Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Archive for June, 2009

Returning To The Volcano

Posted by todblog on June 10, 2009

June 6, 2009

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. It’s a time when everyone looks forward to warmer and longer days with hillsides and roadways painted with blooming wildflowers over a canvas of neon green grass. The valley is filled with songs from returning birds and also the loud “PING” of metal bats in ball fields across the state.

For the Umpqua Valley Christian Monarchs, the 2009 baseball season couldn’t start soon enough. In 2008, the varsity baseball team made a trip to Keizer’s Volcano Stadium for the Oregon Student Athletic Association State 1A/2A championship and lost a very close game to Portland Christian (5-4) in eight innings. Taking second place in the state was bitter sweet and the team felt a return trip in 2009 was very possible.

This year Coach Dave York had the team playing a busy pre-season schedule that took the boys on the road to play in a couple of tournaments over the school’s spring break. The very first game found them in John Day, Oregon, playing a team from Union. It was a battle of sorts as UVC was missing several starters due to illness and/or injury. Jacob was one of them who spent the entire weekend in a motel room with a bucket next to his bed. Union ended up beating UVC 11-1. Not a great way to start the season. But, it would be a long time before the team lost another game during its entire season.

The next tournament was held in Keizer’s Volcano Stadium where the team faced the Portland Christian team that won last year’s championship game. It was a highly emotionally charged game and the UVC boys were out for a different outcome than the last time the two teams met on the field. The game went a full seven innings and UVC beat PC 7-6. The boys felt good about the win and wanted to get that one tucked away so they could focus on the remainder of the season. However, there was a high price to pay for that game and it came in the form of a shoulder injury to UVC’s senior ace pitcher, Ryan Graf, who jammed his shoulder while sliding back into 1st base to avoid getting picked-off. It would be a long road to recovery for Ryan and it was uncertain whether he would see any action on the mound again.

Since losing to Union in the pre-season opener, UVC played 23 consecutive games and ended regular season play without a loss. Sixteen of those games were ended early due to the mercy rule (10 runs over your opponent in 5+ innings of play). Post season play found the Monarchs playing some larger schools to get more experience and games in prior to the State Championship playoffs.

There are 52 schools throughout the state who compete at the 1A/2A level. The schools are divided up among nine districts and the top three from each enter the post-season playoffs. It is a single elimination tournament, one and done.

By the time post-season games came around so did Ryan’s arm. It was a sweet thing to see him back on the mound during the semi-final game against Portland Christian. Ryan pitched 6 innings and Austin Stone closed the last inning for an 8-1 victory and a return back to Volcano Stadium for the State Championship Game.

The championship game would be against Union. They were our first game and they would also be our last game of the year. It would be an interesting match-up as UVC stepped on the field with a 27-3 record and Union would have a 21-1. The two teams battled and UVC took home the blue trophy 2-1 over Union. The team went crazy as the boys piled up on home plate.

Here’s a nice story from the local Roseburg newspaper- http://www.nrtoday.com/article/20090607/SPORTS/906079995/1056

Here’s a recap of the UVC-Union state championship game

jack3to1

Fielding a ball cleanly from 3rd and gunning down the batter at 1st… it’s truly a beautiful thing to witness.

DSC_5264Monarch’s dog pile at home plate

DSC_53562009 1A/2A Baseball Champions posing with their blue trophy

DSC_5381Coach Dave York and Jacob leaving Volcano Stadium after the game

DSC_5392UVC Victory markings on the car!

Advertisements

Posted in 2009, Sports, Stories | Tagged: , , , , , | 13 Comments »