In one of the later nights I’ve experienced covering Philomath baseball, the high school’s D1 summer team came from behind to defeat Corvallis, 15-8. The game that preceded the Les & Bob’s game also ran long and started probably around 40 minutes later than expected. But it was a Saturday night, no need to get up bright and early the next day for work … wait, there’s a 19-month-old in the house. Oh well.
After the game, I interviewed coach Levi Webber about what he’s seeing with the summer team. He’s going to be entering his 11th season as the Warriors coach next spring and will have to once again plug some key holes.
I had to ask: Do you ever reach a certain comfort level about what players you have coming back for the next season?
“Never,” then he paused and added, “About the closest I’ve ever been is when I knew that Austin Gerding, Casey Croy and Logan Williams were coming back for their senior year. That’s about as comfortable as I’ve been.”
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Yes, that was quite a trio with all three of those players heading off to play at the next level after they turned in their Philomath High uniforms.
That’s not to say Levi doesn’t have a good feeling about what lies ahead with the 2020 team. Brooks Stearns, Brandn Vogler, Mike Slater, Marshall Brattain and Calvin Snuggerud are among the losses to graduation but Philomath has some pretty good kids coming up that saw success on younger teams and proven talent among the more experienced returnees. In my opinion, I think they’ll be just fine. Then again, I’m not a head coach analyzing lineup strategies and pitching rotations.
“I’ve got good kids and that’s all that matters,” Webber said. “They work hard and play hard and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”