Dayton’s Letney shines in All-Star Game
By DEVIN STAEBLER
Of the News-Register
Roy Helser Field at Linfield College was the final place a select group of high school baseball players would play at the prep level. For some, it was the final time they would play at any level.
For Dayton’s Caleb Letney, the 28th Annual Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Association 3A/2A/1A All-Star Game on Saturday and Sunday was a fitting end to his high school career.
“It was a great experience, I never expected to be in this game and to play at Linfield was great,” said Letney.
The two teams were split geographically into east and west teams. A doubleheader was played on Saturday afternoon, while the third and final game took place on Sunday afternoon. All three games were played to nine innings.
The all-star game experience was not lost on Letney, who suited up for the West team.
“Being able to play baseball one last time was amazing and making new friends was a great part of being here,” he said.
Letney proved to be a heady player at the plate. He was patient and took the east pitchers deep into the count, getting walked numerous times. Letney showed more awareness on base, as he reached third numerous times. Letney even showed off some shifty dodging moves in the second game, when a teammate hit a shot right at him down the third baseline.
During the short time the west team was together, a great deal of camaraderie was formed. This came on display Sunday in the bottom of the seventh inning of game three when a rain delay came into effect. To keep the fans entertained, the West team decided to put on a little show. 10 players set up at home plate like bowling pins, Letney got on all fours as a teammate “rolled” him towards the “pins.” Letney was able to knock all 10 “pins” down for a perfect strike.
This baseball season didn’t exactly go as planned for Dayton and Letney. The Pirates season ended with an 11-12 overall record and a 4-0 loss to Glide in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. The Pirates did finish 9-3 in the West Valley League, including a five-game win streak from late April to early May. Letney led the way with an impressive .458 batting average in WVL play.
Going into the playoffs, Dayton was ranked 14th in 3A and a number 13 seed.
“This last season didn’t go how we wanted, but I am proud of my time there,” said Letney.
Letney will be attending Linfield in the fall and plans on studying exercise science in pursuit of a career in physical therapy.
“I’m going to try out for the Linfield team and hopefully continue play this game,” he said.