Baseball is never far from the minds of brothers Eric and Nate Fogle.
The two grew up playing the game from Little League into college, and baseball continues to follow them now as high school coaches and businessmen.
"We live and breath and talk baseball," older brother Eric said.
Born almost 10 years apart, Eric remembers some intense backyard whiffle ball battles growing up.
Eric was first through Centennial High, graduating as a three-sport athlete (football, wrestling and baseball) in 1994.
"Coming into my senior year we were ranked to finish sixth (football) in the Mount Hood, and we ended up winning it all and making it to the quarterfinals," Eric said. "I remember beating Gresham on their home turf for the title — that was a big game."
He made all-state as a punter and defensive linemen and went onto to play both football and baseball at Southern Oregon. That is also where his coaching career began when the college started up a club baseball team and named Eric its coach.
"Southern created a club team, so there I was as a head coach at 20 years old, dealing with all of these adult situations when I was just really just a kid," Eric said. "That taught me about all the pieces that are required when you are building a program."
Meanwhile, Nate served as the ace on the Eagles' pitching staff before graduating in 2002. The summer before his senior year he shut down a Jesuit team that was coming off a state quarterfinal appearance.
"A scout came up after and talked to me — from that moment I knew I had the potential to do something with the sport," Nate said.
He would go onto to pitch at Oregon State where he was part of the Beavers' College World Series team in 2005. Nate went on to pitch in 37 games over three years in the minors.
With their playing days behind them, both Eric and Nate have stepped into the prep coaching ranks. Nate was head coach with Eric as an assistant as the brothers guided the program at Parkrose for several years.
"I remember asking for a show of hands for anyone who won five games in a season — no hands went up," Eric said.
Low numbers prompted both to seek out other options. Nate has landed at La Salle Prep where he has spent the past four seasons — two as pitching coach and the last two as head of the program. The Falcons won a 5A playoff game last spring.
"Baseball has been really good to me my whole life, so now I'm trying to create positive experiences for my players through baseball," Nate said.
Eric is back on the field he once played on, just completing his second year as head coach at Centennial.
He has also been pivotal in the formation of the Mt. Hood Select summer program, which has grouped several eastside schools together to form an off-season club.
"Everyone was begging for players, but no one had enough to form summer teams on their own," Eric said. "If you want to play baseball, I don't care where you are from our doors are open. We had 19 kids when we started the summer and at Game 42 we still had those 19 kids."
The dueling coaches have faced off against each other only once in a summer Futures game. Both admit that Nate is the baseball strategy expert, while Eric is stronger in the areas of administration.
"It adds a different dynamic. We both want to win, but it's friendly. I have to point out what he's doing wrong," Nate laughs.
The brothers are also co-workers at Valley Athletics — a baseball supplies company that Eric created in 2009.
"It started out selling dirt out of my house, and now we have 13 employees and stretch across the United States," Eric said.
The company does all things baseball, including its foundations in field care and expanding into the apparel industry.
"When you show up with new uniforms, you just see kids' eyes light up," Eric said. "Giving back to my community means so much to me — it's one of the things I take the most pride in."
The company is currently working to rebuild the high school fields in Corbett.
"We were a Northwest company just three or four years ago, but Nate has us taking a broader approach with some visionary things that have helped us grow leaps and bounds," Eric said.
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