Barlow buddies invited to scout showcase
Barlow High teammates Jaren Hunter and Durham Sundberg are spending a week of their summer vacation on a trek to Long Beach, Calif., after each was invited to participate in the Area Code Games — an elite showcase for the nation's top baseball players with scouts from across Major League Baseball in attendance.
"It's awesome. It's invite-only, and people I've talked to who have done it before say it's the biggest event of the summer," Hunter said. "There are pro scouts everywhere — it's the highest stage."
Hunter plays his summer ball with Gunderson baseball organized by former Oregon State star Kevin Gunderson. He is expected to see action on the pitching mound where he finished his junior season at Barlow with a 6-3 record and a 1.50 Earned Run Average. He averaged 1.5 strikeouts per inning and held opposing batters to a 0.153 average.
"From what they told my summer coach, they like the velocity on my fastball and that I can throw three pitches with movement and accuracy," Hunter said.
The showcase runs Monday through Friday, Aug. 5-9, at Blair Field — the Long Beach University stadium. Eight regional teams will be competing with Hunter and Sundberg playing for the Kansas City Royals, representing players out of the Northwest.
Sundberg expects to see action mostly in the outfield where he is known for throwing runners out at the plate, and he will also dust off his first-base glove for some time on the infield.
"I've been really working on my arm this summer and I'm seeing that improvement," Sundberg said.
Sundberg hit 24-for-77 (.312) out of the with five doubles and four home runs, while batting out of the team's clean-up spot in his junior year.
He plays with the Northwest Futures club during the summer season.
"My coach told me about the invite, and I had the forms filled out five minutes later," Sundberg said. "Getting pro scout exposure — that's the dream for a lot of baseball players. It's the first step to the next level."
Sundberg and Hunter are the only high school teammates on the Royals roster for the Area Code event.
"He's been my best friend and teammate for as long as I can remember, so it's awesome to do this with someone I'm close to," Hunter said.
The Area Code games are presented by New Balance and free to the players to attend. Major League alumni from the event include Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton.
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