By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The Canyon Crushers, a Salem-Stayton area AAA American Legion baseball team, captured a state title last weekend in Medford.
The team, in its second year, uncorked their offense with six runs on one out in the eighth inning to take the title 8-3 over Grants Pass. The team includes a bevy of former McNary High School players: Justin Gardner, DJ Harryman, Jon Stong, Chris Burger, Ty Wyatt, Kaleb Simpson and Ben Johnson.
The American Legion baseball program is a breeding ground for college-level players and coached by J.J. Mascolo, an assistant coach at Chemeketa Community College.
“It’s exciting to see the growth in our players in just a year. We have done this by establishing a mentality of playing the game hard and making it fun to compete and come to the ballpark everyday with that mentality,” Mascolo said. “Playing more than 40 games in two months can be hard on a teenager, but the key for us is trying to bring good positive energy and an overall excitement of the game to these young players.”
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