Sports

‘Memorial Field’ honors three key figures in Marysville baseball

Surviving friends and family members of Brad Baunsgard, Steve Opel and Ray Ewing represent the three men on the newly rechristened
Surviving friends and family members of Brad Baunsgard, Steve Opel and Ray Ewing represent the three men on the newly rechristened 'Memorial Field' April 26.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Before the Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks and Marysville Getchell Chargers took to the ball-field on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus on Saturday, April 26, it was rechristened “Memorial Field,” finally honoring a two-year-old request from M-P alum Gary Ray, to recognize three people for their historic contributions to the Marysville School District’s baseball legacy.

Marysville School District Athletic Director Greg Erickson explained that this dedication had originally been scheduled for last year, but typical Pacific Northwest weather prevailed.

Brad Baunsgard was the first honoree, an M-P sophomore who passed away at the age of 16 in 1994 due to a boating accident.

“It would be an understatement to say that Brad was gregarious, energetic, intelligent and athletic,” said Erickson, who lamented that the multiple-sport athlete’s talents were never fully realized, but noted that the Baunsgard family has kept his legacy alive through the Brad Baunsgard Scholarship, for senior boy and girl athletes. “The Marysville community, Marysville-Pilchuck High School and the scholarship recipients are deeply grateful for the ongoing generosity of the Baunsgard family.”

The second nominee was Steve Opel, a coach at M-P for more than 30 years, who coached his entire career at the Marysville School District before passing away in 2007 at the age of 72.

“Coach Opel worked with both varsity and junior varsity baseball here at M-P, and his former players described him as a great coach to play for, someone who was able to keep the game both serious and fun at the same time,” Erickson said. “His Marysville baseball legacy continues through his sons, who are active in the youth coaching community.”

The third and final honoree was the very first head coach of M-P baseball, whom Erickson credited with being largely responsible for building the field that’s now rededicated in his honor. Following a stint of playing AAA baseball in the New York Mets organization, Ray Ewing came to Marysville and served as one of the original Pilchuck High School faculty when the school was built in the 1970s. Ewing lost his battle with cancer in 2010, at the age of 62.

“When M-P was born in 1975, Coach Ewing was the baseball coach, and held that position well into the ‘80s,” Erickson said. “Ray was a fixture at all M-P sporting events, an ardent supporter of his UW Huskies, and a dedicated member of the M-P teaching staff until his retirement.”

All three men were represented on the ball-field by their surviving friends and family members.

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