad, which features a host of experience.Baseball is as much about a hot streak at the right time as it is a solid record through the regular season. Preparedness and ingrained skills, habits and talent can be the setup and the stage for success, but hitting a stride late in the season and playing as a close-knit group has worked for Scappoose in the past, winning them the state title in 2010.

This spring's opener on the road at North Marion will begin the latest installment in the rich tradition of baseball in Scappoose, a history that has built up the youth programs and allowed the high school teams to enjoy success year in and year out. This years' varsity roster has 10 seniors and seven juniors, with starters selected from what head coach Robert Medley called a “good mix of talent.”

The headline of the roster is senior pitcher Will Sprute, who was named to the all-league team last spring along with pitcher and shortstop Hunter Hoyt, junior Steven Johnson and senior catcher Anthony Bernal. Junior Owen Fortney will be the Indians' second pitcher.

Many of the Indian ballplayers got their start at the little league level, and not surprisingly, the relationship between the high school and little league teams has been close. In addition to the annual little league day at one of the high school games, the high school coaches also get the chance to work with the coaches and kids at the younger level, hoping to keep the feeder system alive and healthy.

Given the number of kids who turned out for this year's team, 41, the system seems to be doing its job. Scappoose has a large number of freshman as well, and the numbers from several of the little-league teams bodes well for the history of the high school program.

In addition to Sprute, Bernal and Hoyt, the Indian seniors include third-baseman Lionel Sandoval, outfielders Michael Shoun, Donovan Jackson, Sam Margheim and Kyler Mizee.

The Indians will also likely get valuable contributions from the large junior contingent, which features Fortney and Johnson. Wyatt Patton, Blake Millar, Jake Ford, Justin Hering and Robby Backus are also included in the junior class. Owen Parsons is the lone sophomore on the varsity squad.

The Indians' first home game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 against Molalla, but soggy conditions on the playing surface may force the team to move the game to the Molalla, before leaving on a five-day, four-game trip to eastern Oregon on what has become an important bonding tradition for the team.

“We take the mini bus and sleep on wrestling mats,” said Medley. “There are parents that cook three meals a day in the home-ec room.”

Should the Molalla game be moved, the team's next chance on their home field will be an April 1 game hosting Clatskanie.

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