Father-son duo lead 3A all-state honors
Rogue River baseball coach John White wasn't quite sure what kind of team he would field this spring.
In reality, though, all he had to do was look across the dinner table and realize the Chieftains might do just fine.
Led by senior first baseman Kelly White, Rogue River broke several playoff droughts after claiming its first league title since 2005.
For their efforts, each White family member was feted by the state's Class 3A baseball coaches in recent all-state voting. John White, in his eighth season at Rogue River, was named 3A coach of the year, while Kelly White nabbed the lone first baseman nod on the all-state first team.
The Chieftains also received a trio of second-team honors with the all-state selections of sophomore Christian Reyes (pitcher), senior Craig Lee (infielder) and Brendan Schoner (outfielder).
"It was a good surprise to have so many of our kids recognized," said John White, whose team advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since 2005 and quarterfinals for the first time since 1989.
"Those four guys basically carried us," added the coach, who was also named the Sunset League coach of the year. "There were other guys that stepped up time to time, but these four guys were consistently on base, scoring runs, driving in runs, playing defense, picking up the young guys and keeping us in the games."
Cascade Christian senior pitcher Ryan Pech also earned second-team all-state recognition, while teammates Garrett Banks (sophomore infielder), Wes Litton (junior outfielder) and Ryder West (junior outfielder) were named to the all-state third team.
Kelly White led the Sunset League in batting with a .507 average to go with 38 RBIs for the champion Chieftains (19-7). The four-year starter finished with 103 RBIs on 113 hits during his prep career.
"It's going to be really tough replacing him next year," said John White. "He's just been an RBI machine since he's been at Rogue River."
The younger White has also only committed three errors since taking over at first base as a freshman, and two of those came early in his senior campaign as he was making a return from a foot injury.
John White was typically more enthused by the honors gained by his players than the one bestowed upon him by his peers.
"It's one of those things that I look at it like it's nice to be recognized for a body of work that you've already done," said the coach, "but for the kids getting these types of honors is like a stepping stone for them. It opens other people's eyes and other avenues for them, so I'm happy for them."
Reyes and Pech were each first-team all-Sunset selections as the leading pitchers for their respective teams.
In his first season as a starting pitcher for Rogue River, Reyes sported an 8-3 record and 2.38 ERA overall, striking out 74 in 682/3 innings.
"He pitched all of our tough games and didn't always get the type of backing that a lot of pitchers really need to get through, but he never lost his composure," said coach White. "He's just one of those kids that's always thinking about the next pitch. He just accepts the challenge and goes back to work."
Pech played a similar role for Cascade Christian, finishing 5-1 in league play and 9-2 overall for the Sunset runners-up. The Challengers (19-9) also advanced to the 3A quarterfinals.
"We knew when he got the ball that we were pretty much going to be in any game he had," said Challengers coach Don Binkley of Pech, who had a 1.13 ERA in league play. "The kids looked up to him as a senior that provided great leadership for us."
Lee made the seamless move from catcher to shortstop this season for the Chieftains and hit .418 with 33 runs scored, while center fielder Schoner hit .420, led the team with 34 runs scored and tied Kelly White for team-high honors with 10 doubles.
"Craig and Christian were the two hardest working kids in the school," said coach White, "Brendan is just one of those guys that would go up there and right off the bat hit the ball hard and get on base. He just made things happen over and over again."
Banks (shortstop), Litton (right field) and West (center field) were first-team all-conference picks and, with Pech, provided Cascade Christian a formidable top half of the lineup.
"Our first four guys just really set the table for what we were able to do this year," said Binkley.
West hit .460 with 25 runs and 13 RBIs in league play, while Litton (.442, 18, 16), Banks (.438, 22, 12) and Pech (.400, 12, 19) weren't far behind.
All-Sunset League Baseball
P — Ryan Pech, Cascade Christian Sr.
P — Christian Reyes, Rogue River So.
P — Kyle Davis, Myrtle Point Jr.
C — Nic Canaday, Myrtle Point Jr.
IF — Jimmy Mack, Bandon So.
IF — Craig Lee, Rogue River Sr.
IF — Brandon Belloir, Glide Sr.
IF — Garrett Banks, Cascade Christian So.
1B — Kelly White, Rogue River Sr.
OF — Brodey Carpenter, Gold Beach Jr.
OF — Josh Palmer, Reedsport Jr.
OF — Brendan Schoner, Rogue River Jr.
OF — Wes Litton, Cascade Christian Jr.
OF — Ryder West, Cascade Christian Jr.
UT — Josh Huskey, Glide Sr.
DH — Heston Altenbach, Coquille Jr.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Kelly White, Rogue River.
COACH OF THE YEAR — John White, Rogue River.
P — Michael Bennett, Bandon So.
P — Darren Taylor, Rogue River Jr.
P — Colton Cochran, Cascade Christian Jr.
C — Steven Spence, Cascade Christian Sr.
IF — Don Swan, Gold Beach So.
IF — Michael Freitas, Rogue River Fr.
IF — Josh Rose, Glide Sr.
IF — Ryan Love, Myrtle Point Jr.
IF — Jacob Miller, Cascade Christian Fr.
IF — Garth Gant, Bandon So.
1B — Jon Thurber, Reedsport So.
OF — Travis Smith, Gold Beach So.
OF — Tom Cermak, Rogue River Jr.
OF — Tyler Gordon, Glide Fr.
OF — Jeff Veysey, Myrtle Point Jr.
UT — Cory Christoffersen, Reedsport Jr.
P — Taylor Palermo, Sr., Reedsport; Jason Atkins, So., Myrtle Point; Jon Binford, Jr., Coquille.
C — Jake Helland, Sr., Bandon; Keifer Garwood, Sr., Rogue River; Will Hissong, Sr., Glide; Garrett Hoffman, Jr., Gold Beach.
IF — Clint Burris, So., Myrtle Point; Austin Robinett, So., Bandon.
1B — Eric Rains, Jr., Myrtle Point.
OF — Josh Artale, Sr., Cascade Christian.
UT — Todd Martin, Jr., Gold Beach.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org