Former Colt Straily improving after taking step up to Division I.
Baseball has helped 2006 Thurston High graduate Dan Straily find a home more than 2,600 miles from Springfield.
After pitching for Western Oregon University last year in Monmouth, the 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher transferred to Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., where he has a 3-2 record on the season.
"It's a lot like Oregon, everyone's really nice," Straily said. "It's starting to feel like home out here."
In a recent outing, against East Carolina on April 13, the sophomore starter allowed one run and six hits over seven innings of work. After Straily left the game, East Carolina scored four runs in two innings to win.
Marshall plays in Conference USA, which is a step up from NCAA Division II Western Oregon.
Straily became interested in the Thundering Herd when he played with current Marshall teammates Andrew Blain and Brock Neil on the San Jose Seals, a semi-pro team in the Sierra Baseball wooden bat league, last summer.
Straily was an honorable mention and second-team all-Midwestern League pick in his two years at Thurston after his family moved from Pendleton to Springfield before his junior year.
In 11 appearances at Western last season, Straily had a 1-3 record with 25 strikeouts in 46 1-3 innings pitched. He finished with a 4.66 ERA. Straily's ratio of 1.8 strikeouts per inning pitched was the highest of any starter for the Wolves.
With six to seven starts left in the season, and in three fewer appearances than his total from last year, Straily has more strikeouts (35) in fewer innings (44) while lowering his ERA to 4.50. In his three wins, Straily has an ERA of 0.52.
The longer schedule has changed his approach to pitching.
"You have just got to trust your stuff," he said. "I've started to learn it's a lot more mental than physical at this level."
Straily's stats have improved despite pitching against better teams.
"I think really the biggest difference is I know that last year I had three to four guys that we'd face who were solid, really good hitters, and last weekend against East Carolina it seemed like all of them had .300 batting averages and four home runs," Straily said. "You can't make a mistake against these hitters."
Local preps playing well on the diamond
In Springfield's 12-2 win over Willamette on April 9, it was the Meza sisters' show.
Infielder Kayla had two doubles and three RBIs, while her sister Kristina allowed six hits over seven innings.
Across town, Thurston ace Amanda Miller struck out 25 batters in back-to-back games.
In a 5-2 loss to North Eugene on April 10, Miller struck out nine. She came back to strike out 16 Marshfield hitters in a nine-inning pitchers' duel, which the Colts won in the ninth when senior infielder Chloe Alverson drove in the game-winning run
Two standout performances by Thurston hitters Danny Urness and Skip Spencer kept the Colts' MWL title hopes alive. Urness was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Spencer's two-run triple pushed the Colts past North Eugene 8-3 on April 17. After last Friday's game against Highlanders, the two league leaders will meet on May 2.
Springfield sprinter at the top of sprint list
Springfield junior Dusty Jarvis continued his already stellar junior track season with his performances at the Springfield and Willamette dual meet on April 8. Jarvis' time of 10.84 seconds in the 100 meters, a personal record, tied him for the best time in the state, regardless of classification, with Willamette senior Chris Stubbs.
Stubbs and Jarvis tied for first place at the dual meet. They'll face each other in the Midwestern League district meet on May 14 and 16. In the Willamette dual, Jarvis ran another personal best in the 200 with a time of 22.54 - a tenth of a second behind Stubbs.
Thurston senior Taylor Norman isn't far behind Jarvis in the 200. His personal best of 22.68 at a dual meet against Marshfield on April 8 is his second sub-23 second clocking this season. Norman scored points at last year's state meet in the short relay, and might get back to Hayward Field again in the relay if the Colts can hold their fourth-best state time of 44.0.
Sophomore Colt hurdler Omar Jackson held Class 5A's best 300-meter hurdles time for four days after his time of 41.06 won the Marshfield and Thurston dual meet in Coos Bay. The reigning district champion had his time surpassed on Saturday when Marshfield junior Caleb Kruse ran the new best, 40.75.
Three Miller jumpers have crept into the top 10 for Class 5A in the last two weeks, as well. Senior pole vaulter Zach Olson is tied for sixth place with a jump of 12-6 at the Springfield Twilight Invitational on April 11. The vault was a personal best by two feet. Olson's mark is the third-best vault in the MWL, behind two Marshfield vaulters.
Senior long jumper Trent Davis bettered his former personal best at the Springfield Twilight by 21 inches, leaping 21-5. The mark is seventh in Class 5A.
Not to be outdone, junior Miller long jumper Chloe Hunt's personal best of 16-61/2 at the Twilight came three days after she set her previous long jump best at the Springfield-Willamette dual meet. Her jump ranked sixth in the state but third in the district.