And they did it with a youthful lineup

Rex Putnam High's baseball team made a tremendous run in the Class 5A state playoffs this past season, despite a youthful lineup. The Kingsmen had only four seniors on their 13-man roster.

'It was a very good season,' said Putnam coach Jason Stanley. 'It's been awhile since a Putnam team made the quarterfinals. We went a game farther than last year and we won every series in league, except our series with Sherwood.

'We definitely deserved to be in the final eight, and with a break or two we could have been top four or top two. We left a lot of kids on the bases [in our state quarterfinal with] Summit....

'If we continue to work hard and improve, we should be right in the mix in our league again next year.'

The Kingsmen bowed out of the state playoffs with a 7-1 loss to Summit in the quarterfinals, after advancing through a state play-in win over Franklin (10-3) and a state playoff win over Willamette (11-5). The Kingsmen (19-10, 16-5) finished second only to state semifinalist Sherwood (24-5, 19-2) in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

It's the first time since 1997 that a Putnam baseball team has advanced as far as the quarterfinals.

Putnam seniors contributing to the success story included Mason Dunning (first base/pitcher), Nathan Edwards (third base), Zach Martin (left field) and Jeremy Thompson (right field).

'We only had four seniors, but they all started and they all led by example,' Stanley said. 'They were a big reason we had the success we did. They were great leaders and great kids. They left a great legacy with their work ethic.'

A first-team all-state selection, Dunning hit over .500, with 13 home runs. He was the Northwest Oregon Conference 'Player of the Year,' earning first-team all-conference honors for his play at first base, and second-team honors at pitcher.

Putnam junior centerfielder Eli Skiles was a second-team all-state selection. Martin and junior Evan Lochridge (pitcher/first base) were selected to the NWOC first all-star team, along with Dunning and Skiles.

Edwards, Thompson and sophomore Trace Loehr (shortstop) made the NWOC's second all-star team.

'Trace was our best defensive player,' said Stanley. 'All our first and thirds ran through him. He was like another coach on the field. And he was always a threat on the bases.'

Stanley said that Loehr, Skiles and Martin were all outstanding baserunners.

Rounding out this year's Kingsmen state-playoff roster were: juniors Matt Baker (outfield), Justin Wyler (pitcher/second base), Jordan Sander (catcher), Nick Parr (outfield) and Adam Archie (infield); and sophomores Dylan Knoth (utility), Nick Edwards (infield) and Corey Wells (utility).

'Jordan was probably our most improved player,' said Stanley. 'He made a great run in the playoffs, both with his bat and behind the plate.'

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