07/17/2017 11:13 PM
By Clay Vitale
The Gresham GreyWolves have sent left-handed pitcher Zak Baayoun north to Yakima Valley for the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game. Baayoun is Gresham's lone representative at this year's festivities, something he thought was a bit of an injustice to his teammates, saying, "I was excited (about going) and knew it would be a good opportunity, but I was also pretty surprised, especially because I thought some other guys from the team deserved to be here with me." Baayoun was selected based primarily on the numbers from his first two appearances where he had a 1-0 record with eight punch-outs against only 5 hits allowed over nine innings pitched. He also walked 10 batters, but did not allow an earned run as the GreyWolves went on to win both games. His next two starts produced mixed results, and he currently sports a 4.05 ERA to go along with a 1-1 record.
I caught up with Zak after Monday's homerun derby, where we discussed his freshman year at Long Beach State and his time playing for the GreyWolves.
CV: What differences have you seen between playing high school ball vs. your first year in college?
ZB: Everything is different. The speed of the game, attention to detail...in highschool you think some guys go out and dominate and make guys look silly, but in college, you realize these guys have a lot more talent, and you still have a lot to learn. The pressure to succeed is much higher.
CV: What has your experience been like playing for the GreyWolves after a year with the Dirtbags?
ZB: When you're a Dirtbag, you're a Dirtbag for life. Being a GreyWolf though, its great. Its a good league and I'm playing under a great coach.
CV: What are your expectations for the All-Star game tomorrow?
ZB: To just go out and have some fun! I'd like to show the league what the GreyWolves are all about and really enjoy the moment.
CV: What are your plans after the summer league is over?
ZB: Rest the arm, really. The shoulder deserves it, but I'll continue to work out and get stronger, and get ready for the fall at Long Beach. It's a 6 week intersquad program, and that's when you earn being a Dirtbag. It is the most important time of the year for us as a team and as an individual. That's where you really learn.
Baayoun will look to represent the Gresham team and community on the mound Tuesday, July 18; unfortunately, he won't have any of his teammates there with him.