Creswell, Sports Zone

SETTING THE FOUNDATION: Creswell’s Feist feeling at home in rebuild mode

CRESWELL – In 2016 Kevin Feist was winning his third state championship at the helm of the Burns baseball program. In 2016, Creswell baseball went 10-14 and missed the playoffs for the seventh straight time. Eight years later, the two find themselves on the same diamond, with Feist now in charge of a Bulldogs program that still hasn’t made the playoffs – all the way since 2009.

“It’s been awesome, I love it. These guys have welcomed me with open arms, and they’ve supported the program,” Feist said after a recent loss to Siuslaw. “This has been great. I’m really happy that I’m here, and I’m happy with the kids that I have in the program. The community’s been great. They’re really supportive. They want us to do well, and I’m really happy with how things have gone.”

Feist was named the new Creswell baseball coach in September 2023, and brings quite the resume to The Friendly City. Feist was 215-146 as a head coach before coming to Creswell, mainly at Burns where he coached from 2000-16 and won three state championships (2007, ’08, ’16). Feist was also named State Coach of the Year twice, and in 2011 was named the Sectional Baseball Coach of the Year – which covers six states.

Feist said he realizes that turning around the Creswell program, one that’s compiled only 15 wins over the past three seasons, won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge he’s not afraid to face.

“They’re responding in the way they need to to build a program that I think we can build here. It’s gonna take some time, but it took time to do that at Burns as well,” Feist said, noting that Burns won only eight games the year before he took over. “All that stuff – the culture change, the expectations, the beliefs, and all that kind of stuff – if we can get that and get better with our skills, we’ll compete. What does that have in store for us? I don’t know this year, but we’re trying to set the tone, and we’re trying to set an expectation and a belief that we can be good at baseball at Creswell.”

The Bulldogs fell 4-3 in Game Three of a series against Siuslaw last week after losing Game One 14-4 on Tuesday and Game Two 19-4 on Thursday in part one of the doubleheader. Despite getting swept in the series, Feist saw a fight in the team that he liked in the second game of the doubleheader.

“I was proud of how the kids responded. We talked in between games about how we had to try to clean things up on defense. We needed to do a better job with two strikes at the plate, and we just needed to compete and get after it,” Feist said. “We got it handed to us in the first game. They even said that, last year, they would have just given up in Game Two. So I’m proud of how they responded and competed in the final game.”

PIERRE WEIL / CHRONICLE PHOTO. Creswell senior Cameron Leonard (11) slides safely into second during the game against Siuslaw. Leonard had 1 hit and scored once in the loss.

Senior Landon Palmer pitched Game Three and had 6 Ks in 6.1 innings, junior Deacon Edwards had 1 hit and 1 RBI, and senior Giuseppe Mediati scored twice in the loss. Palmer and Mediati are two of Creswell’s seven seniors on the roster, and Feist is keyed in on making sure the seniors get what they’ve earned.

“The goal is, we just got to get the best we can out of the seniors this year. I want this to be their best high school baseball experience. And I think they’re getting that right now,” Feist said. “Then we got to get young kids to come in and fill that in, because we have one junior. We got seven seniors, and we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores. So the older kids have to set the tone, help the younger kids, and do the best they can this year to get this thing headed in the right direction.”

The Bulldogs, 2-4 on the season, are buying into the culture that Feist is selling – one that’s brought a lot of success in his career. While a culture shift doesn’t happen overnight, the victories might come sooner than later.

“I’m just proud of the guys right now. I think we’re going in the right direction,” Feist said. “We just got to keep working and, you know, eventually the wins are going to come.”



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