IRRIGON — Fredy Vera was encouraged when 26 kids showed up to the first baseball meeting Monday after school.
The first-year Irrigon baseball coach was trying to gauge the interest in the program, and get a look at returning players.
“We will be really young,” Vera said. “I’m excited to see what we can build in Irrigon.”
Vera takes over for Randy Henrichs, who quietly retired at the end of last season after leading the Knights to a 20-5 record and the Eastern Oregon League title with an 11-1 record.
“He told me the first week of practice last year that he was thinking of retiring, and told me I should look into it,” Vera said.
So he did.
“I was really nervous when I thought about it, but I had the experience,” Vera said. “Every day I worked with Randy, I was learning.”
Vera was hired last Friday, and put the wheels in motion.
“Randy was the first person I called and told,” Vera said. “I was excited for the job. He told me he would be around to help out with the field, and for advice.”
When the position opened up, Irrigon athletic director Mike Royer said there wasn’t a lot of interest in the job.
“We feel fortunate to…