PHS freshman Caleb Babcock is hitting .500 through four games for the Warriors. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School baseball team is hitting .327 and has a team ERA of 3.23 through its first four games this season. The Warriors are off to a 2-2 start with wins over Marshfield and Valley Catholic and losses to Santiam Christian and Hillsboro.

Freshman Caleb Babcock, junior Mason Stearns, sophomore Logan Matthews and sophomore Brady Russell are all off to hot starts with the bat. Babcock and Stearns are both hitting .500 while Matthews is at .444 and Russell at .400. Senior Ty May has a team-high six RBIs and has hit the only home run so far. Babcock has the top slugging percentage at .500.

On the mound, senior Brayden Shenk has started two games and sports a 2.03 ERA with 14 strikeouts and five walks. Senior David Griffith and Stearns have the other two starts. Griffith has a 0.00 ERA with no earned runs in four innings. Stearns has a 2.00 ERA with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Philomath’s two losses were both winnable games. The Warriors had a 7-1 lead at one point against Santiam Christian and the game against Hillsboro was tight all the way with the opponent taking advantage of PHS errors in the first inning. Santiam Christian, by the way, was in Arizona over the past several days to compete in a tournament in Mesa. The Eagles won two of three games.

Philomath’s upcoming schedule includes Madras at home on Monday and then a road trip on April 7-8 with games against Mazama and Henley. Madras is currently 3-2 and hosting a tournament with games Thursday vs. Klamath Union and Friday vs. Sisters.

No unbeatens remain in the Oregon West Conference with all six teams having at least one loss. Newport is off to a good start at 5-1 with two of those victories (Marshfield, North Bend) coming by one run. The Cubs beat Seaside on Wednesday, 8-5. The team’s one loss came to Taft, 1-0. Stayton is scheduled to play Thursday against Marist Catholic and Friday against Crescent Valley — heading into those games at 3-1. The Eagles’ only loss came in their opener vs. No. 1 Gladstone, 2-1, and the wins have all been by significant margins.

Micah Matthews will reportedly participate in the Summit Decathlon on Friday and Saturday. (File photo by Hollyn Kampfer)

Matthews in decathlon

PHS senior Micah Matthews will be competing in the Summit Decathlon on Friday and Saturday. Matthews has the type of all-around athletic ability that translates well into decathlon points. He already holds the school record with 4,979 points, which he set last summer at the Junior Olympic meet in Gresham.

Philomath High’s track and field teams will head down to Marist Catholic in Eugene to compete in a nine-school invitational. The Warriors and the host school will go up against Bandon, Churchill, Creswell, Glendale, Junction City, North Douglas and South Umpqua. The field events start at 10 a.m. and the track events begin 90 minutes later at 11:30.

The Warriors will be hosting their meet on April 8. The meet gets started at noon (so yes, you have time to hit the Easter egg hunt at the rodeo grounds) with the field events and 1 p.m. for the running events. This meet is likely going to run at least until 5:30 to 6 p.m.

One of the interesting events that Coach Joe Fulton adds to his home meets is the “throwers relay” at the end of the day. Philomath might be pretty good at this event — the team has discus and javelin throwers and shot putters who have also shown some speed.

By the way, Fulton usually needs volunteers for these home meets. Email him if you’re interested.

Softball notches victory

The PHS softball team had a rough start to the season with six straight losses but the Warriors finally turned the corner Tuesday and defeated Brookings-Harbor, 14-11.

It would be understandable if the Warriors are frustrated because they could very easily be 4-3, maybe even 5-2, instead of 1-6. Philomath had that stinging 17-16 loss to Junction City after having a 10-run lead going into the bottom of the fifth. The team played close ones but lost to Ashland (14-11) and Dayton (10-9) in the Medford tournament.

A check of the team’s season statistics shows a batting average of .292. Three players are hitting .400 and above with junior Ahnika Tryon and sophomore Jenae Traglia both sitting at .500. Senior Kaylie Kohler has a .412 batting average. Tryon has a team-high eight RBIs and three triples.

The team’s pitching and fielding have been the two main culprits in the losses. Philomath has a team ERA of 10.40. Tryon has been the most consistent with a 4.50 ERA in 9-1/3 innings of work.

Baseball, softball polls

Philomath had been ranked No. 5 in the preseason baseball coaches poll but the Warriors dropped out in the one released on Monday (before the team had played in the Newport tournament). Henley and Marshfield also dropped out. Two of the three teams that replaced PHS, Henley and Marshfield in the top 10 are from the Oregon West — No. 6 Stayton and No. 8 Newport. Then there’s Scappoose, which debuted all the way up at No. 4.

Gladstone is in the No. 1 spot followed by La Grande and Hidden Valley.

In the softball coaches poll, two Oregon West teams hold down the 1-2 spots with Cascade and Stayton. The Cougars have a 3-1 record with their lone loss coming to an unbeaten 5A Ridgeview squad. The Eagles have a 4-1 record with their setback coming to 5A Lebanon, a team that also beat Philomath in the season opener. Stayton has games Thursday vs. The Dalles and Friday vs. Pleasant Hill and South Umpqua.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.