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Deluxe Brewing Wild Beavers Post Incredible Season in Willamette Valley 40+ Division

Willamette Valley MSBL (OR), 40+ Division

Back row, L to R: Mike Jefferis, Bill Hand, Marc Wironen, Deron Kosoff, Andrew Koll, Matt Williams, Garrett Vogler, Chuck Noone. Front row, L to R: Brian Mills, Kip Carlson, Joe Kennedy, Jerry Daniels, Steve Lundeberg. Not pictured: Pete Bauer, John Steeves, J.D. Hankins, Rod Snyder, Eric Cheney 

‘Beavers Post Exceptional Season in Oregon’

Submitted by Steve Lundeberg

One of the longest-tenured franchises in the Willamette Valley Men’s Baseball League rode a revamped roster, look and team name to its most successful season in 15 years in 2017.

The Deluxe Wild Beavers, formerly the AlbaCor Beavers (named for the two Oregon towns out of which they are based, Albany and Corvallis), finished second in both the league’s regular season and postseason tournament.

Sponsored by Albany’s Deluxe Brewing (which makes an amber lager called Wild Beaver), the club went 9-6 and pushed the league’s perennial power, theBAR, to the limit in the tourney’s championship game, losing 9-8; with the win, theBAR completed an unbeaten season.

The Wild Beavers averaged nearly 10 runs a game while batting a combined .382 with 65 stolen bases in 69 attempts.

Longtime player and first-year manager Brian Mills batted .531 from his second base position to top the league and lead five other Wild Beavers who hit .400 or better: center fielder Joe Kennedy (.513), pitcher/infielder Matt Williams (.500), left fielder Mike Jefferis (.500), left fielder/third baseman Bill Hand (.475) and outfielder/first baseman Andrew Koll (.455 and a league-leading 27 RBIs).

Williams and Jefferis were part of a five-man recruiting class that made its presence felt in all aspects of the game and also included pitcher/outfielder Garrett Vogler (.394), infielder Marc Wironen (.385) and infielder/catcher Jerry Daniels (.357).

In addition to the newcomers, the Wild Beavers feature the league’s two-longest tenured players, outfielder Kip Carlson and catcher/infielder Steve Lundeberg, both of whom completed their 24th season in the league in 2017. Carlson remains one of the league’s most dangerous bunters and reliable ball hawks, while Lundeberg, while playing every inning of the season, was the only player in the league among those qualifying for the batting title never to strike out.

Another veteran, first baseman Deron Kosoff, was one of five Wild Beavers with double figures in RBIs with 12, despite missing time after a first-game collision at the bag left him with a collection of stitches in his left forearm.

Rounding out the roster were solid reserves Pete Bauer, John Steeves, Rod Snyder, Eric Cheney, J.D. Hankins and ageless wonder Chuck Noone, a septuagenarian with a strong arm and line drive swing.

On the mound, Vogler led the league with 13 appearances and 35 2/3 innings pitched, while Williams recorded a league-leading 34 strikeouts in 27 innings.

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