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All-decade: Philomath’s top talents in baseball
ALL-DECADE SERIES

All-decade: Philomath’s top talents in baseball

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A nine-run loss to Douglas in a play-in game marked the end of the 2011 season for the Philomath High baseball team. The Warriors had struggled to a 9-15 record.

It represents the last time that Philomath had a losing record in the popular spring sport. In fact, the very next season, the 2012 Warriors set the standard by winning the Oregon West title with a perfect 15-0 record. It had been the first conference title for PHS since the 2002 season.

“It was a big wake-up call,” said Jackson Northcutt, a senior on the 2012 team that went 19-6 overall. “Being one of the worst teams in Philomath history, it was kind of embarrassing, honestly.”

For the period from the 2010-11 through 2019-20 academic years, Philomath baseball teams won 63% of its games (146-85) overall and 71% (96-39) in the conference. The Warriors won league titles in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

The 2012 team was one of the No. 2 seeds heading into the state playoffs but Henley, which would cause PHS to experience postseason heartache throughout the decade, pulled off a 12-4 win. In 2013, Philomath and Newport were tied atop the league standings at the end of the regular season but the Warriors were awarded the title based on their 2-1 record against the Cubs. In the state playoffs, Philomath entered as the No. 2 seed but again saw the season end in disappointment with a first-round upset loss to Tillamook, 7-2.

The Warriors put together a seven-game winning streak to end the 2014 regular season and then defeated Astoria, 5-4, in the first round of state. The season ended in the quarterfinals with a 6-3 loss at Henley (the Hornets went 29-1 and won the state title, 10-0, over Sisters).

In 2015, Philomath advanced to the state playoffs with an 18-3 rout over Crook County in a play-in game. But in the first round, Hidden Valley pulled out a 9-6 victory to end the Warriors’ season. Philomath won 11 of 15 league games for the 2016 Oregon West title, which included six wins in its last seven games. Elmira eliminated Philomath in the first round of state, however, with an 8-5 win.

The Warriors made it back-to-back conference titles in 2017 with a 13-2 record in league, 20-7 overall. Philomath put together a couple of wins in the state playoffs with a 16-11 victory over Valley Catholic in the first round and a 6-5 win over Sisters in the quarterfinals. In the semis, perennial power Henley had the upper hand, 13-0, following a seven-hour bus ride that had included a flat tire along the way.

The 2018 squad won 75% of its conference games but had to settle for runner-up behind North Marion. The Warriors saw their season end in the play-in round with a home loss against Valley Catholic, 8-3.

Philomath was back in the state playoffs in 2019 but had to play its way in with a 4-2 victory over Cottage Grove. In the first round of state, the Warriors won on the road over Baker, 9-3, before falling to Henley, 9-4, in the quarterfinals.

This past spring, the Warriors had a roster that could contend for the Oregon West title but the coronavirus pandemic took away the season.

The all-decade team (2010-11 through 2019-20 academic years) includes players chosen at the nine traditional positions along with a utility player. In all, 20 players fill out the first and second teams.

All-conference and all-state selections represented the starting point for putting together the teams followed up with research through past game stories and input from Levi Webber, who coached the Warriors throughout this time period.

Here is the PHS all-decade first team for baseball:

P— Tyler Jackson (2009-12)

Jackson took the Oregon West Conference by storm in the spring of 2012 during the Warriors’ perfect run. He earned the Oregon West Conference Pitcher of the Year honor and was named to the all-state second team.

Jackson had persevered a challenging 2011 season but was one of the bright spots with flashes that he could control a game from the mound. In 2012, the quality wins started to pile up with a couple of his most brilliant performances coming in victories over Newport — a 5-2 win on the road in mid-April and a 4-3 win at home on May 9.

C—Logan Williams (2014-17)

Williams had a stellar couple of seasons behind the plate with the Warriors with first-team all-conference recognition in 2016 and 2017. Williams was also honored on all-state teams both of those years, making the first team as a senior.

During his senior season, Williams increased his batting average by around 120 percentage points to .432. He also had a .514 on-base percentage.

“Talking to the coaching staff here at Philomath, they just keep telling me he keeps getting better because of his work ethic,”said Blake Woosley, a PHS alumn and assistant coach with Chemeketa, where Williams would go to play in college.

1B—Nolan Jackson (2015-18)

Jackson earned all-conference recognition following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons with the Warriors. In both 2017 and 2018, he was a first-team choice among the league’s coaches and was also honorable mention all-state those two years.

“I think he was one of the top five players in the league,” Webber said about Jackson in 2018. “He was a guy who was very valuable to us in all facets of the game.”

Jackson could’ve been listed as a utility player with the type of talent that could produce at the plate and be effective in the field at first base, pitcher or outfield.

2B—Michael Slater (2016-19)

Slater was one of just two second basemen during the past 10 seasons to earn first-team all-conference recognition (Casey Croy was the other but he was placed on the all-decade first team in the outfield). Slater was second-team all-OWC as a junior in 2018 and then first team as a senior in 2019.

“He kind of solidified a spot for us at second base when we knew we were going to need somebody to take over last year and he continued in that role this year,” Webber said after Slater had been named to the all-OWC first team in 2019. “He was just outstanding for us all year long over at second.”

3B—Jackson Northcutt (2009-12)

Northcutt possessed the type of ability that could change the trajectory of the game whether it was stopping grounders at the hot corner or finding a rhythm at the plate to produce runs.

Take this moment from the 2012 season — Northcutt won the game for Philomath over Cascade with a two-run double in the top of the ninth inning, to go along with a home run he had hit in the sixth. He finished with four hits and four RBIs in the 6-4 win over the Cougars.

Northcutt had an exceptional senior season for the Warriors in the spring of 2012. Not only did he make first-team all-conference, but he was a second-team choice on the 4A all-state team.

SS—Ben DeSaulnier (2011-14)

DeSaulnier was a rare athlete that could contribute to the varsity right away as a freshmen. He earned all-conference status all four years with second team as a freshman (infield), second team as a sophomore (pitcher) and first team in both his junior and senior seasons (shortstop). DeSaulnier was the Oregon West Position Player of the Year in 2013. He was an all-state first team selection following his final two seasons.

The top all-around multi-sport athlete over the past 10 seasons at PHS, DeSaulnier was an all-decade choice not only in baseball, but also in football and basketball.

OF—Austin Gerding (2014-17)

To put it simply, Gerding was just a really great baseball player for the Warriors and folks will remember No. 23’s skills on the diamond for years to come. Gerding had a spectacular two-year stretch with the program with top conference honors and all-state recognition coming his way.

After making the all-OWC second team as a sophomore, Gerding was named the Oregon West’s Player of the Year following his junior season. A .466 hitter that spring at the plate and a center fielder who could rob opposing batters of hits, he was also a pick for first team on the all-state squad.

During his senior season, Gerding was the Oregon West Position Player of the Year, the co-4A Player of the Year and all-state first team. He had a crazy season at the plate with a .506 batting average, .611 on-base percentage and .820 slugging percentage.

OF—Stephen Coskey (2010-13)

Coskey was one of Philomath’s baseball stars during the earlier part of the decade and a lot of folks appeared to agree with his honors on all-league and all-state teams.

In 2012 as a junior, Coskey was the Oregon West Player of the Year and was included on the all-state first team. Then as a senior, a teammate beat him out for the top conference honor but he was on the first team for the OWC and again for all of 4A.

Coskey was one of the team speed demons.

“Coskey’s speed affords us the ability to do a lot of things that most teams can’t do,” Webber said during the 2012 season.

OF—Casey Croy (2014-17)

Croy’s bat was dangerous during his time with the Warriors, including a .483 batting average, .563 on-base percentage and .805 slugging percentage as a senior. That followed up a .387 batting average in 2016.

Croy was a first-team all-conference choice following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, one of only a handful of players to accomplish that feat. He made the all-state team all three of those years as well — second team in 2015, third team in 2016 and first team in 2017.

Croy could very easily be listed on the all-decade team at second base, pitcher or as a utility player. He even threw a no-hitter for the Warriors in 2017.

UT—Walter Brattain (2011-14)

A true utility player, Brattain could hold down any position on the field — pitcher, catcher, first base. In fact, he earned all-conference honors at all three of those positions in different seasons.

When he was only a sophomore, Brattain caught a lot of attention around the league and was one of forces that helped turn around Philomath’s baseball fortunes. He made all-conference at first base and was also honorable mention all-state.

Following his junior year, Brattain was again all-league and earned a second-team spot on the all-state team as a utility player. Then as a senior, he was the Oregon West Pitcher of the Year and honored as a first-team all-state selection, again as a utility player.

The all-decade second team includes Dawson Brattain (pitcher) and Brooks Stearns (catcher) as the battery with Brandon Simons (first base), Mikael Hill (second base), Trent Hardin (third base) and Riley Davis (shortstop) around the infield and Kaleb Byers, Joe Noble and Dylan Bennett in the outfield. Marshall Brattain, who played third base and pitcher, is included as a utility player.

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