STANFIELD — Stanfield pitcher Dylan Grogan knows just what to expect when he toes the rubber at Volcanoes Stadium in the OSAA 3A baseball state championship.
He’s been there before.
Not as a player, though. Grogan was a bat boy when the 2011 Tigers beat No. 1 Portland Christian 3-1 in Keizer for the program’s first title.
“It’s kind of weird. The last time I was there I was watching my brother play,” he said during the team’s penultimate practice at Madigan Field. “That’s just special for me, just playing there where my brother did.”
Grogan is one of four younger brothers looking to follow in his older sibling’s footsteps when No. 3 Stanfield takes on No. 1 Santiam Christian on Friday at 5 p.m.
Grogan’s brother Quin pitched the complete game in 2011, and Dylan goes into the start fresh after throwing just four innings total in the postseason thanks to great starts by Brody Woods and solid relief by Tony Flores.
“My arm feels great. I was glad Brody (Woods) got to do it all by himself (in the semifinals) pretty much,” Grogan said, adding he’s gotten some good advice on how to handle the championship pressure from a knowledgeable source. “My brother Quin told me, ‘When you’re pitching don’t worry about the batter. The batter fails seven out of every 10 at-bats.’ I was thinking about that, and it’s true. He’s just been telling me to keep a positive attitude for the team.”
Catcher Thyler Monkus also was a bat boy for that 2011 team, which featured his brother Derek. Utility Adrian Renner’s older brother Dominic also was on that team, and first baseman Ryan Bailey’s brother Devin was the second half of a lethal 1-2 punch on the mound.
“He left his (championship) ring in my room when he moved out,” Ryan Bailey said. “I look at it every day and I can just imagine having one of those. It’s a big motivating factor right there.”
Stanfield coach Bryan Johnson is reprising his role from that 2011 title game, and reminded the Tigers of some bragging rights they could claim as well.
“I said you can kind of one-up them a little bit because this is 3A and that was 2A/1A.”
Like their older siblings, the current group of Tigers must beat the bracket’s No. 1 team.
It’s a rematch of a game Santiam Christian won 2-1 on April 21 with a two-run walk-off home run hit by Dru Draper with two outs. It was just the second hit of the game allowed by Grogan.
It was also the last time Stanfield was defeated this season, and the Tigers (28-2) enter the game on a 13-game winning streak.
“It was our last loss, and what we’re looking for now is revenge, basically,” said Tigers senior Jason Fitzpatrick.
Draper pitched the entire game against the Tigers, and is the expected starter on Friday. He struck out four, walked two, and held the Tigers to just three hits. Stanfield’s only run off Draper came when Monkus reached base and advanced to third on back-to-back errors, then Grogan singled him in.
“He likes to jam you a lot. I’ll be working on stuff to help me be aware for that this time around,” Fitzpatrick said. “It seemed like we had trouble seeing the ball more than anything.”
“He really could hit his spots, hitting inside and outside, he was really keeping us off balance,” Bailey said. “We’ve got to respect that, but we’ve got to come out swinging and hit it where it’s pitched.”
Stanfield has scored 52 runs in four postseason games including the district championship, and
“(Draper) mixes it up a little bit and he’s got a pretty good fastball, kind of sneaks up on you,” Johnson said. “He’s just a competitor and he’s had a lot of success.
“If we keep swinging like we have been, I like our chances.”
Stanfield has scored 52 runs in four postseason games including the district championship, but Santiam Christian (25-3) has given up just nine total in the same span with most of those coming in a 7-6 win over Horizon Christian in their district final.
“It’s going to be a good game this time around, that’s for sure,” Fitzpatrick said.
The game will be broadcast live on the radio at KOHU 1360 AM. Live video will also be available for a fee at NFHSnetwork.com.
Contact Matt Entrup at email@example.com or (541) 966-0838. Follow him on Twitter @mattentrup.