After bleeding Papermaker red for 15 years, Joe Hallead said the time has come to ride his Harley off into the sunset.
He and his wife bought a condo near Las Vegas, where she has a high paying job. As Hallead searches for the next teaching and coaching opportunity, he knows there will be no place like Camas.
“It’s impossible for me not to continue to be a Papermaker,” Hallead said. “I’ve put every ounce of effort into teaching, coaching and making this community a better place. It’s all I’ve ever known.
“This will leave a hole in my heart, but I’m taking lots of great stories with me.”
Hallead’s favorite story to tell is when Camas defeated Columbia River in the semifinals of the 2010 state tournament at Safeco Field.
The Papermakers trailed by a run in the bottom of the 11th inning when Kurt Yinger laced a double into right field. Nate Allison scored the tying run and Logan Grindy beat the throw home for the win.
“That’s the crowning jewel of my career,” Hallead said. “I’ll remember Grindy coming around third and following him all the way home.
“You saw so many people from town in the crowd,” he added. “That tells the story of Camas, right there.”
Hallead wished the magic didn’t end so soon this season. Skyview defeated the Papermakers 5-3 in the first round of the district tournament May 6, at Propstra Park.
“You can’t say we didn’t battle,” Hallead said. “We fought hard until the end. That’s a good ball club over there.”
Skyview scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the second inning, but Camas countered with three runs in the top of the third.
Reilly Hennessey led off the frame with a single, and he came around to score on a double by Sam Jones. Liam Fitzpatrick delivered an RBI single with two outs to tie the game. Cameron Pierce rolled a ground ball that bounced off the glove of the Skyview first baseman. Pierce eluded the tag on the way to first base safely, and that allowed the Papermakers to score the leading run.
“That one inning is what our team is made of,” Jones said. “Once one person hits, the next person hits and we go from there.”
The lead wouldn’t last long for Camas. Skyview tied the score back up on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third inning, and added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“Hats off to Skyview. They played great defense and put the game in motion,” Hallead said. “We kind of bobbled the ball around, gave them a few unearned runs and that was the difference.”
Jones pitched 2-plus scoreless innings of relief. Blake Christopher snagged a ground ball up the middle and threw it to first in time for the final out in the sixth inning.
“Sam Jones pitched marvelously in those last innings,” Hallead said.
Jones added another base hit in the top of the seventh inning, but the Papermakers ran out of outs. Jones said he was trying to make up for lost time after missing eight games with a concussion.
“I played my heart out there, for sure,” Jones said. “It was the last ride for these seniors. I gave all I had to give them one more game.”
Jones will have a special place in his heart for graduating teammates Christopher, Hennessey, Dylan White, Connor Heredia, Chase Gallagher, Nick Murawski, Drew Watson, Jake Burns, Carson Dunn and Sean McClanahan.
“I looked up to every single one of them. They are not just good players, but also good people,” Jones said. “We want to be remembered as one. Play as one, play for all. I can’t wait to come back to this next year.”
Hallead came to Camas in 1999 to teach health and physical education, and coach baseball and football.
Back then, this little town next to a paper mill was a puff of smoke to the rest of the state. Hallead is proud to say that isn’t the case any more.
“When we look up in the stands and see all those people cheering for us, it’s such an adrenaline rush,” Hallead said. “Take pride in being Papermakers. I think everybody in the state knows where Camas is after what we have done in the last 15 years.”