Emery, Weinert Shine at Senior All-Star Games
FEEDER GAMES: Three Local Ballplayers Nominated for All-State Series in Yakima
By Jordan Nailon
Austin Emery launched a pair of long balls and Zach Weinert expertly patrolled the outfield, including a bang-up catch at the center field wall, during the Senior All-Star feeder games in a pair of efforts that captured the offensive and defensive MVP awards at Centralia’s Wheeler Field on Thursday. The contests featured 18 local diamond standouts and a bevy of familiar faces from assorted area leagues. In all, 40 players, whittled down from a nomination pool of 91 ballplayers, represented 21 area schools from Forks to Woodland and Ilwaco to Olympia.
The evening consisted of a pair of eight-inning contests with local players filling out the rosters of both teams.
The first game of the evening fell in favor of the American squad by a score of 7-1. The Americans featured Emery, Drew Forgione, Tysen Paul and Adrian Boites of W.F. West, as well as Wes Wilson and Spencer Burdick of Adna. Kolby Steen of W.F. West was unable to play due to injury suffered during a state semifinal game six days prior.
In the nightcap the game ended in a 10-10 tie after the Americans knotted the game up in the bottom half of their last at bat. However, earlier in the contest a bases-loaded, no-out rally by the Nationals was thwarted when the Americans ran out of available pitching and opted to simply pull their team off of the field and unceremoniously switch turns at bat. It was a savvy move by Americans coach Andy Forgione and it stopped a surefire scoring onslaught by the Nationals dead in its tracks.
The Nationals team featured Weinert and Brady Steveson of Winlock, Spencer Brewer and Rob Wall of Tenino, Mac Fagernes, Sam Fagerness and Wyatt Stanley of Napavine, Noah Thomas of Centralia, Dakota Robins of Toledo, Aaron Huff of Rochester, and Kaelin Jurek of Pe Ell-Willapa Valley.
In that second game Emery singled to left field and then attempted to take second base when the throw from the outfield skipped by the cutoff man. When the heads up second baseman quickly retrieved the ball Emery found himself in no man’s land and wound up in a hotbox that ended with an out when he attempted an ill-fated Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired double-front somersault in the base path.
“My feet were tired and I knew I was going to get out anyway so I figured I’d try to do something different that people haven’t seen before,” laughed Emery after the final game.
Emery, who will be attending Dakota College in the fall and harbors hopes of playing both football and baseball, said it was a bit awkward at first sharing a dugout with so many unfamiliar faces — particularly the Bearcats’ nemesis from up north, the Tumwater Thunderbirds.
“It was a little bit weird in there cheering for guys that you don’t really know, but I liked it. It was fun,” added Emery. “It felt good getting another chance to show what I can do.”
In his final plate appearance of the evening Emery nearly connected on his third home run of the day when he sent a towering shot veering toward the deep right-center field wall. As the crowd oohed and ahhed, Weinert set off on a dead sprint from left-centerfield for a chase that most figured was futile. However, when the ball landed securely in the center of Weinert’s glove one moment before impact with the wall the ogling shifted in an instant from Emery’s power to Weinert’s defensive prowess.
“It was a fun experience. I got to meet a lot of people I didn’t really know and got to hang out with some old teammates,” noted Weinert, who plans on playing baseball at Centralia College in the fall. “We haven’t had a Winlock Cardinal in the Senior All-Star game in a long time. It was nice to be able to represent our school and wear the jersey one more time.”
Weinert said that the biggest difference in the Senior All-Star game, compared to regular season play, was the acumen of the assorted pitchers.
“You get to see some better pitchers here. We have pretty good pitchers in our league but this was consistently good pitching,” said Weinert. “Plus, we had some power hitters out here mashing. So that was fun.”
Three local players were nominated for the All-State series, which will be held in Yakima on June 10-11. The local nominees are Wyatt Stanley, Sam Fagerness and Spencer Burdick. Rounding out the area All-State nominations from Thursday are Colton Titus of Castle Rock, Zach Threlfall of Kelso, Tanner Johnson of Capital, Tristan Thomas of Woodland, and Jackson Davis and Logan Chase of Tumwater.