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Rogues eager for return

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Medford embarks upon its 10th summer season Thursday with high hopes

When Dave May and his wife Tabitha purchased the Medford Rogues from their business partner, the dreams of what they could do to make the collegiate wood-bat summer baseball program even more successful seemed limitless.

That was three months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic taking root in 2020.

Ever since then, the May family has done everything in their power to cobble together baseball seasons under immense restrictions to help provide this community an outlet for entertainment amid trying times.

Come Thursday night, however, it will be back to baseball and a return to normalcy at Harry & David Field as the Medford Rogues embark on their 10th season here in Southern Oregon.

The Rogues open a three-game homestand against the Seattle Studs at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, with tickets available for purchase at medfordrogues.com.

“From a personal standpoint, the both of us — and I’m speaking for my wife, too — are really excited to see what that’s about and have the full season of chaos,” said Dave May, who also serves as general manager while Tabitha May is director of operations.

“We don’t have any restrictions and we can really see what we’re made of as far as a promotional team, entertainment, food and beverage and all those things that go beyond the baseball,” he added. “I’m really excited to test our back-end team a little bit and see what we’re made of, on and off the field.”

On the field, third-year Rogues manager Bill Rowe returns with associate head coach Parker Berberet to provide further stability to what will be an independent season for Medford that features 36 home dates over nine weeks of play that wraps up July 30.

“It’s nice to have that continuity and that friendship, truly,” May said of the returning coaches, who were former players and assistant coaches at Oregon State. “I consider our coaches great friends of ours, and that’s really unique. I’m super proud and humbled to call those guys my friends and on top of that my co-workers and everything that goes on down here at the ballpark.

“I wouldn’t want any other guys leading this team or surrounding these athletes than coach Rowe and coach Berberet. They are the best in the business as far as we’re concerned.”

Under Rowe’s direction, the Rogues went 22-8 in 2020 and 33-11 last year, including a franchise-record 21-3 start to the season.

“Obviously we want to have success,” said Rowe, “but the goal is always just getting these guys healthy and ready to go for their next college season.”

At the heart of Medford’s success, according to May and Rowe, has been the vetting of players to put together the right combination for each summer.

“Our coaches do a very good job of getting good guys in here, not just on the field but good in our community,” said May. “We want players to come to Medford who represent us well and represent themselves and their schools well, and when we do that obviously we tend to click and tend to play better on the field.”

Rowe said that culture stems from experiences at Oregon State and trying to match the family atmosphere of a program built by Pat Casey and chugging along smoothly these days under Mitch Canham.

“When other guys are pulling for each other, that’s really when the most amazing stuff happens,” said Rowe. “We’ve seen that even in the last two seasons working with the Rogues.”

Dedicated Rogues fans will see the return of 10 players to complement 28 newcomers, with all trickling in over the coming few weeks depending on their current team status. Players coming from OSU and UC Santa Barbara open NCAA regionals this week, and others are still finishing up with their finals.

Returning to the Rogue Valley this summer will be infielders Emiliano Alarcon, Mike LaVigne and Drew Kaatz, the Henry brothers — Griffin (pitcher) and Grant (infielder) — and pitchers Jack Erickson, Sebasten Boivin, Jacob Memmott, Eamon Velarde and Camden Stephens.

Alarcon hit .261 with 17 runs and 18 RBIs last summer and LaVigne provided a spark with 33 runs, 13 RBIs and a .315 batting average.

Griffin Henry logged the second-most innings at 36 1/3 to go with a 3-to-1 ratio in strikeouts to walks — leading the Rogues in strikeouts for a second straight summer (39) — while Stephens won three games and Erickson led Medford with four saves.

Memmott, who like Boivin is a Crater High product, went seven straight relief appearances — 11 innings overall — without allowing an earned run at one point last season.

To help commemorate their 10th anniversary, the Rogues will have 19 promotional giveaways in their 36 home dates and fireworks displays this Friday and June 30. Saturday’s festivities involve a Rogues jersey auction.

Among other promotions, Monday games involve free general admission to the first 800 people and Tuesdays carry $3 ticket offers.

Single-game ticket pricing on regular game nights, subject to availability, range from $10 (bleachers) to $13 (strike zone seating).

“I’m just super excited for all those possibilities of what could be and what will be this summer,” said May. “It should be fun.”

For more info, go to medfordrogues.com or contact the front office at 541-973-2883.

Have a local story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Medford Rogues owner/GM Dave May stirs up the crowd during a late-season contest last summer.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Medford Rogues manager Bill Rowe will be in his third season with the team in 2022. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Pitcher Jacob Memmott, (33). Photo by Denise Baratta
Emiliano Alarcon passes second base. Photo by Denise Baratta