2020 Rex Putnam Baseball: The Season that Never Was
I understand that this pandemic has had long lasting effects on many families through sickness, job loss, and other truly life changing events. In the grand scheme of things, the loss of baseball isn’t a life changing event for many people.
That said… man, this is a tough pill to swallow. To tell this group of guys that they don’t get to play together one more time is rough. While we never know what the future holds, THIS, had the potential to be THE season. The 2020 RPHS baseball team on paper had a lot of things going for it. Returning pitching, check. Returning starters, check. Speed, check. Upperclassmen, check. Bench depth, check. Incredible coaching, check (haha, sorry, I’m getting stir crazy too). THIS team could hit the ground running because of the work they put in during the offseason. THIS team knew the set plays, the team defense, and the coaches high expectations. THIS team knew where to back up their positions and where their teammates were going to be in all situations. THIS team understood the meaning of taking extra bases while not giving up anything for free. THIS team had known success and what it took to win against elite teams. This team also knew how it felt to come up short in games they could have won; both would have been valuable lessons to pull from in different situations this year. THIS team could have made some serious noise during playoff time. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how it would have all shaken out.
My focus for this article is going to be on the Seniors, but we cannot understate the effect this has on our Junior, Sophomore, and Freshman classes. Those guys will (hopefully) be able to compete in the future, but the loss of a season hurts skill development, recruiting potential, and overall learning of the game. I miss you fellas, but again, we’ll be on the diamond again, and the 2021 team will meet the same standard. That said, onto the Rex Putnam High School 2020 Senior Class.
Tanner Drog – Senior – RHP / 3B Tanner is a baseball player through and through. His mind is always on the game and he will wear your ear out talking about it. He’s got a good stick, a good glove, and his arm conditioning is next level. Despite his uncanny ability to get hurt during freak plays on the field, his love of the game never waivered. I’ll miss Tanner’s commitment and his passion for the game. He is one of our single sport athletes, meaning that Tanner did not get a senior sport season.
Nick Geertsen – Senior – RHP / SS Nick is as solid a baseball player that you will find. If you like consistency, then Nick is the guy. His fundamentals are always sound, whether he’s on the mound, in the infield, or swinging the stick. As a coach I know exactly what to expect from Nick each and every day. That’s invaluable to a coach. I’ll miss Nick’s leadership on the mound, his steady approach to his craft, and his unwavering commitment. Nick is a single sport athlete, meaning he did not get a senior sport season.
John Irish – Senior – Utility To say he is a swiss army knife for us would be an accurate statement. John’s 2020 season probably would have seen him in the OF and a bit at 1B, but he could be found behind the dish and on the hill at times too. I was so excited for John’s senior season because the last two years had been hampered with illness and injury. I’ll miss John’s personality the most. He’s a kid that would be first to run over and say hi to my son, and he’s the first to text to make sure that I’m doing OK with everything. John also played football in the 2019/2020 season.
K.J. Ruffo – Senior – C / RHP KJ is a stud athlete period. He could have excelled at any sport he chose. We were fortunate that he had a love for the game of baseball. In my opinion, he’s the best defensive catcher in the state of Oregon. His collegiate potential might be on the mound as he’s just scratching the surface of his abilities on the hill. This could have been a huge year for KJ, and not being able to be around him for another year is tough. I’ll miss KJ’s high expectations for himself. KJ also played basketball in the 2019/2020 season.
Sam Sholty – Senior – CF Sam is a great guy to have on the team. The coaches like him, the players like him, and he helps keep everything loose. Sam has been penciled in as a CF for two years already and this would have been number three. Sam is a rare kid, a traditional three sport athlete. His summer schedule was always packed and he made every effort to make it to everything. Football workouts – Yep. Summer basketball games – Yep. Baseball in the evenings – Yep. Two on the same day – Yep, Three on the same day – Yep. He just loved to play and loved to be around his teammates. I’ll miss Sam’s love for competition. Sam also played football and basketball in the 2019/2020 season.
If you know any of these seniors. Give em a quick shout. It could have been a great season. – Coach McGowan