CENTRALIA, Wash.–He calls for a ball high before trying to pick a guy off at first. The guy was called safe.
A pitch later, Salem Academy’s Greyson Hanowell picks off successfully the same baserunner who was now trying to steal second for the last out of the first inning.
The play, described Hanowell and hard to believe with how he carries himself, as scary because he was throwing the ball just by his fingertips as he popped up from his catchers position to throw the ball from second.
“I was nervous, one thing because I saw the pitch, it was low-and-away on a right hander, I had to go down a little bit to get it, which that took longer and I had to grab it, grip it perfectly and it was on the ends of my fingers,” said Hanowell “And I was like, ‘alright, here goes nothing’ and I just threw it down and it ended up being the throw I wanted.”
“It’s real nice, especially in a showcase like this because your going up against the best-best-of the best,” continues Hanowell on one of his pick-off moves Sunday. “And it’s just nice to be able to show your ability, especially in this setting.”
With his booming voice yelling, “We got two” coming back to his catcher position after running down the first baseline after a groundout to first, to catch a strikeout to end a 1,2,3 inning to end the second inning; the soon-to-be-sophomore showed why he was one of up -and-comers in the Salem-area despite suffering a hand injury early in the summer with the Futures squad.
He was walked in his first at-bat following another great defensive inning that saw Hanowell pick off another runner at third; but was himself caught stealing second, as he went back to the dugout to put on his catchers gear.
But he answered that with a deep double to the fence his next plate appearance that tied the game up at two and then another double in the 11-4 third-place victory over the Washington East as member of the Washington Southwest team. It was the cherry on top of the cake of a good weekend in Washington.
“One, your coming together with guys who know the game, it’s like second nature,” said Hanowell on the experience as he played with guys from Washington, British Columbia and Hawaii this past weekened. “It’s a lot of fun with those guys and as the weekend continues, you gel together and start acting as one body and as one team as a brotherhood. Start laughing together, those are the memories that stick with you forever.”
The weekend itself was a learning experience, and as Central’s Peter Mendazona put it of the showcase, yeah it would’ve been nice to take home seventh-place after Sunday’s game as part of the Oregon State 2018 team, the lessons he learn from this weekend and turning it into something to improve on entering his senior season.
“Pretty much just dialing in my swings, getting more aggressive at the plate and then just tuning in everything just around,” said Mendazona. “Just incorporating a better change and stuff like that.”
North Marion’s Andy Schmitz and Stanfields Brody Woods too both echo similar takeaways.
“It’s just good to seethe guys on my team, how they play and guys on other teams and gauge where I am as a player and just move on to the next level and take that into my High School level and college after that,” said Schmitz. “It was a fun group of guys, it was great playing with a different team and good experience.”
“Just sticking through stuff, doing things that you can do to get better and I feel like going into the season just worry about what you can do to get better,” said Woods on helping his 3A squad by Herminston.
For South Salem teammates Ryan Brown, who threw two innings with a handful of strikeouts Sunday, and Sean Alvarado who had a great weekend himself as the Oregon State 2019 team finished sixth in the tournament.
“Definitely hit the weight room with my boy Sean and then our coach is going to help me mechanic-wise,” said Brown, who’s aiming for a 90mph fastball this upcoming year after being clocked at 87 this weekend. “Like use my legs, my whole potential to my legs and get my arm to follow. I mean my coach, he’s a really good coach, he’ll help me a lot.
“And these building blocks from the last two years, just learning from all of these different coaches and different perspectives, it’ll definitely help build up to that.”
“I feel like this is only going to get me better from here,” said Alvarado on the experience this weekend. “I’m playing with some dudes and most of them are probably going to go D-1 and playing with these guys are just going to make me get better. I can only grow from here and getting in front of all these college coaches, it’s really going to put my name out there.
As for the battle in the weight room between Brown and Alvarado, though Aaron Zavala is the guy to beat in the Saxon weight room and Brown saying him, Alvarado is saying otherwise.
“Aaron has it over everybody but if it came down to Ryan and I, I feel like it’s going to be whoever works harder really,” said Alvarado. “I’m not going to say who’s going to win but whoever is going to work harder.”
In one of the early games Sunday morning, and through the misty and muck of Sunday morning, North Salem’s Cameron Kallhoff pitched a shutout inning, extending his scoreless streak to five-and-two-third innings over the weekend pitching for the Washington Pennsiula 2019 team.
“I thought I did good, it was a really good experience for me,” said Kallhoff on his experience this past weekend. “I didn’t get placed on the team I was anticipating but I got to meet a whole new team of guys from Washington and that was really fun. I had an ERA of 0 in the tournament so that’s all I really could have done but ya, getting to meet new people was really good”
And Hanowell, he too added what the experienced had helped him.
“You definitely get a look at around you with your age-group and your able to see yourself and where you stand, so you can just continue to push yourself harder and continuing to be the best and not taking any days off,” he said.
For North Marion twins Grant and Griffin Henry, the duo were apart of the Oregon Metro 2019 team that won the championship. Griffin, though he pitched Saturday in the first game that day, did not play Sunday; but brother Grant caught and channeled his innter Andy Schmitz and played second base in a nail-bitting 5-4 victory over the Washington Metro 2019 team.