OSU baseball team set for return to Medford
In announcing that the Oregon State baseball team was going to play a fall doubleheader in Medford last October, Medford Rogues owner/general manager Dave May was hopeful that it would become a regular thing.
Turns out the feeling was mutual.
OSU is coming back to Medford once again to play a doubleheader at Harry & David Field, May and the Rogues announced Wednesday.
This time, the Beavers — coming off a 48-18 season and nearly adding another College World Series appearance to their name a year ago — will face Sacramento State in a pair of games Saturday, Oct. 8, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
“To make it an annual thing, obviously it means we did a pretty good job last year and knocked their socks off,” May said. “For that, I am thankful and happy that the impression that we made and the impression the fans and the community made as well made them want to come back and seek us out to play here again.”
Tickets for the Beavers’ second visit to Medford go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23.
And if it’s anything like what May saw last year, the tickets won’t be available for long due to such a high demand.
Tickets sold out in just under an hour last year, according to May.
“I think the community’s response to (OSU’s first visit) is huge,” said May. “I think if only 200 or 300 people had come to last year’s games, Oregon State’s probably not in a position to come back. They want to play in front of people, they’re trying to grow a fan base in this community and this area, so they want to see the stands packed full of people.
“Last year’s turnout really made it to where they are 100% in on coming back to Medford not only this year but in future years as well.”
It was a packed house at Harry & David that saw the Beavers make their first-ever trip to Medford when they faced the University of San Francisco.
It was that atmosphere on the late-October afternoon which left the biggest impression.
“It makes you feel like you’re at home, no doubt about it,” said OSU head coach Mitch Canham at last year’s doubleheader. “Seeing the orange and black support down here, it’s very exciting. Even them ripping the chainsaw for a sound effect (when a run was scored), that was a beautiful touch as well.”
It didn’t take long for those associated with the Oregon State program to express their desire to return.
“The night of,” quipped May. “After the game ended, they were loading up the bus and both teams were telling us how they can’t wait for next year and how successful it was for their programs. Right then and there it’s instant gratification, instant satisfaction that something you’re providing as a small local business goes well and we are putting on a very large Division I sporting event.”
The connection with the Oregon State program is strong within the Rogue Valley itself as well as the Rogues organization.
Rogues manager Bill Rowe was a roommate of Canham during the Beavers’ national championship season in 2006. Rowe was an assistant coach with OSU after his playing days were over in Corvallis, and his top assistant with the Rogues, Parker Berberet, is also an Oregon State alum.
On top of that, Oregon State assistant coaches Rich Dorman and Ryan Gipson are from Medford and Central Point, respectively.
May said another benefit of OSU returning to Medford is another chance to see a few former Rogues back in action at Harry & David Field.
Rogues players from this past summer like pitchers Victor Quinn and David Grewe will find themselves as opponents against Medford teammate Carson Blatnick, their former catcher.
“It will be cool to see how they’ve developed, too,” said May.
Sacramento State has developed into one of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) since head coach Reggie Christiansen took over in 2011.
The Hornets have won at least 30 games in 10 straight season under Christiansen, including a 32-26 mark last season.
Two of Southern Oregon’s top prep baseball players who will play their senior seasons in the spring of 2023, South Medford’s Cameron Sewell and Troy Osborne of Grants Pass, have already given their verbal commitment to play for the Hornets.
“I think that it’s going to be good to have a different team in here that hasn’t really seen it,” said May. “Our Rogues team hosted the Sacramento Saints, which was essentially incoming freshmen at Sac State, so those guys get to come back and check it out. We’re excited to have a different program, a reputable program, a good program here on the West Coast.”
There’s no doubting which program will have the vast majority of the support come Oct. 8.
And seeing that kind of support will bring a smile to the face of many, including May.
“It’s an honor,” said May of having OSU come back for a second year. “It truly is an honor to have a program reach out to us, want to come here and want to spend time in our community, spend time with us and spend time on our field. I’m just honored by it all and I look at last year’s experience of the whole thing and all of the thank yous that we got. We provide a lot of things for them that we don’t have to, but it’s about making the experience better for them.”
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.