Banks senior Graysen Partain finally earns a place on the Class 4A all-state first team

Graysen Partain kept climbing the ladder in 2013.

Playing at shortstop for Banks in 2011, he was named to the Class 4A all-state third team. A year later, he earned second team honors at the same position.

This spring, Banks baseball coach Brian Ackerman decided he would put his senior superstar’s abilities to the best use behind the plate. So Partain made the switch to catcher — but his superlative play remained, and he finally claimed a spot on the all-state first team.

The Treasure Valley Community College-bound Partain led the Braves to a 14-12 overall record, an 11-5 mark and a tie for second place in the Cowapa League, and a Class 4A state play-in game.

“I was proud of him,” Ackerman said. “Baseball-wise, he’s one of the best players definitely in the 4A level, maybe in the state.

“The thing that I’m proud of him about ... the way he did it, switching positions, going behind the plate and still having a really good year behind the plate at a new position, and getting first team all-state catcher — I’m proud of that.”

Partain, who batted an impressive .470 this season, also was named to the Cowapa League all-star team, as were teammates Joey Bonin, Luke Stearns and Devin King. Zach Olson was an honorable mention selection.

Tillamook’s Matt Strang was named the league Player of the Year. The Cowapa League does not select a separate player and pitcher of the year.

“I think he should have won it last year, but he really should have won it this year,” Ackerman said regarding Partain and Player of the Year honors.

On offense, Partain led the Braves with 31 hits and 37 runs out of the leadoff spot. He also recorded 12 RBIs. All of that offensive output came despite him being walked 25 times.

“The kid can hit. He can do that whether he’s playing outfield or pitching or catching or playing shotstop, wherever,” Ackerman noted. “That part of it he can do and he does really well. And this year was more of a battle for him ... because he didn’t get a lot of pitches to hit, period. So when he did get a pitch to hit, he made something of it.”

Ackerman moved Partain to catcher to take advantage of his vision and ability to turn key plays. His hunch is that Partain will make the switch back to the middle infield for TVCC — he thinks second base is a strong possibility — which is located in the eastern Oregon town of Ontario, situated just a few miles from the Idaho border.

“I know he really didn’t enjoy it, being back there,” Ackerman said. “I think he’d rather have been at shortstop, but he did what was best for the team in that situation and he worked hard, got better at it, and him back there behind the plate for us this year was a reason we were so successful.”

Bonin, the team’s third baseman, posted a .253 batting average this season. He had 19 hits, a team-best 21 RBIs and 13 runs scored.

Stearns, a senior, went 4-3 on the pitcher’s mound this spring, putting in 38 2/3 inning of work. He gave up 49 hits and 43 runs (only 19 of them earned), walked 23 and struck out 30. At the plate, he batted .296 with eight hits, nine RBIs and five runs in 35 plate appearances.

King went 3-3 and led Banks pitchers with 44 2/3 innings. He yielded 59 hits, 49 runs (27 earned) and 24 walks to 38 strikeouts. On offense, he posted a .273 batting average with 15 hits, eight RBIs and 11 runs.

Olson, a senior outfielder and pitcher, batted .170 with nine hits, six RBIs and 12 runs. He also pitched 32 innings, going 1-2, and allowing 33 hits, 27 runs (17 earned) and 13 walks to 17 strikeouts.

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