MONMOUTH — To Josh McIntyre, baseball is an indicator of life.
“Baseball, it’s not always a fair game,” he said. “You could have one plan in place going into the game, but you might have to adapt to what the other team is doing or how the situation pans out.”
Life is the same way, he said.
“You’re going to face stuff in life — right now, the Covid-19 pandemic, no one saw it coming, it just happened — but you just have to be able to adapt and change plans.”
McIntyre is a senior from Western Oregon University, and, up until his final season was canceled on March 13, was an outfielder for the Wolves’ baseball team.
He’s been playing baseball since he was five years old.
“It’s been a big part of my life,” McIntyre said. “My family really pushed me into baseball and really wanted me to succeed in it.”
After finishing up at Fullerton Junior College, McIntyre was looking for a way to continue his collegiate baseball career.
“I was playing summer ball up in Medford for the Medford Rogues,” he said. “I didn’t know where I was going to go at that point — my summer ball team was basically my last chance for me to continue my baseball career collegiately. Ultimately, I met coach Danny Sales, who coaches at South Eugene High School. He reached out to WOU, and then coach Kellen Walker came down and watched me for a game.”
McIntyre was recruited on the spot.
“I got pretty lucky,” McIntyre said. “I liked everything about the program from what (Walker) told me, and everything that he told me about it from day one was exactly right. I felt blessed and fortunate for the opportunity.”
His career with WOU lasted one season, where he made appearances in 20 games, including 17 starts. He hit .309 in 55 at-bats, and finished the season with a perfect fielding percentage.
Missing out on his final season was tough, McIntyre said, especially because, up to the day when the team found out its season was not going to happen, McIntyre said the team was starting to find cohesion.
“The guys were coming together and it seemed like right at the moment we were starting to click as a team and find our identity, it ... came to and end,” he said.
McIntyre was then faced with a choice: To come back next season to finish out his remaining season of eligibility, or hang up his cleats.
It was not an easy decision, he said.
“So I had to weigh the option of coming back and pursing a Master’s degree, or pursuing other outlets with my criminal justice degree,” he said. “So, ultimately, I felt like God was calling me to hang it up, pretty much. I’m really into music, and I’m really into the church ... so I felt like I was getting called in a different direction. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to come back.”
Music is McIntyre’s other passion.
“I’m a guitar player,” he said. “I picked it up when I was in fifth grade, and then since I got involved in sports —I played basketball and baseball in high school — I took a break on it to focus on sports, because sports helped me get to college. Once I got into college I picked (guitar) back up.”
Along with pursuing careers in the criminal justice department, McIntyre is considering a musical career.
“I’m also looking to pursue music in the church, and be a part of the church, and maybe in the future being a pastor of some sort, or music pastor,” he said. “I have a lot of plans, but right now everything is kind of halted, so I’m just waiting for this pandemic to blow over and then I can put some things in motion.”
McIntyre attends Cottonwood Church in Los Alamitos, Long Beach, Calif., where he is finishing up his degree at home with his family.
He isn’t sure how baseball will play into his life now, but he says it will always be a part of him.
“I’m definitely going to miss all those guys at WOU,” he said. “I built some great relationships there. The coaching staff was probably one of the best staffs I have been a part of, from being able to relate to us, to just checking up on us and asking how our day is going. I felt like I was part of the team and a part of the community in Monmouth ... everyone around there really made it feel like home.”