NORTH BEND — For a handful of North Coos Waterfront baseball players, its regional tournament in Lewiston, Idaho will be a two-sport affair, especially if the team has a successful run in the tournament.
When the Waterfront isn’t playing, a handful of guys, from both Reedsport and North Bend, will don a football helmet and shoulder pads and will work out under the watchful eye of North Bend JV football coach, and parent, Mike Spalding.
Fall practice officially starts Monday in Oregon and football has a specific safety rule that players must work out in helmets and shoulder pads three days before they can get into full-contact drills. So if North Coos makes it all the way to the final day of the tournament, they would miss the first three days.
Thanks to Spalding, the baseball players don't have to make the decision between baseball and football and possibly skip the season-ending tournament.
“I know for the kids it’s frustrating,” North Bend head football coach Gary Prince said. “They want to hit the ground running on Monday, August 13, but they don’t want to let down their teammates and coaches. It’s stressful.”
Fortunately, some allowances have been made.
North Bend and Reedsport aren’t the only two schools affected by baseball tournaments that run well into August. In some parts of the country football practices are well underway, and in others school will start in days.
Peter Weber, who is OSAA Executive Director and handles most rules business, gave Prince the go-ahead to hold satellite practices for players who have athletic commitments elsewhere.
“I appreciate the OSAA and Peter Weber to have this opportunity,” Prince said.
Prince had a chance to talk to North Coos coach Brad Horning and his players about the situation and what he wants from them. It’s not every day you get to play on the field of a college powerhouse, regardless of organization, as North Coos will do at Lewis-Clark State, an NAIA power.
“I just want them to go out, have fun and enjoy something like this,” Prince said. “When we get ‘em, we get ‘em.”
North Coos opens the eight-team regional tournament at 1 p.m. Friday against the Wyoming Cody Cubs. The double-elimination event continues through Tuesday.
All games in the tournament will be broadcast online at www.koze-sports.com.