PORT ANGELES — In the baseball offseason, Port Angeles senior Timmy Adams rededicated himself to the game, building up his arm and his stamina in hope of securing a spot with a college pitching staff.
His efforts paid dividends as Adams has received an opportunity to play for Ventura College in southern California.
Community colleges in California are prohibited by law from offering athletic scholarships, and coaches can’t recruit outside of their districts — out-of-area players must make the first contact and promote themselves, and Adams’ commitment helped earn him a shot.
“I ended up not playing football last year to play baseball year-round,” Adams said. “I worked with a physical trainer to improve my flexibility and to increase my [velocity] and my ability to go longer on the mound and on my hitting. It was a lot of time in the cage and a lot of time throwing.”
Adams had dealt with a sore arm earlier in his high school career and didn’t want to suffer the same fate.
“I just wanted to make sure, in previous years my arm hasn’t been in the best shape, so I just wanted to be as healthy and as strong as I could be. I noticed that I couldn’t go as long and my arm would get sore and stay sore, so I was making sure I could go deeper into games and have more to offer.”
The left-hander was banking on the payoff of his hard work coming on the mound at Civic Field and other prep ballparks this spring, but the coronavirus pandemic scuttled those plans. He believes he’s improved a great deal.
“If we had played, it definitely would have been a lot better,” Adams said. “I’ve been in the gym every day working on that.”
Riders head coach Casey Dietz said Adams would have been a trusted arm this season for Port Angeles.
“He has made tremendous strides,” Dietz said. “When I first got here, he was mentioned as somebody who can pitch for us, somebody who can compete for innings. As the year went on, his role continued to grow. He was going to be somebody coming in as a reliever, who can throw strikes, and he emerged as a guy who increased his workload. I always knew he would compete at a high level and not back down to hitters.
“This year he was in the mix to be one of our top guys. It was going to be great to watch him grow and continue to develop. Timmy is somebody who is just scratching the surface of what he can become.”
Dietz described Adams as “a two-way guy who can not only pitch.”
“He can swing the bat and was able to play a solid outfield for us,” Dietz said. “With his athleticism, he’s not limited to just the corner spots. He could play center. And on the mound, he’s able to throw a fastball and command it, a nice sharp curveball and has a changeup. He has control of all three of his pitches.
“What makes Timmy different is his competitive fire. Some guys, take a guy like Brody [Merritt], Ethan [Flodstrom] or Tyler [Bowen], their competitive fire comes out and you see it. With Timmy it burns beneath the surface. He wants to compete, play and win every time he steps out on the field, and his drive makes things special.”
Adams said he pursued southern California playing opportunities for all the reasons one would expect.
“Sunny and warm year round, so your arm stays in shape,” Adams said. “It’s close to the beach, and it’s a nice area. I’ll get out of the rain a little.
“One of the things that stood out about Ventura is they have a super good pitching coach who teaches the Driveline system,” Adams said. “I’m using it right now and have the workouts down.”
Driveline is a Kent-based data-driven baseball player development program that counts Port Angeles minor leaguer Cole Uvila has one of its proponents.
“My dad coached [Uvila] and found about it through him,” Adams said.
Adams also considered Orange Coast College and went on a visit to that school with longtime head coach John Altobelli.
Altobelli, his wife and daughter were passengers on the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna that crashed in January, killing all eight on board.
Adams said he took away some lessons from the brief time he shared with the four-time California state juco championship coach.
“Some of the main points he discussed were you are always going to have to earn a spot, so if you show up at practice every day and work hard, you are not guaranteed to get where you are going, but you have a better chance,” Adams said. “And to keep in good character. And always do everything to the best of your ability.”
Adams thanked his parents, Tim and Jody, and all of his coaches through the years for their help in getting him to this stage.
“They were always pushing me and supporting me,” Adams said. “And all the coaches I’ve had. Those guys are still helping coach me to this day.”
Adams is training daily and is hopeful to resume some activity with his Wilder Baseball Club teammates before heading south in August.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing baseball,” he said.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.