By Jeremy McDonald
CHEHALIS, WA.– For a few lucky Class of 2017-2019 baseball players across the Pacific Northwest gathered in Centralia and Chehalis Washington to showcase their talents on the diamond.
Teams from Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and even British Columbia, Canada arrived in Centralia August 11 and as they enter the final day on August 14, the experience has been beneficial.
Three of those there are Sean Alvarado, Cameron Kallhoff and Ryan Brown.
There was a sense of honor to take part of something like this, taking on the best of the best from your region
“I think it’s a really good experience,” said Alvarado. “You’re playing amongst the best players of your region and to be here it’s a really great honor because like I said before, it’s a really great experience. You get a lot out of it and it’s really fun.”
Kallhoff pitched three innings against British Columbia and called the challenge something that he can take this into his sophomore year at North Salem High School.
“I think it was a good opportunity to get some experience on an another level. Getting to pitch against another country is a good opportunity to improve your game and stuff and I’m glad I got to pitch against them.
“I just need to be more calm on the mound and just take some deep breaths and not trying to overthrow stuff.”
Brown adds that it’s a great opportunity to face different talent that he would’ve seen during a regular, High School season. Talent that is at his level or higher as Brown played his traditional shortstop position, but had ventured to other positions like second and third base defensively.
To mix in with that, scouts are floating around. Watching and observing what these high school scholar-athletes are doing out on the field that adds some pressure on the kids to do their best.
“It’s a lot of nerves,” described Brown. “You’re playing then all of a sudden, OSU or a scout comes in and then your nerves shoot up, your heart rate goes up, everything (goes up). But you just have to play your game and hope they look at you.”
Alvarado came in for relief in the second game after floating around first base and the outfield during Saturday’s doubleheader, striking out two in his first inning pitching.
But for the soon-to-be-sophomore was thinking hitter as he preps for what’s to come this upcoming season for him.
“Just seeing this pitch speed, this velocity, is going to be helping a lot,” said Alvarado. “Because you’re not going to be seeing low-70s, high-60s, it’s all high-70s up into the 80s and these are the guys who are going to throw that. I think the velocity wise will help me be a better hitter.”
For Brown, he knows it’s all about putting in that summertime work to help get him better for what is to come in the future.
“I need to put more work in over the summer,” he said. “I’ll like to be back here next summer or even further into more stuff.”
YOUTH BASEBALL- 12U: Danny Alvarado, brother of Sean Alvarado, made an appearance to support his older brother after his game in part of the Premier Baseball Club 12U games in Tacoma. The 12-year-old finished 2-3 with a triple off the wall and had a strong showing defensively being one of just three Oregonians in the showcase.
“I thought I did pretty good, as a team we all did very good,” said Alvarado. “Everyone was hitting the ball really well, everyone was on their toes defensively. All of our pitches were going strikes, it was a really, really good experience.
“(What) I can take away from this is not to be so nervous the next time because I was really kind of nervous my first couple Abs and not to be nervous. Not let the nerves get to you, just be calm and that’s all.”
For the young Alvarado, he channeled his inner Giancarlo Stanton as he blasted homerun after homerun in the homerun derby competition; and though he finished second to the winner by one humdinger, (5-4 was the final result), the experience was extraordinary for the young slugger.
“It was just a blast,” said Alvarado with a smile. “Like just watching Giancarlo Stanton in this homerun derby launching 61 (homeruns), I was just, it was just a great experience. I feel like a pro at such a young age.”