The Roseburg Renegades Junior State baseball team is revamped as one of the youngest teams in its history.
After losing to Dallas in the state championship game last summer, the Renegades will play an independent schedule so they won’t be able to participate in the Division 2 state tournament this year. The focus for Roseburg will be on playing Southwest Conference opponents.
The Renegades opened their season today in Springfield at the Thurston tournament. They played Marist at 2 p.m.
The following weekend the Renegades will play in the Clackamas Futures Tournament, which will feature top 6A schools from around the state and includes freshmen and sophomores.
The Renegades have four returners from last year in Caden Smith (a freshman at RHS this past school year), Logan Klopfenstein (eighth grade), Jericho Paul (eighth grade) and Dawson Gillespie (eighth grade).
The rest of the team consists of one other freshman — Jay Baldwin — and 10 other eighth-graders and one seventh-grader.
“They have a year of experience at this level, so we’re going to be relying on Dawson, Logan, Caden and Paul,” said Renegades head coach Tim Sustaire, who’s an assistant coach for the RHS team during the spring. “They have seen it before, so they know what to expect and we’re going to rely a lot on the leadership of those four.”
Smith will be a middle infielder, while Klopfenstein and Gillespie will be the top pitchers. Paul is a catcher.
Sebastian Watson, Kohl Wolford and Knox Hubbard are other players mentioned by Sustaire who’ll contribute this year.
“I’m excited to see those guys compete for some spots,” Sustaire said.
The middle infield will be filled by Nathan Wayman and Dominic Tatone. Braden Steinacher and Silas Kincaid will play in the corner positions.
The outfield includes Klopfenstein, Griffin Zeimet, Carson Dunn, Baldwin, Eli Jacob (the lone seventh-grader) and Garrett Schulze.
Schulze, Zeimet, Paul and Steinacher will see time on the mound.
“There are a lot of unknowns right now. There are some with experience, but some guys didn’t get a lot of playing time,” said Sustaire. “Being in the action will be new for a lot of them.
“This is one of the youngest teams we’ve ever had,” Sustaire added. “A fast team, but we’re down on our size. We can throw it well, but want to continue to get better offensively. It’s a good group, though, a savvy group. I’m excited to get to it this week.”
Tryouts began on June 4 and the team has been practicing every day since then.
The Renegades will be playing against a higher age group at the Philomath tournament later this month.
“Our team has gotten constant support from the community, we’ve been blessed to have support,” said Sustaire. “Beecher Engineering and Chuck Swarm & Family Auto Repair have continued to help us.”
The Renegades will end the season at the Grants Pass tournament July 18-21.