Newby gets chance to play pro ball

Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2004

Joey Newby, a 2000 graduate of Soldotna High School, was still dreaming when the phone call he's been dreaming about came in Friday morning.

"I was actually sleeping. My dad got the call. He came in and said, 'It's somebody from the A's,'" Newby said.

A scout from the Oakland Athletics was calling because there was a slot open for a pitcher on their rookie league team in Arizona, and the organization wanted to give Newby a shot.

"He asked, 'How would you like to play for my team in Scottsdale?'" Newby said.

Newby's answer was easy.

"This is what I've been waiting for," he said.

Newby was scheduled to depart for Arizona Saturday morning. If he does well in Scottsdale, he will be promoted to the Athletics' Single A club in Vancouver, British Columbia the same team with which another Soldotna graduate, Chris Mabeus, started his professional career. Mabeus is currently with the A's Triple A team in Sacramento, Calif.

Newby played football and hockey at Soldotna High School and played baseball for the American Legion Twins. He began his college baseball career at Shadow Mountain Community College in Arizona and played the last two seasons at Colorado State University-Pueblo, an NCAA Division II school.

This past season, Newby posted a 10-3 record as a starting pitcher for the Timberwolves with a 3.67 earned run average in 90 2-3 innings pitched. His 95 strikeouts ranked him second in his conference.

Newby, now 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, has added a split-fingered fastball and a slider to his repertoire that also includes a fastball clocked in the mid-90s. The Timberwolves were 44-10 this season and were ranked as high as second nationally.

Newby said the A's scout had contacted his college pitching coach when the rookie team opening came up. Newby had been keeping in shape, working out on his own and making a couple of early season appearances for the Peninsula Oilers.

Newby said that while being home has been nice, the opportunity to play professional ball is too good to pass up.

"I love being home with my family, but this is what I've been waiting for," he said.

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