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Roseburg team happy to settle down in Spokane

Cameron Newell packs a big punch for Roseburg. Here he takes his cuts Wednesday afternoon at Al K. Jackson field. (Dan Pelle)
Cameron Newell packs a big punch for Roseburg. Here he takes his cuts Wednesday afternoon at Al K. Jackson field. (Dan Pelle)

The Roseburg (Ore.) Docs American Legion baseball team has adopted Spokane as its temporary hometown.

Considering they’ve been essentially on the road for three weeks, they’re glad to be stationed in one place for more than a few days.

Roseburg’s odyssey, which landed it in the World Series that begins Friday at Avista Stadium, began in Newberg, Ore., at the state-qualifying tournament.

Then it was on to Klamath Falls and state.

At both tournaments, Roseburg dropped into the consolation bracket and had to work its way back through to advance. At state, that meant beating 2009 ALWS runner-up Medford twice.

“For about the last three weeks they’ve played with their backs to the walls,” Roseburg coach Scott Shaver said. “We’ve played a lot of must-win ballgames. We’re very tough for a team to beat twice.”

The Docs changed their pattern at the Northwest Regional last weekend. They went 5-0 and only had to rally from one significant deficit.

“In the American Legion system, as long as you’re tough to beat twice you’ve got a good shot at winning,” Shaver said. “That’s what this team has done well.”

They’ve followed Shaver’s simple credo: grind and keep grinding.

It’s something Shaver mentioned daily at the regional tournament. And to a player, the Docs believe in the message.

“That’s what we do no matter what the situation is,” first baseman/pitcher Josh Graham said.

Center fielder Cameron Newell described the Docs as road warriors.

“We went down to Klamath Falls to end our league schedule,” Newell said. “Then we ended up going back to Newberg two days later and stayed up there three nights. Then we came back and two days later went back down to Klamath Falls. We were down there for five days. We got a day off, had a day of practice and then left at 4 in the morning last Wednesday to come up here. In the end I think it’s really helped us.”

The Docs celebrated their regional championship Tuesday with a trip to Silverwood.

“They needed a day off, a little break from being on the road and a chance to be kids,” Shaver said.

They practiced Wednesday at Al K. Jackson field and will get a chance to practice briefly at Avista Stadium before the ALWS begins Friday.

The way Newell sees it, there’s no reason why they can’t continue their run at the ALWS.

“Every team has a great chance obviously,” said Newell, who led the Docs at regionals with a .563 average. “It’s the top eight teams in the country. It’s a great feeling to be one of those eight teams. But I think if we keep swinging the bats and pitching it well we have a good shot.”

Graham agreed.

“Winning the state championship was plenty of excitement for our team. Then we came here and said we have another job to do (at regionals),” Graham said. “The team is peaking at the right time. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Shaver looked back, admitting he had some doubts just a couple of weeks ago.

“Did I think we could get this far at certain times?” Shaver asked. “No. It was a long, long road, but these guys climbed out. We take it every inning, every pitch. With this team anything is possible. This team can play with anybody. These kids have done everything anybody expected them to do already. Everything we do from now on is gravy. We’re just going to keep playing the way we can.”

Shaver hopes the Docs’ stay in Spokane continues through early next week.

“It’s been a great place and we’ve had great experiences,” he said. “We’ve met a lot of nice people, too.”