Renewed confidence drives Eagle baseball to succeed

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

March 17, 2007

Spring is slowly creeping into the air, and with it, confidence is creeping into the Hood River Valley High School baseball team.

The team opened its season with a 10-8 win over former Intermountain League rival Madras on Tuesday, rallying from an early deficit to get the victory.

The win is the first of many that first-year Head Coach Chris Albertson, “Albie” to his team, hopes to record during his time in Hood River.

“Hood River is a great place and I hope to be here awhile,” Albertson said, as the team went through practice on Wednesday. “This program need consistency and stability and it will be just fine. I’m looking to bring that to the program.”

Albertson emphasizes having his players improve every time they are on the field, whether it be during practice or a game.

To that end he has them working on fundamentals, such as bunt defense, learning signs and how to be effective base runners.

For his players, it is a strategy they would like to see pay off.

“He pushes us hard but he’s also easygoing,” senior Robbie Kloster said.

Kloster would like to see the team make the playoffs this season and continue to demonstrate the intensity that he has seen in practice and during the Madras game.

“They’re more focused and a lot more settled down,” he said of his teammates. “They know what to do.”

If the Eagles are going to make a run at one of the Mount Hood Conference’s playoff berths and improve off of last season’s 8-17 record and last-place finish in the IMC, several elements are going to have to fall into place.

Albertson does not have anyone established as his No. 1 starting pitcher yet, and knows that players are going to have to step up and fill the holes the team has in its pitching staff.

“I don’t know who is going to step up yet,” he said. “We still need a lot to look at.”

Offensively the bats of Elliott Sherrell and Thomas Nickel will lead the team, while Shay Huskey at shortstop and Chase Munos in center field will be the defensive stalwarts for the team.

Albertson describes Huskey as a “vacuum” in the infield and has been impressed by the feel that Munos has for the outfield so far this year.

Munos knows that the Eagles are going to have develop their pitching, but is confident that the team is well-built all around.

“Everyone has grown up from last year,” he said. “We need pitching and then we’ll be solid.”

A solid pitching staff is not the only thing Albertson would like to see installed this season.

He is currently working to get the team a new scoreboard, to replace the current non-functioning model.

Currently, several thousand dollars have been raised toward the new scoreboard, but more is needed to cover the cost.

“We are looking for someone or multiple people to help out,” he said.

Albertson was an assistant coach at Barlow the last four years, and knows the layout of the teams in the Mount Hood Conference well.

He thinks that the Eagles have as good a chance at anyone to contend for a playoff spot. The Central Catholic Rams took the league title last year with a 20-7 overall record, but 10 conference wins could be enough to get a playoff spot. The Eagles can at least take heart in knowing than they should fare better than Parkrose, the team they replace in the conference, which finished last season winless.

Regardless of how things shake out at the end of the season, the Eagles are feeling confident, stable and pumped up to take on this season’s challenges as the year gets underway.

“We have a lot of potential,” Albertson said. “We can be as good as these guys want to be.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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