STAYTON – There’s got to be a sport that Blake Minten isn’t good at.
He just hasn’t found it yet.
The 6-foot-1, 220 pound senior from Regis High School isn’t the most physically dominating or skilled athlete in the world, but he gets more out of every bit of talent he has whenever he puts on a Regis uniform to play football, basketball or baseball.
Minten was first-team all-state in football and basketball this season and is one of those guys who’s name always pops up when someone mentions a Regis team.
“He’s not bad at anything, but he’s not generally, I wouldn’t say he’s the most skilled person in the world,” Regis baseball coach Don Heuberger said. “The type of competitiveness that he has mashed with his desire to play well works pretty good for him.
“He’s able to get a lot more out of himself than maybe somebody that has comparable skills.”
On the baseball field he was a second-team all-state selection as a junior after hitting .365 with 36 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He may be more valuable as a pitcher, where he was 8-3 with a 2.57 ERA.
That was after coming back from a pair of shoulder injuries as a sophomore.
But then again he was the Tri-River Conference player of the year in football – at defensive end – and basketball this season so it’s hard to say what sport he’s best at.
“I think he’s just got a feel for everything,” said senior teammate Paden Reynolds. “He’s just a natural athlete. He just has the mindset where he’s better, has a lot of confidence.”
No matter what sport Minten is playing, he’s level-headed about it.
If he strikes out or gets called for a foul he doesn’t think is right, you won’t see him argue or complain.
“There’s no point in getting down,” said Minten, cousin of former Regis and Boise State softball player Alex Minten. “It just makes things worse on yourself. That’s how I’ve always thought of it.”
But there is a competitive streak in Minten.
“Guys want to beat him,” Regis baseball coach Don Heuberger said. “And he’s got a way to kind of get in their head, but he does it in a nice way. He does it with a smile on his face.
“And before a baseball game, as we were waiting to hit the first time around, he always says, ‘New pitcher, new pitcher.’ And I asked him one day, ‘Why do you do that?’ He’s going, ‘Man, I’m trying to get into their head.’ He does that all the time. He’s letting people know that he’s there.”
Though Minten grew up in Turner, he came close to not attending Regis.
He played on a travelling basketball team in middle school with players such as Seth Erickson, Corey Roos, Keegen Hlad, Hamilton Hunt, Matthew Sigmund, Cade Smith and current Regis teammate Paden Reynolds, and considered going to high school with them.
“Actually my eighth grade year I just about went to West Salem, but switched to here just because my dad went here, all my family went here so we came here,” said Minten, a two-time first-team all-tournament basketball player. “I’m glad we came here, definitely.”
The statistics of the team success Minten has been a part of at Regis is mind numbing.
All 11 teams on which he’s played have made the state playoffs, they’ve won nine league championships, made nine state semifinal appearances and reached the state championship game in football in 2013.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s over. It’s been great coaching. We obviously compete every year.”
Minten wants to play football in college and is considering College of the Redwoods and College of the Siskiyous, but may go to Chemeketa instead.
But the baseball team needs him now, and between pitching and playing his favored position of left field he’ll find a way.
“He’s performing in baseball really on guts,” Heuberger said. “He doesn’t have as free a motion in his shoulder area that he did as a freshman, but he wants the ball in his hand and he’s able to mix speeds up enough.
“He’s certainly not one of the greatest pitchers we ever had at Regis, but he sure competes hard, and that makes up for a lot of stuff that a guy might not have.”
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McMinnville is the heavy favorite to win the league behind a bunch of pitching depth including Oregon State signee David Brosius. North Salem has the standout players to be competitive behind a crew including all-leaguers Andy Bevens, Alex Alvarado, Cole Hamilton and Alex Roberts, but the team’s depth will determine its success. South Salem has potential behind Oregon commit Gabe Matthews and returning starters in Jack Gries, Tony Phong, Gibson Hohberg, Kai Ohmae and Tory Doten. McNary has some experienced, talented players including all-state pitcher Mickey Walker and returning starters in Tim Hays and Connor Goff, but must have inexperienced pitchers step up to be competitive. West Salem, last year’s Central Valley Conference champion, features Oregon State commit Andy Armstrong and a talented group. McKay returns varsity players in Marzell Brown, Dylan Morgan, Alan Cornejo, Ray Camacho and Kevin Aguilar.
There is no doubt Blanchet Catholic has the most talent in the PacWest Conference. The Cavaliers returns starters in Trevor Burnell, Gregor Angstrom, Trenton Gianella, Jake Fessler, Nate Cantonwine, Harry Witwer-Dukes and Nick Orlandini and add in transfers in Will Gapasin and Trevor Nash from Central. Gervais, which placed third in the West Valley last year, could make some noise with seniors Nikita Kalugin, John Barger-Fox and Tim Peters. It’s no surprise that Crescent Valley is the favorite to win the Mid-Willamette. But one of the most intriguing teams is Silverton. The team returns starters in Dustin Meyer, Will Ward and Brice Shippen and adds in transfers Anders Green from North Salem and Mason Pearson from Lake Oswego under a first-year head coach in James Rise. Horizon Christian is the favorite to win the West Valley again, but newcomer Santiam Christian should give them a challenge with a roster including Darren Crosby, Daniel Hendrix, Justin Aldrich and Tanner Macal. Sheridan has a roster that includes all-league players Jackson Meyer and Andrew Glynn and could make some noise. Last year’s 4A state semifinalist North Marion is loaded again and will be a force as it moves into the Oregon West Conference. The Huskies return starters in Jordan Kendall, Emry Patterson, Mat Barrell, Shane McKillip, Hunter Beachy, Josian Ramon and Colin Barrow and have some young players who should contribute. In the In the Tri River, state semifinalist Regis brings back all-state players in Tim Frith and Blake Minten, but defending league champion Kennedy has starters back including Noah Giberson and Brett Traeger. Perrydale has been a surprise early behind players like all-leaguers Troy Trembly and David Silver and adds in transfer Hunter Johnson from West Salem and should be a league contender. St. Paul has all-league players in Cody Faber, Tyler Smith and Carson Smith and will contend for a playoff spot, as will Western Mennonite, which returns multi-year starting seniors in Sam Arnold, Jacobe DeJong and Levi Richards.