From T-ball to the Dirtbags

Anthony Zellner started with the Demarini Dirtbags in his junior year of high school. He attends Western Oregon University and plays ball for the Wolves.

Jeremy McDonald
Anthony Zellner started with the Demarini Dirtbags in his junior year of high school. He attends Western Oregon University and plays ball for the Wolves.

MONMOUTH — Getting a chance to go to the state tournament with the rest of the American Legion Post 20 Demarini Dirtbags in Roseburg for the fifth year in a row is exciting, and Anthony Zellner, who’s been with the team for four years now, said he’s looking forward to it.

“It’s awesome. It just feels great to go four years in a row with a good group of guys and represent this program well. We’ve gotten closer every year, and hopefully this year’s the year we come away with it.”


Zellner, a pitcher for the Dirtbags, turned 19 years old 12 days after the age cutoff date, allowing him to play for one more season. This will be his last. And it’s bittersweet, but he’s excited to see what the younger guys do after him.

“It feels good because, I mean, after so long it’s time for other guys to step up.”

Baseball has been a part of Zellner’s life since he started playing T-ball at 5 years old.

“I just have always done it. And I like it,” he said. “I like the competitive aspects of hitting and everything about it. It’s a great sport; it’s a beautiful sport. I just enjoy the game and the team atmosphere.”

When Zellner first the joined the Dirtbags team, he was going into his junior year of high school. It was that summer that he grew as an athlete and as a person.

“I had great coaches who helped me mature. One great coach, Miles Kizer, he totally just helped me with the mental side of the game when I was younger and molded me into a good player.”

Zellner looks back on it as the best summer of his life.

“The whole first summer was the best summer of my life so far for baseball,” he said. “Going from high school baseball into this legion aspect, with some older guys who knew their stuff and some great coaches that were around. That first summer altogether was a great memory. It helped me mature as a guy. I’ll always remember that first summer.”

When he graduated from West Salem High School in 2017, he began attending Western Oregon University and joined the Wolves baseball team.

“I redshirted here this year,” he said. And this summer, “I decided to stick around and play ball again for the Dirtbags, which is a great time.”

He’s studying business and economics.

“Don’t know what I’m specializing in yet, we’ll see,” Zellner added.

Zellner is the kind of player who yells encouragement to his teammates from the dugout, who steps up to any situation with confidence.

This season, he racked up 38 RBIs, 47 runs and had a .406 batting average.

None of his success in baseball would have happened if it hadn’t been for his parents, Zellner said.

“They always support me. They’ve put up with putting the money into baseball, and I really appreciate them for that,” he said. “I get to play baseball and have fun and hang out with my friends, and I feel really privileged about that, and they’ve helped me do that.”

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