TURNER — The fact that Cascade High School’s first-year baseball coach is one of the most successful softball coaches in Oregon history is well known at the school.
It’s kind of unavoidable.
Over 14 years Tim Ganfield built a reputation as a player’s coach who stressed fundamentals, helped players perfect small details to build cohesive units capable of great achievement.
He’s trying to do the same things, just in a slightly different venue.
“Honestly I don’t think necessarily that you would put him in the category of softball coach or baseball coach,” said Cascade junior pitcher Mitchell Bell.
“I think his way of coaching is just he’s going to tell them to do this, this is his process and it’s going to work if it’s softball, baseball, whatever sport it is.”
Ganfield is the No. 19 winningest high school softball coach in Oregon history with a record of 265-109 between 1999 and 2012, including state championships in 2010 and 2011.
He resigned after the 2012 season – when the Cougars reached the state championship game for the fourth time in his tenure – and his daughter, Hannah, graduated.
Ganfield was a volunteer assistant coach with the baseball team the past couple years while working on his administrative degree.
But when the chance came up to coach his son, Peyton, he couldn’t pass it up.
“The kids all know,” Ganfield said. “Oh yeah, they know. It’s brought up fairly frequently, maybe more by the parents, but the kids all know. They could tell you that we’ve done well in the past and they know.
“That transition hasn’t been a big deal. At this point it’s just about coaching kids kind of thing. It’s about coaching kids and we’re trying to put in some systems that will help them be successful and build upon their strengths and be successful, no different than softball, and trying to build a cohesive program all the way up, no different than what we were doing before.”
It’s not uncommon for baseball coaches to move over to coaching softball.
Most male softball coaches have played baseball, and many have coached baseball at one time or another.
But for a successful softball coach to go over to coaching baseball is almost unheard of.
“There’s been a lot of learning on my part,” Ganfield said. “It’s not like I haven’t ever coached baseball. I coached before I started softball and then I played in college and all that so I understand, but coaching baseball, oh, there’s been a lot things, and that’s why the two (assistant coaches) that I have have been so awesome.
“They’re baseball guys, even though Steve (Miller) was a former softball coach, too. So there’s another guy who’s done it. That’s probably one of my biggest differences is I don’t have that one, one and a half pitchers to carry the load. We’ve been working really hard on developing the whole staff.”
Four of Cascade’s five losses this season were by one run.
It can be frustrating, especially for a team trying to establish its identity.
But at the same time it shows the team is close.
“This year, we’re just struggling to pull out a W,” said senior infielder Russ McGuire. “It seems like we’re right there, like we’re real close. It’s not like we’re doing anything just absolutely terrible.
“I think when it comes down to crunch time we’re just not able to execute very well. But I think that’s a process that’s getting better from the very start, but it’s still fresh in the season.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
Greater Valley: A South Salem team loaded with upperclassmen is the favorite to win the conference this year with a loaded lineup including Oregon signee Gabe Matthews, first-team all-leaguer Tony Phong and returning starters including Gibson Hohberg, Tori Doten, Carter Dorn and Bryan Kelly. West Salem has a strong, experienced group including Oregon State signee Andy Armstrong and first-team all-state player Simran Dhote and should contend for the conference’s top spot. McNary, which placed second in the conference last year, returns starters, including Matt Ismay, Matt Aguilar, Josiah Gilbert and Trevor Gilbert, but it’s fate will be decided by how its deep pitching staff does. North Salem has a strong senior class, including Cole Hamilton, Cameron Jolly and Noah Boatwright and will compete for the top spot in the conference.
Mid-Willamette: Corvallis and Crescent Valley are the conference favorites, but there are teams that should be able to challenge them. Behind starting catcher Treve Earhart, Dallas is expected to be a contender, Silverton has a group including Grant Roth, Kirk Martinson, and Masonn Pearson and should contend for a playoff spot and Cetnral has a solid group of athletes, including Luke McBeth, Luis Amador and Jackson Holstad and has the potential to be a top-three team.
Oregon West: An athletic Philomath team and a young North Marion team that includes all-conference players Dylan Doubrava and Andy Schmitz should contend for the championship.
West Valley: Santiam Christian won the state championship last year and with all-state players, including Daniel Hendrix and Dru Draper, is the favorite to win the league again.
PacWest: Blanchet has a strong lineup returning, including first-team all-league players Nate Cantonwine, Harry Witwer-Dukes and Nick Orlandini and will challenge for a second straight conference title.
2A/1A Special District 2: Regis was a state semifinalist a year ago and has an experienced lineup, including JaVon Logan, Brycen Schumamcher, Brandon Piete and Andrew Schmitt and is the heavy favorite to win the league championship.