Brothers provide one-two punch for Grant baseball
Given that it was the first game at Grant High's new baseball field, the April 12 game between the Generals and West Linn was a special occasion.
Brothers Kaden and Kellen Segel made it unforgettable. Each homered in a come-from-behind 6-4 win.
Kellen Segel's game-tying HR against West Linn came as a pinch-hitter in his first high school at bat. As the sophomore stepped to the plate, he figured West Linn ace Kyle Sullivan, who is committed to the University of Portland, didn't know him and would try to get ahead in the count with a fastball. Kellen was ready.
"I was pretty excited when he goes yard there," said Kaden Segel, a senior. "It was pretty cool. And that was our first game ever playing (baseball) together."
That it happened in front of a good crowd who came out to witness the first game at Grant's new turf field made it all the more satisfying.
"It was fun being in that atmosphere," Kaden Segel said.
So much fun that, two days later, the Segels did it again, each homering in a 13-2 win over Roosevelt.
Then, the Generals' third game produced one more first for the Segel family, as sophomore Kellen pitched a one-hit shutout with senior Kaden catching.
The fast start to the baseball season for the Segel brothers comes despite playing football. Kaden was a starting defensive tackle, while Kellen played safety, punted and was a backup quarterback.
That season ended April 9, three days before the baseball opener.
"It's just incredible to watch them, to see them perform at such a high level coming right from football," Grant coach Matt Kabza said.
But it's no fluke. The Segels are a baseball family and the brothers often visited the batting cage after football practice.
This Grant team has nine seniors who were sophomores the last time there was a high school season. Of that group, shortstop Spencer Scott played varsity baseball as a freshman. He is a future Portland Pilot.
The Generals were 4-0 entering a Wednesday, April 21, game against Cleveland. Kazba said the fast start, outscoring their first three opponents 46-7, is a credit to the work his players did on their own throughout pandemic restrictions.
Kazba said he doesn't have a great feel for the rest of the PIL teams — given that there was no 2020 season and current seniors were sophomores in 2019.
"To say there's some mystery as to how the season could play out is an understatement," Kazba said.
He expects this week's games with Cleveland, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Grant and 4:30 p.m. Friday at Sckavone Stadium, will be competitive. Warriors senior right-handed pitcher and outfielder Logan Geizler is headed to the University of Portland.
Kazba said opening with three wins at the new campus ballpark was especially nice for seniors who have spent their high school years at the Marshall High campus during renovations at Grant High, then spent most of their senior year learning remotely. He said that the first win at the new field was extra special because of the way the Generals won, coming from behind against one of the better teams in the state.
There won't be a formal state tournament, but Kazba said there has been talk about ways to pair up top teams during the culmination week for spring sports that takes place the week of May 17.
For the Segel brothers, the 15-game regular season and whatever comes in the final week will be about sharing a time with teammates and self-improvement.
"Let's just make an impact," Kellen said of the approach to this unique season. "Have fun, get better and send the seniors off with a good season."
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