NEW COACH: The long-time Gresham assistant gets his first chance at the varsity level

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Darrin Elkins has been named head baseball coach at Estacada High, taking on a program that reached the 4A final in 2016.

Long-time East County assistant coach Darrin Elkins is getting his shot to lead a varsity baseball program after being named head coach at Estacada High earlier this spring.

"The talent level steps up with varsity, and it's a chance to be in charge and see if I can be successful," Elkins said.

He spent a decade working with the sub-varsity teams at Gresham High before taking on the jayvee team at Reynolds last year.

Elkins replaces Andrew Higgins, who has moved to Astoria.

The Rangers have been a regular playoff qualifier at the 4A level and played in the state championship game in 2016.

"Estacada is a strong community and they have the facilities and handle themselves well. There is a lot of support for the program," Elkins said. "There is a lot of interest in baseball. We were able to field three teams this year and actually had to cut some kids."

Elkins inherited a team with nine seniors. He was able to guide preseason pitcher-catcher workouts, then got through tryouts and about a week of practice before the OSAA suspended its spring seasons.

"We were just about to get going and all of this came to a head," Elkins said.

He hopes to utilize speed on the diamond with contact hitting and aggressive base running.

"I want us to be fast paced and put pressure on defenses," Elkins said. "I like to use small ball to get things going."

This story is scheduled for our April 2, print edition.

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