Moses Lake Pirate Jorge Reyes shines for defending national champion Oregon State. Considering returning to WCCBL

Freshman right-hander Jorge Reyes of Oregon State has emerged as the Beavers Sunday starter in the Pac-10 and is quickly drawing attention from East to West. The prestigious Cape Cod League has shown great interest, yet Reyes, who hails from Warden, Washington, has made it known he would like to pitch close to home this summer in the rising West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. Reyes pitched last summer as a high school senior for the Moses Lake Pirates. He had a great experience and plans on returning as he signed up for the 2007 summer. But now he has an opportunity to play in the Cape.

Corvallis Gazette-Times writer Brooks Hatch featured Jorge Reyes last week and wrote about Jorge’s summer opportunities.

Meanwhile, Reyes continues to shine for OSU as Jorge stopped the Beavers two-game skid in Seattle by beating the Huskies 8-2. Jorge pitched 7 innings allowing 5 hits and 2 runs (one earned) while striking out 7. The win was the #8 ranked Beavers 35th of the season as OSU improved to 35-11 overall and 7-8 in the Pac-10.

Reyes has pitched masterfully this spring. He’s 4-0 over 17 appearances, 4 starts and 40 1/3 innings pitched while recording 44 strikeouts and posting a 2.45 ERA. This Pirate is the captain of his own ship. The question now is will he set sail this summer for the Atlantic and the Cape or continue his development out West in the swashbuckling new WCCBL.

Whatever Jorge decides, the WCCBL wishes Mr. Reyes the best. He’s another Northwest product that is not only shining on the diamond, but also in the classroom and in his community.

A tough decision
Reyes shows coaches what he’s capable of

By Brooks Hatch
Gazette-Times reporter
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A decision more complex and challenging than whether to throw a fastball or hard slider on a 3-2 count and runners in scoring position awaits Jorge Reyes.

The talented Oregon State freshman can pitch for the Falmouth Commodores of Bourne, Mass., in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer. Pros Jacoby Ellsbury and Dallas Buck, and future pros Mitch Canham and Eddie Kunz spent their final amateur summer there.

“Next year he’s going to be really effective. That’s why I’m telling him to go to the Cape,” said Canham, a two-year CCL veteran. “He needs big-time competition, big crowds and to have the whole scout thing around him so next year when they’re hounding him it won’t bother him.”

“Some players let that get to them. If he’s put in those pressure situations (now) it will make playing here next year easier. He’ll really be able to let loose on his stuff.”

But Reyes’ heart tugs him in the opposite direction. He grew up in a close-knit family of six in small-town Warden, Wash., and is being courted by the nearby Moses Lake Pirates of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, with whom he pitched in six games in 2006.

He’ll get more exposure in the established CCL; 198 alumni played in the majors in 2006. Only four alums of the fledgling WCCBL saw big-league action in 2006.

Should he stay or should he go? Will he be going back to Massachusetts, or will he shake Canham off and instead heed the words of his favorite musician, rapper Ludacris, and “Get Back” to his Central Washington comfort zone?

“It’s been in my head and been a little bit of a problem, actually, although it’s a great one to have,” Reyes said before Tuesday’s practice. “(Pitching coach Dan Spencer) really wants me to go” to the CCL, to better prepare him for 2008 and beyond.

“But going home, pitching in front of my family … I’m well-known in the area,” and makes an attractive draw for the Pirates, who averaged about 500 fans in 2006.

“It might be the last summer I get to spend with the family,” before his live right arm takes him far beyond the borders of Grant County, Wash. “It’s hard. I’ll have to make a decision pretty quick.”

A tough decision by OSU several weeks ago positioned Reyes to start Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale of this weekend’s series at Washington. He bumped junior Daniel Turpen from the rotation and has responded with consecutive victories over UNLV and Stanford.

“We expected him to contribute as a freshman, without question,” OSU coach Pat Casey said. “He’s done the other things some people don’t do. He’s put on 18 pounds; our strength guys say his commitment in the weight room is outstanding.

“Spence felt he deserved an opportunity to start. That start led to the next start and that led to the next start. We’re not down on anybody, we’re just trying to figure out what fits where the best.

“Players decide who plays,” by their performance. “He’s done enough good things he forced his way into the rotation and that’s a feather in his cap.”

Reyes (3-0, 2.70) has pitched at least five innings in each start. He allowed three first-inning runs at Stanford this past Sunday, then threw goose eggs the next five innings. His quality start in a tough environment led to an 8-6 Beavers victory in what might be a pivotal game in their quest for a Pac-10 championship three-peat.

“He stays loose in a lot of situations. Their coach was trying to pick his pitches and give verbals and he didn’t let them effect him,” Canham said of Reyes, who wanted to play for the Cardinal or LSU as a middle schooler, when they were College World Series fixtures.

“He’s young and has some maturing to do but his arm is so live and has so much giddy-up. He throws 91-92 and it kind of jumps on you, it’s got some serious whip. “He plays like he’s having fun. It was a matter of how long it would take until he got in the rotation.”

Stanford never recruited Reyes; OSU’s frankness helped lure him away from the Washington Pac-10 schools and USC. Some promised him immediate innings; Casey never did.

“(Casey) said, ‘We can’t make you that promise. But we’ll give you that chance. If you prove yourself, you get what you deserve,’ ” Reyes said. “I just worked my way up, and it’s good.

“I love the game, and I’m really competitive. I don’t think there’s a better feeling than striking someone out with a fastball that goes right by them. It just feels good.

“That feeling makes me want to come out and work hard every day.”