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OSU baseball scrimmage a hit

Mark Winner brought his two sons to the Oregon State baseball scrimmage for many reasons.

However, none were more significant than the opportunity to spend some quality bonding time at the ballpark.

Winner sat side-by-side with Michael, 14, while 4-year-old Nathan played in the dirt beneath the portable bleachers on Saturday at Harry & David Field, where the Orange and Black squads finished with a 7-7 tie after 10 innings.

"These guys have had the flu recently, so getting them out of the house on a day like today is a good day," said Mark Winner, 47, who is a volunteer baseball coach at South Medford High School.

Of course, Winner, who graduated from Eagle Point High School in 1981 and later played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton, enjoys studying the finer details of college baseball.

"When you have a winning program like they have right now, they're obviously doing something right," he said. "I'd just like to see how they swing the bat, how they throw the ball, how they field."

There was no better opportunity than Saturday, when fathers and sons sat across the stadium in weather that was nearly perfect for the first eight innings before clouds rolled in. There was even a moment of laughter when Michael Winner said that while he enjoyed watching college baseball — and, of course, hanging with dad — he was an Oregon Ducks fan in general.

"I don't really like the Beavers all that much," said the teenage Winner, whose father did a double-take.

However, there were plenty of Beaver fans in attendance, including 35-year-old Dwayne Adams of Ashland.

Adams doesn't have any strong ties to Oregon State. He operates a farm and since the university has a well-known agriculture program, that has evoked Adams' affection for the Beavers.

"There's a lot of Beaver power here today," he said. "I'm mainly a football fan, but I'm here to support the Beavers."

The loudest cheers from the several hundred spectators came when the three local boys — North Medford's Rob Folsom, Ashland's Sam Gaviglio and South Medford's Logan Boyd — were introduced and their accomplishments during stellar careers for the American Legion Medford Mustangs were announced.

Resting a tired shoulder, Gaviglio, a sophomore pitcher, did not play in the scrimmage. Boyd, an undergraduate assistant coach who completed his playing eligibility last season, coached third base for a while.

Meanwhile, Folsom, a senior utility player, put on a show for his home fans.

In his first at-bat, Folsom lined a first-pitch two-run single up the middle to give the Orange squad a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Folsom also drew a full-count walk and hit an infield single to leadoff the 10th inning in his final at-bat.

"It was just nice to get so much support from people around the community and be a part of Beaver nation," said Folsom, who finished 2 for 4 with the two RBIs. "It's fun to build a fan base, so hopefully they enjoyed it."

It was one of several standout performances highlighted by Oregon State coach Pat Casey, who first wanted to acknowledge the City of Medford for hosting the scrimmage and said he'd love to return for future contests.

"Beautiful day, beautiful weather, ballpark was in fantastic shape, we really, really enjoyed it," Casey said. "Southern Oregon has been a hotbed for good athletes and we just love the connection we have down here."

He singled out the Beavers' miscues — misplaying and throwing away balls that led to errors, not throwing to the proper cutoff man and a lack of communication at times — as areas of emphasis as the program wraps up fall practices.

But all-in-all, the veteran coach said things couldn't have gone much better for the team's first visit to Medford.

"I thought we made some good plays," Casey said. "I also thought we had some situational defense that we could have cleaned up.

"Getting a chance to play in a live scrimmage situation in front of a great crowd is fun for our guys."

Reach reporter Shawn Miller at 776-4469, or e-mail smiller@mailtribune.com

Oregon State's Brett Casey signs autographs for young fans during Saturday's scrimmage at Harry & David Field. - Sean Jeter