Over the years, the Silverton High baseball program has never been a big-time powerhouse.
But under the direction of second-year coach James Rise, baseball is starting to become more of a priority at Silverton.
In Silverton’s first year under Rise, the Foxes saw their record go from 6-12 in conference play the previous season to an 11-10 record the following year with a postseason victory over Ashland.
“Last season we had our best season as a program in 26 years, which really speaks volumes about our kids and how much time and effort they put in,” Rise said.
“Guys have consistently been putting extra work in, and we have implemented an expectation that baseball is important here and that we want to make the success of last season to be the norm and not an outlier.”
Even though Silverton lost two all-State performers in Dustin Meyer and Anders Green, the Foxes have some key pieces returning to this year’s squad.
“We have more depth offensively, defensively and on the mound than we did last year,” Rise said. “This group has put in a ton of time in the weight room and I hope we see a more physical team on the field than we did last year.”
The Foxes will be led by seniors Grant Roth, Kirk Martinson and Channon Macbean.
Roth will be the starting third baseman who will hit in the middle of the lineup, while Martinson and Macbean will each star in utility roles for the Foxes.
The Foxes will also be led by pitcher Mason Pearson, who is expected to be the ace of the staff.
After making it to the Round of 16 last season, the Foxes have higher expectations for themselves as they head into this season.
“I think we have a good squad this year and I think that we have the capability to advance farther in the playoffs this year, which will be one of our main goals,” Macbean said.
Roth added: “I would say that my biggest team goal would be to finish the season with a winning record and making a run in the playoffs. As a senior, I want to do everything in my power to continue the winning culture that was left from the seniors last year and that will be passed down to younger players when I’m gone next year.”
After last year’s successful squad, this Silverton team is going into this year with confidence, and it already been showing in this young season.
As conference play quickly approaches, the Foxes already have two quality victories on their resume, including a 9-3 victory over 6A opponent Forest Grove.
“We have a solid team this year and I think that we will surprise some people with how good we are and how fare we can go,” junior shortstop Brice Shippen said.
Rise said: “The most important thing is that we continue to get better every day and to create an environment where we feed off of what we accomplished the previous day.”