by Steve Mims
John Over was born to be a Springfield Drifter.
Over is a local kid, he prepped at Marist High School, and spends part of his summer fly fishing on a drift boat with Over The River guide service, a company he started.
This summer, the 6-foot-2 left-handed pitcher will split time between his two passions when he works as a fishing guide in the morning before pitching for the Drifters in the evening.
“I got a drift boat in high school and ran with it,” Over said. “I got good at fly fishing and realized I could make money off of it so I started a business. This is my third year doing it and it is super fun. There is no better way to call it work than to be on the river or the baseball field.”
Over is a 2019 Marist graduate who was planning to head to Everett Community College before he suffered a torn UCL while pitching during the summer after his senior year. He was playing for the Mercedes-Benz Baseball Club of Seattle, pitching to current Oregon State infielder Mason Guerra during a intrasquad scrimmage, when he he felt the tear. He tossed two more pitches to get Guerra to ground out to third before leaving the game.
Instead of going to Everett CC, he took classes at Lane Community College and went to physical therapy in Portland. Once he could pitch again, he worked with former Oregon State star Kevin Gunderson in Portland.
Over planned to go to Everett the following year, but after a coaching change, he was recruited by Linfield coach Dan Spencer, a former pitching coach at Oregon State.
“I visited the campus and it was the best spot for me, the rest was history,” Over said.
Over has thrown 85 innings in two seasons at Linfield and will return for a third year with the Wildcats in 2024. He will graduate at the end of that year and have an option to play one more season at Linfield or move up a level.
Before that decision, he will spend this summer with the Drifters in the West Coast League, which features some of the top collegiate players in the country on a wood-bat circuit.
“This is the perfect time for me to step up going into my third year of college baseball,” Over said. “It is the best exposure and a good opportunity and test.”
Linfield’s season ended on April 18, leaving Over plenty of time to rest and prepare for a summer with the Drifters.
“I think there is good and bad to it,” he said. “The bummer on the baseball side is that there is no competition for more than a month. But it gives me a chance to gain back strength lost during the year so I have been crushing it in the weight room.”
The Drifters open their second season on June 2nd at Hamlin Field against Port Angeles and tickets for the season are on sale now. Over got a look at the beautiful new Hamlin field when Linfield played Bushnell in April.
“I was thrilled when I saw that Springfield got a team because it is nice to have that high level of competition and stay at home,” Over said. “A lot of friends and family are excited to come watch us play. They have stopped by the facility and said how nice it looks.”