Baseball opportunity finds Canby player
Slated to spend the summer playing baseball in Yakima, Washington, as part of the West Coast League, Canby's Sean Wiese had the rug pulled out from under him thanks to COVID-19.
But Wiese, a 2019 graduate of Canby High and a freshman at George Fox University, found a lifeline through a newly formed independent league catering to college baseball players — the Wild Wild West League.
The lefty pitcher will be part of the West Linn Knights squad that will join three other teams in a league put together by the Portland Pickles. Where once there seemed no chance for baseball this summer, Wiese and his teammates now have the chance to play a healthy slate of games this summer. And he's thankful for it.
"The West Coast League is one of the premiere summer leagues for college players," Wiese said. "Having it canceled was a bummer. We are very fortunate to have this league the Pickles put together to keep playing. The West Linn Knights manager called and asked if I wanted to play, and I definitely wanted to play some kind of baseball this summer."
Most of the college players in the league haven't played since March and the high school players who are involved haven't played at all this spring, so the WWWL is a chance to knock the rust off.
"I expect it to be pretty competitive," Wiese said. "Most of our team is from University of Oregon, Oregon State and University of Portland, but also Chemeketa Community College, Linfield and a few others. We haven't practiced yet, but we are going to get together next week."
Wiese doesn't know what his role with the Knights will be yet, but expects to get some important innings as the season moves along.
"I'm not a guy that's going to overwhelm a batter with velocity," Wiese said. "I come in and throw strikes and make hitters get themselves out, hit ground balls and fly balls."
As the chance to play baseball this summer has emerged, Wiese said he has not been idle. He has been throwing four to five times a week and working on a summer workout routine from his pitching coach at George Fox University. Additionally, a weight program has increased his strength, something he's eager to test in a competitive situation.
"I've been going to Club Fit to lift and keep in shape and gain strength," he said. "Mentally, I'm taking it (the COVID-19 shutdown) as another off-season. It's a time period where I can better myself physically and mentally. I'm working to keep an in-game mentality and working on my pitch arsenal and keeping things as game ready as possible."
Wiese and his teammates will kick off their WWWL season on July 12 at North Marion High School against the Portland Gherkins. From there, the team plays nearly every day until the second week of August.
And then, it's back to George Fox University, where the hope is that a baseball season will be doable. Wiese, a starter in high school, was called on out of the bullpen in college and noticed a distinct difference.
"It (college baseball) is a lot different than high school baseball," he said. "The game pace is a lot faster. This year I was a closer, a relief pitcher at George Fox. I just kind of found ways to slow the game down and find mental cues that helped with that."
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