Over the years the Hood River Valley High School baseball team has produced some of the best athletes in town that have moved on to play collegiate athletics.
Many players during HRV’s dominant three-year span when the program went to three straight 5A OSAA Baseball Championship games from 2013 to 2015, winning the title in the 2014-15 season, went on to play college baseball including former athletes Skyler Hunter and Kameron Walker.
Hunter, who was a part of the three-year HRVHS championship run, went on to play college baseball at Purdue University in 2017.
As a freshman with the Boilermakers, Hunter received Big Ten All-Freshmen team honors and earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Week title in March of 2017.
After an impressive freshman season, Hunter avoided the “sophomore slump” that many athletes deal with in both college and professional sports and had career-high hitting statistics across the board this past season.
Hunter’s 2018 hitting statistics (all career-highs): .333 batting average; 78 hits; 13 doubles; three triples; one home run; 39 RBI’s; scored 49 total runs; .427 slugging percentage; 14 walks; .385 on base percentage.
One of Hunter’s more impressive performances at the plate this season came on the road versus the University of Maryland on April 20.
Hunter helped lead the Boilermakers to a 7-1 win versus Maryland as he finished with one home run (his only one of the season), one RBI and three hits.
Another standout performance for Hunter that came in a victory for the Boilermakers was the March 10 matchup between Purdue and Tulane University.
Hunter tied a season high with four RBI’s on two hits in Purdue’s 12-8 win over Tulane.
His other four RBI game last season was versus Purdue Fort Wayne University on May 8, when he knocked in four runs on two hits, while also scoring two runs and walking once; Purdue beat Fort Wayne 27-3 and it was the Boilermakers 12th win during its season high 13-game win streak.
Purdue headed into the Big Ten Tournament last season as the number two overall seed with a 34-18 overall record and a 17-6 conference record, behind only the University of Minnesota with an 18-4 conference record.
The Boilermakers advanced to the Big Ten Championship game and would fall to Minnesota in the title game by a final score of 6-4.
Hunter was one of six Boilermakers to receiver All-Tournament team honors.
Purdue received a bid into the NCAA Regional Championship but would be eliminated from College World Series contention after suffering an 8-4 loss to the University of Houston.
Purdue finished last season with a 38-21 overall record and a 17-6 conference record.
A former teammate of Hunter’s on the baseball field at HRVHS, during both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, was Kameron Walker.
Walker, a senior on the Eagles championship team in the 2014-15 season, took his talents to Linfield University following HRV’s championship run.
Much of Walker’s time during his first two seasons with the Wildcats was at the junior varsity level, but last season he earned the opportunity to move up and play with the varsity program.
Walker pitched as relief in eight games for the Wildcats this season and ended with a record of 1-1.
Linfield won five of the eight games Walker appeared in.
Walker totaled 13 strikeouts this season, with a season high of four versus California Lutheran University.
In 16 innings pitched this season, Walker allowed 19 hits, seven hits, seven runs and finished with an ERA of 3.94.
After opening conference play 8-7 to begin the year, Linfield finished the season 8-1 in conference, including an eight-game winning streak heading into Northwest Conference tournament play.
Linfield, with a 16-8 conference record, was awarded the second-seed in the Northwest Conference behind Pacific Lutheran University (18-7).
The Wildcats opened the tournament with three-straight losses and would be placed in the consolation bracket of the Northwest Conference tournament, where they would go 2-1 overall and end the season with a 16-3 victory over Puget Sound University.
The Wildcats finished the 2017-18 season with a 24-18 record and a 16-8 conference record.