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Cascade Klamath Falls Aces

Members of the Cascade Aces are, back row from left, Sara Martin, Kirsten Morgan, Ella Baley, Cami Hudson, Maddie Sheadel, Tyler McNeley and Abby Smith. In the front row are Jocelyn Hanan, Alexa Medley, Sydney Boren, Natalie Hudson, and Sophie Woodburn. The coaches are Randall Baley and Tim Hanan.

These are the dog-days of summer.

Oregon Tech and high school athletics are still weeks away from starting back up. But, right now, it’s the younger kids taking center stage in the latter half of July.

Over the past week, baseball and softball players from around the area have found success on the diamonds, winning state titles and competing in tournaments on the national level.

The Klamath Falls Babe Ruth team beat a team from Calgary, Alberta Monday. The Cascade Aces, a 14-under softball team, is playing in Reno against teams from across the country, playing the same game they are.

Marcos Ulloa, Mark Carpenter and Deshawn Carter of the Southern Oregon Renegades did the same when they played in the Cooperstown Tournament, not far from the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If someone ever wondered why Klamath County routinely produces great high school teams from year to year, one could look down the pipeline to the younger levels to find the answers.

These youngsters are balling, which bodes well for the high schools these players will funnel into.

If that wasn’t fun enough, now the real fun begins.

Over the past several weeks, Steve Matthies and I have been recording podcasts (available on iTunes, Google Play and SoundCloud) discussing several local athletes who excelled in athletics and have gone on to do great things, with athletics being a driving force behind that.

This is more than just a shameless plug for the H&N Sports Podcast (again, available on iTunes, Google Play and SoundCloud).

Matthies has been around these athletes much more in his 30 years at the Herald and News than I have in my five months.

Whether the discussion was Dan O’Brien, Tara Harrington, Gabe Ovgard, Sam Gilbert, Mike Keck or Laurenne Ross, there were multiple similarities that each individual shared.

With each discussion, the phrases “Dream big” and “Work hard” came up multiple times.

As teenagers, these local athletes were able to use those two simple traits to reach the Olympics, win world championships and compete in NCAA Division I sports. They also earned fruitful careers after their playing careers ended.

This new crop of athletes, who have yet to enter high school, has already gotten a taste and a broader view of where athletics can take them.

They’ve played against some of the best players and teams in the country, and viewed a museum filled with the greatest players the sport of baseball has seen.

Having a better understanding of what is out there helps the players set those goals and work for them.

The athletes can control where sports can take them if they follow those two simple rules — dream big and work hard.

Brian Rathbone is a Herald and News sports writer. He can be reached at 541-885-4440, or at brathbone@heraldandnews.com.