Every year the week after state tournaments, high school baseball seniors across Washington gather to participate in all-state “feeder” games, where all-star teams from the local leagues compete, and coaches, scouts and administrators evaluate and choose players to nominate to the all-state games in Yakima on June 8-9.
This year there were 15 local games, but none covered as big a geographical region as the Eastern Washington games, a doubleheader hosted by Shadle Park at Al K. Jackson Field.
The all-stars from the 4A and 3A Greater Spokane League took on players from 2A, 1A, 2B and 1B leagues on Thursday, and the big-school team swept the small schools 2-1 and 3-0 before thunderstorms halted play early.
In the early game, Mead’s Thomas McKenna singled, moved up on a groundout and scored on a single by Ferris’ Eric Mast in the fourth inning for what would be the deciding run. Mast hit a solo homer in the first inning in the second game, which was shortened to four innings due to lightning.
For some players, the feeder game is an opportunity to showcase skills on a bigger stage. For others, it’s all about putting the high school uniform on one last time.
“I definitely thought about that before putting it on,” said Cheney pitcher Julian Chabot, who started the first game for the small school team and will pitch for Everett Community College next season.
“I just looked at it and thought, ‘Dang, this is probably the last time I’m going to put this jersey on.’ So kinda disappointing. But I’m looking forward to the future.”
“It’s pretty awesome to come out here and play with all the all-league guys,” Shadle Park first base Drew Richardson said.
Mt. Spokane’s Brady Hill, who will play for Washington State next season, appreciated being teammates against guys he’s played against in high school and legion ball his whole life.
“It’s fun to be with guys you play against all the time and to actually be on a team with them for once now and play some better competition,” he said.
Austin Sharp of Medical Lake coached the 2A/1A/2B/1B team in the first game.
“This is cool because you get to see the best players in the area,” Sharp said. “I’m getting to see (Mt. Spokane’s) Stu (Flesland) and some of these GSL guys that are going to big schools and it’s pretty cool. We don’t get a whole lot of that in 1A.”
“I think it’s real neat for the kids,” said Pullman coach Mike Kinkade, former big league player and father of Greyhounds star Konnor Kinkade.
“Just meeting new guys and playing with new guys is always fun,” said Konnor Kinkade, who is headed to Cal State Bakersfield in the fall. “Getting to play against the top competition in the region with no pressure – it’s just playing baseball.”
Alex Schuerman, coach at Mt. Spokane, sees a lot of the GSL players who made up the 4A/3A squad, but he appreciated the chance to have them in his dugout instead of coaching against them.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “Because you get to see them a different perspective, a different light, you know? Which is fun. They offer different things that you don’t know as when they’re your opponent.”
4A/3A: *Brock Bozett, *Eric Mast, Dylan Bohnert (Ferris); Grant Skinner (Lewis and Clark); Zach Bartole-Lopez (North Central); Blake Tellinghusen, Carson Lundmark (University); *Quentin Ayers, *Brady Hill, *Braden DeSonia, *Stu Flesland (Mt. Spokane); Kahlil Tilbury (Rogers); Drew Richardson, Dalton Dawson, Julian Gonzales, Cole Hernandez (Shadle Park); Thomas McKenna, Braeden Cordes (Mead). Coach: Alex Schuerman (Mt. Spokane)
2A/1A/2B/1B: *Devin Fry, Josh Wilkinson (Asotin); Luke Martin, *Julian Chabot (Cheney); John Larson, Zak Kubik (Chewelah); *Nate Akesson (Colfax); Tayeb Wilson (Colville); *Sam Gollehon, Trevor Hurt-Moran (Medical Lake); *Konner Kinkade, Payton Kallaher (Pullman); TJ Trepanier (Riverside); Xander Werkman (St. George’s). Coaches: Austin Sharp (Medical Lake), Mike Kinkade (Pullman).
*Nominated for all-state games