Eric Savage is pumped up to see how the pieces of his 2019 Roseburg Dr. Randol’s Class A American Legion baseball team will fit together.
Savage, a 2006 graduate of South Umpqua High School, played Legion ball for Dr. Stewart’s. He replaces Noah Miller, an Elkton grad and ex-Docs player, as head coach.
Savage taught in Glendale this school year and was the athletic director at the high school. The Canyonville resident will teach second grade in Myrtle Creek this fall.
Dr. Randol’s will have seven players from Glide High on its roster, three each from Umpqua Valley Christian and South Umpqua, two apiece from Roseburg and Sutherlin and one from Douglas.
“I was really happy with the draft process we went through this year,” Savage said. “We’re young, so I’m a little worried about the experience part. But we have some good leadership and we’re athletic. We’re pretty fast.
“We put the bat on the ball, and have a lot of arms we can use (to pitch) this season. I think we have a very competitive season in order. The kids are buying into everything so far, so I think we can have a really good season.”
Savage isn’t shying away from expectations. He hopes his team can compete for a berth in the state tournament which will be held at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field in late July.
“Most of all, I want to compete every inning — every out, every pitch,” he said. “We want to make it to Cody, Wyoming (site of the regional tournament). The state tournament will allow for two teams to travel to Cody this year and that’s our goal, we want to play for that regional tournament.”
The Crowns will be joined in the Area 4 North by Roseburg’s Pepsi, North Coos, South Coos and Grants Pass.
Savage plans to take advantage of his club’s speed.
“Our goal is to teach the kids how to put pressure on other teams on the basepaths,” he said. “And utilize that speed in other places, not only offensively but defensively. We want to make teams have to do some things to beat us.
“Arms-wise, we’re not that far away. We have some kids who just need some fundamental help to take them in the right direction. Defensively, there are a lot of things we’ll have to work hard on in order to make us successful.”
Savage expects first baseman CJ Gale and catcher Sam Guastaferro, who played big roles in UVC’s Class 2A/1A state championship run this spring, to be two of the team’s top players. Gale was a first-team all-state selection and Guastaferro was a second-team pick.
“They’re all good kids,” Savage said of the players who participated in the postseason with their respective schools during the spring. “They come from good coaching staffs. I love what UVC and Glide do, as well as Roseburg and Sutherlin. You know they’re getting pushed. The experience of making it to the playoffs is so valuable.”
Listed as pitchers on the Crowns’ roster are Gale, Blake Withers (UVC), Ever Lamm (South Umpqua), Jordan Stevenson (S.U.), Tanner Marlin (Sutherlin), Tanner Lierman (Sutherlin), Caleb Alexander (Glide), Rylan Watkins (Glide), Tryson Melton (Glide), Trevor Short (Glide) and Seth Christian (Douglas).
Rounding out the roster are shortstop/second baseman Troy Jones (Roseburg), third baseman/outfielder Dawson Gillespie (Roseburg), shortstop/second baseman Kade Johnson (S.U.), outfielder Brett Narkiewicz (Glide), catcher Malachi Dunnavant (Glide) and utility Braxton Dill (Glide).
“We hope we can make them better baseball players,” Savage said.
Dr. Randol’s opens its season Wednesday with a nonleague game against Pepsi at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.