PORT ANGELES — There’s pretty good odds spectators will get a glimpse of a future Major Leaguer while attending tonight’s West Coast League All-Star Game at Civic Field.
First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. and fans can beat the box office line and purchase advance tickets ($10 for reserved seats, $5 general admission) at www.leftiesbaseball.com/tickets.
The WCL’s best players and prospects will meet on the field as the North Division squad, made up of players from Port Angeles, Kelowna, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Victoria and Yakima Valley, takes on the South Division All- Stars (Corvallis, Portland, Cowlitz, Bend and Walla Walla).
Four of those North Division All-Stars are Lefties: outfielder Dalton Harum, first baseman Kyle Schimpf, pitcher Triston Busse and second baseman Jason Dicochea.
Through Sunday, Dicochea is hitting .358 with six home runs and 15 RBIs.
“It’s awesome that we get to play at home,” Dicochea said.
He’ll be able to reunite with a couple of Southern California travel ball teammates, including UCLA’s Jake Moberg, an Yakima Valley Pippin who will play for the North.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside him again,” Dicochea said.
Harum is second in the WCL with a .359 batting average and is leading the league with eight home runs. He also has 16 RBIs. Schimpf is hitting .323 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.
Busse has a 2.25 ERA in 28 innings of work in a WCL-leading 23 appearances.
Scouts in the stands
Expect plenty of MLB scouts to be in attendance, with radar guns in hand.
“This is a significant event because it draws a spotlight to that area for baseball fans, scouts and West Coast League teams and players,” Lefties co-owner Matt Acker said.
“Our games don’t get heavily scouted because our players are college-level and have been pre-identified for the most part. But the WCL All-Star Game is different. Every Major League Baseball team sends a scouting representative, they send their crosscheckers, because they recognize this is the largest collection of talent in one place on the West Coast.”
West Coast League Commissioner Rob Neyer selected the teams with the help of all 11 league head coaches and baseball publication Baseball America.
Neyer said he used a combination of season statistics, coaches’ input and prospect potential to fill out the teams.
“There are the big home run guys like Trent Tinglestad from Kelowna, he’s one of those guys that was an easy choice,” Neyer said. “The Port Angeles hitters all have excellent seasons going. Ernie Yake, Bellingham’s shortstop, doesn’t have big hitting stats, but he was an All-Star last year as well and is probably a pro prospect based on his defense alone.”
Another Kelowna player, pitcher Cal Hehnke also is worth the price of admission.
“Cal Hehnke has a 32 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, throws high 80s low 90s [MPH] and his numbers are off the charts,” Neyer said.
South Division players to watch, in Neyer’s estimation include Corvallis catcher Cole Hamilton is a pro prospect and Walla Walla pitcher Darius Vines has been drafted twice by MLB teams.
“Scouts will want to see him,” Neyer said.
North skipper Darren Westergard of Port Angeles and South head coach Brooke Knight of Corvallis announced their probable starting pitchers for Tuesday’s WCL All-Star Game.
On Monday, the starting pitchers were named.
Westergard tabbed Wenatchee AppleSox Curtis Bafus of Virginia Commonwealth as the North starter. Bafus is 3-3 with a 2.72 ERA in seven appearances and six starts this summer. The right-hander from Woodinville has struck out 43 batters over 43 innings and has only walked nine.
This past spring as a junior at VCU, Bafus went 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA over 16 appearances and 2 starts.
Corvallis Knights right-hander Landen Bourassa of University of San Francisco will start for the South. He is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts, logging 31 2/3 innings.
As a junior at San Francisco, Bourassa went 8-4 with a 3.02 ERA over 14 starts and 83.1 innings.