The first time Leo Zupancic met former Oregon City baseball coach Greg Lord, he made him cry.
It was December 2012.
Still basking in the afterglow of the OSAA Class 6A state championship that the Pioneers had won in May, Lord wanted to tap into the community's sudden interest in OC baseball and see if he could find some big-time donors to get behind his longtime dream to build a hitting facility on school property.
Lord had spent several months after Oregon City's 7-5 win over Thurston in the championship final sending emails to baseball parents, business owners, and other potential donors, outlining his vision for the program and how much money he needed to get the job done.
Anyone with an interest in helping out was invited to attend the Oregon City baseball board of directors' December meeting at Lil' Cooperstown Bar & Grill on Molalla Avenue.
Zupancic, whose son, Joel, played on the Pioneers' sophomore baseball team at the time, showed up at the meeting with his checkbook.
What happened next brought tears to Lord's eyes.
"I just handed him a check and I didn't tell him the amount," Zupancic said. "He looked at it and then he put his head down and went, 'No … no.'"
The check was for $40,000.
Over the next 24 months, more checks with Zupancic's signature on them followed, making Lord's vision become a reality in January 2015.
The Pioneers will honor Zupancic on Sunday when they are scheduled to officially name the 14,000-square-foot structure the Leo Zupancic Athletic Facility during a 5 p.m. dedication ceremony at the facility next to the high school tennis courts.
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