Typically, when a group of teenage boys shows up at the principal’s office, nothing good can come of the visit.
But Irrigon principal Ryan Keefauver welcomed this particular group, who wanted nothing more than to set the wheels in motion to have the school’s baseball field named after their coach, Randy Henrichs.
Keefauver was in favor, but it was not his decision to make. The baseball players then made a presentation to the school board. The school board and the Morrow County School District gave their blessing.
“He deserves to have that field named after him,” Irrigon athletic director Mike Royer said. “That field was built by him. He has put in hundreds of hours maintaining and manicuring the field. He has turned that field into a nice facility.”
This summer, a sign will be placed under the scoreboard that reads Henrichs Field.
The whole process was kept under wraps, and surprised Henrichs on Friday afternoon when it was announced between games with the Vale Vikings.
“I’m a big ol’ guy, and I don’t show much emotion, but these guys choked me up,” a misty-eyed Henrichs said after the presentation. “These kids are like my own. I love them. The most special time in my life is right now. This is everything to me.”
The idea of naming the field came from senior Dalton Schneider.
“He asked me about it, and I was on board,” said pitcher Zack Henrichs, Randy Henrichs’ grandson. “We asked the team, and they were 100 percent for it.”
After the team went through the proper steps, High Performance Signs & Graphics in Hermiston was contracted to make the sign.
“He has no clue,” Zack said a couple of days prior to the game. “He means a lot to this group of guys. He has coached us since we were little. The only year he did not coach us was eighth grade because he took the high school job.”
Henrichs is in his fifth year coaching the Knights, but he has left an impression that will last for years to come.
Under Henrichs, the Knights have qualified for state four times (including this year), including a trip to the semifinals in 2016.
After Friday’s games with Vale, Henrichs’ record stands at 87-37.
“He is a good coach and a good man,” Royer said.