Hood River Valley High School baseball players are getting a healthy dose off-season action this summer as the Carson Oilers finish its regular season and head into the district playoffs.
The team, composed mainly of HRVHS varsity players, finished 16-10 overall and 9-5 in the Oregon Independent Baseball Association’s OLIN division (comprised of teams from Tigard, Central Catholic, Westview, Lincoln, Wilsonville, Gresham, Hillsboro and Hood River).
After finishing second in the league with a final game against Central Catholic Monday, the Oilers moved on to host Grant in a doubleheader Friday evening. The game hadn’t been played as of press time, but it was a win-or-go-home situation for both teams.
“I think we’ll match up real well with Grant,” coach Erich Harjo said this week. “If we win Friday, and I’m confident we will, we’ll move on to face a higher seed in the tournament, which will be a good test for the team. We’ve played consistent all summer, especially defensively. The boys have been playing exceptional defense, which is something we’ve been working on the last few years.”
If the Oilers finish in the top two in the tournament they’ll advance to the state playoffs later this summer. Even if they don’t make it that far, however, the team will have played at least 30 games this summer, which Harjo notes is an invaluable part of building a successful program for the high school.
“During the high school season, there isn’t a team at the state playoffs that doesn’t have a summer program,” he said.
Being able to transition from the high school season in the spring straight into summer ball means Harjo has about six months straight to work with his squad. This year’s summer team is basically next spring’s varsity team, including incoming seniors Ty Bofferding, Luke Kopecky, Nick Weekly, Ryan Colesar, Kyle Beam and Dylan Jones.
“These guys will be our leaders next year,” Harjo said. “They have already done a good job and are showing ownership of the team. This season it’s hard to pinpoint anyone because they’ve all done very well, but some standouts have been Ty Bofferding, who has been very hot on the mound, Cody Walker who has been hot pretty much everywhere, Ryan Colesar, who has made huge strides this season and Kyle Beam, who has had another phenomenal summer.”
The Carson Oilers, sponsored by Carson Oil Inc., is a longtime summer team that was once part of the American Legion program.