Community Sports

All-Star selection nostaligic for Bells basestealer Stroosma

Bellingham Bells outfielder Aaron Stroosma hit a RBI against the Klamatha Falls Gems, Monday, June 9, 2014, at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham.
Bellingham Bells outfielder Aaron Stroosma hit a RBI against the Klamatha Falls Gems, Monday, June 9, 2014, at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Sometime during this year’s West Coast League All-Star Game at Joe Martin Field, Aaron Strooma will take moment to himself. He’ll pause for an instant before basking in the event’s pageantry, knowing his baseball career has come full circle.

Underneath the turf at Joe’s is the ground Stroosma use to walk along after baseball games waiting to get autographs from the summer league players he idolized as a young kid at Columbia Elementary.

Before he moved to Mount Vernon and began attending Sedro-Woolley schools, Stroosma and his mom frequented summer league games at Joe Martin. He even recalled having a birthday party there.

“I can remember after games as a kid asking for autographs,” Stroosma said in a phone interview. “I remember being one of those kids who’d get the souveniers.”

Now Stroosma will be sending kids home with their own.

The Bells standout centerfielder is one of six Bellingham All-Star selections who will be featured as a members of the WCL’s North Team on Monday, July 20. Infielders Dustin Breshears and Andrew Reichenbach and catcher Bronson Larsen will join him, as will pitchers Justin Calomeni and Andrew Kemmerer.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m., the home run derby begins at 5:30 p.m. and first pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. A WCL All-Star Game logo baseball will be given away to the first 1,000 fans, and Larsen, whose five home runs is tied for third in the WCL, will be a derby participant.

For Stroosma, not only does his All-Star selection bring a sense of nostalgia. It’s a symbol of how far he’s come as a ball player.

Stroosma wasn’t on the Bells’ roster when the club won its WCL Championship last summer, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t place his mark on the season.

He was brought on as a 10-day contract player to start the year, performed well, but the club didn’t have the room to keep him on the roster for the remainder of the season. But the small showcase offered Bellingham coach Jeff James a glimpse of what Stroomsa can provide a club.

“He is a tremendous athlete, No. 1,” James said in a phone interview. “It was a no-brainer. He was on the top of our list to make sure we sewed up.”

Stroosma showed his speed on the basepaths, his hitting ability and defense during those 10 games a year ago, and it’s been much of the same this summer.

He’s hitting for a .293 average, and his 20 stolen bases in league play ranks him third in the WCL. Stroosma, who transitioned to outfield from the corner infield in college, has given the Bells a reliable glove in center, too.

What arguably makes him most exciting to watch, though, is his work on the basepaths.

“He’s a threat when he’s running or not,” James said. “(Pitchers) have to watch him and look at him, which makes it a lot better for the hitters up to bat. He’s a real threat, which is huge in our order.”

Stroosma wasn’t always a basestealer. He flashed his ahleticism playing wide receiver for Sedro-Woolley’s football program. He played basketball, too. But at Bellevue College he began adding the baserunning dimenstion to his game.

James quickly recognized Stroosma’s knack for theiving bags, and the coach hasn’t hesitated at all in giving Stroosma the go-ahead this summer.

“First, it’s fun,” Stroosma said. “Anytime you get out there and snag a base it’s fun. It’s really a credit to the coaching staff. When I’m at first, coach James is always giving the green light, and that allows me to develop confidence on the basepaths.”

Stroosma, who now plays at Division I Liberty University in Virginia, has helped the Bells to a 24-12 record and a seven-game lead in the WCL’s West Division at the break.

He’ll undoubtedly be looking to help Bellingham defend it’s WCL title the second half of the season, but for now a WCL All-Star game appearance in his former hometown playing in front of a large contingent of family and friends is about as sweet as it gets.

“I think just not forgeting to look up and enjoy the moment,” said Stroosma when asked what he’s most looking forward to at the All-Star game, “check out the stands and see who all is there and not let the game get too big. Enjoying the moment is what I’m looking forward to.”

Reach Andrew Lang at 360-756-2862 or andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Sports Blog at bellinghamherald.com/sports-blog. Follow him on Twitter at @BhamSports and on Facebook at WhatcomCountySports.

2015 WCL All-Star Game

When: Monday, July 20. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Home Run Derby starts at 5:30 p.m. First pitch at 7:05 p.m.

Where: Joe Martin Field

Dustin Breshears

Position: Infielder

Stats: .270 BA, 27 H, 13 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB.

Quote: “He was a huge part of teh team last year. Then he played mostly second base, and this summer he’s done an incredible job at short. He’s just continued that success that he had last year and the fact that he’s an all-star is indicative of that” — Assistant coach Dane Siegfried

Justin Calomeni

Position: Pitcher

Stats: 2-0, 2.03 ERA, 17.2 IP, 20 SO, 3 BB.

Quote: “He’s fun to watch out there. You can see he has the ability to be dominating. He hasn’t thrown that many innings, and as the summer goes on he can be a guy we really rely on in the later part of the season” — Assistant coach Dane Siegfried

Andrew Kemmerer

Position: Pitcher

Stats: 1-0, 1.45 ERA, 37 IP, 21 SO, 8 BB.

Quote: “A really competitive guy. He has had the one of the best summers on the mound and has done a really good job with us. He mixesa his changeup well, and is a really great kid.” — Assistant coach Dane Siegfried

Bronson Larsen

Position: Catcher

Stats: .310 BA, 27 H, 16 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB.

Quote: “He’s come in and hit and has done a great job behind the plate everday striving to get better. He has tremendous power, and if he gets that pitch out over the plate he is able to generate so much torque and drive it all over the yard.” — Assistant coach Dane Siegfried

Andrew Reichenbach

Position: Infielder

Stats: .312 BA, 24 H, 8 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB.

Quote: “He was a 10-day guy for us, but nobody could get him out. He’s been doing well for us this summer.” — Assistant coach Dane Siegfried

Aaron Stroosma

Position: Outfielder

Stats: .293 BA, 29 H, 16 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 20 SB.

Quote: “He’s a threat when he’s running or not. (Pitchers) have to watch him and look at him, which makes it a lot better for the hitters up to bat. He’s a real threat, which is huge in our order.” Head coach Jeff James

North All-Star Roster

CATCHERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Bronson Larsen

Bellingham

Brigham Young

24

.310

16

5

11

0

Brandon Oliver

Kelowna

Western Oregon

20

.328

10

1

14

0

INFIELDERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Max Carter

Kelowna

Cal. State Bakersfield

21

.300

11

0

9

0

Andrew Reichenbach

Bellingham

George Fox

22

.312

8

1

11

2

Dustin Breshears

Bellingham

Gonzaga

26

.270

13

3

13

7

Parker Coss

Walla Walla

California Irvine

28

.318

12

0

12

3

Hunter Villanueva

Kelowna

Fresno Pacific

33

.404

26

5

22

1

OUTFIELDERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Justin Flores

Kelowna

Cal. State Monterey Bay

32

.400

23

5

27

2

Sheldon Liikala

Wenatchee

Spokane Falls CC

33

.283

21

0

14

4

Kyle Nixon

Walla Walla

Cal. State Bakersfield

29

.318

15

2

14

0

Aaron Stroosma

Bellingham

Liberty

28

.293

16

1

8

20

Jace VandeBrake

Yakima Valley

Gonzaga

34

.281

26

0

16

8

PITCHERS

Player

Team

School

W-L

ERA

Sv

IP

K

BB

Jayse Bannister

Kelowna

Holy Names

4-1

1.94

0

32.1

17

14

Justin Calomeni

Bellingham

Cal Poly

2-0

2.03

0

17.2

20

3

Micah Gorman

Walla Walla

Virginia Military

4-1

2.92

0

40

25

6

Andrew Kemmerer

Bellingham

Central Arkansas

1-0

1.45

0

37

21

8

Easton Lucas

Walla Walla

Pepperdine

1-1

2.48

0

29

24

8

Wyatt Mills

Yakima Valley

Gonzaga

2-1

1.37

7

19.2

16

4

Darrion Simons

Yakima Valley

Yakima Valley CC

2-3

3.40

0

45

41

20

Dominic Topoozian

Victoria

Fresno State

3-3

3.27

0

46.2

31

8

Hunter Wells

Wenatchee

Gonzaga

5-1

2.07

0

43.1

39

21

South All-Star Roster

CATCHERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Gunner Pollman

Klamath Falls

Sacramento State

14

.353

4

1

5

0

Louis Wolf

Bend

Oregon Tech

21

.303

17

1

17

1

INFIELDERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Louis Archibald

Cowlitz

Lower Columbia CC

34

.282

22

4

27

1

Jake Scudder

Kitsap

Iowa Western CC

32

.302

12

0

16

3

West Tunnell

Bend

Baylor

31

.366

29

5

35

6

Cadyn Grenier

Bend

Oregon State

27

.385

30

3

22

10

Tyler Davis

Bend

Northwest Nazarene

33

.383

34

6

40

1

OUTFIELDERS

Player

Team

School

G

Avg.

R

HR

RBI

SB

Ryan Aguilar

Cowlitz

Arizona

33

.256

22

0

19

6

Christian Cavaness

Bend

Lindenwood

31

.326

37

3

17

8

Derron Davis

Medford

McCook CC

31

.311

25

0

9

10

Cooper Hummel

Bend

Portland

31

.344

24

2

28

1

Dan Mayer

Medford

Pacific

32

.310

18

8

23

0

PITCHERS

Player

Team

School

W-L

ERA

Sv

IP

K

BB

Joe Balfour

Cowlitz

San Jose State

3-1

2.34

0

38.1

17

7

Adam Cline

Kitsap

Columbia

2-1

1.35

0

33.1

32

7

Slater Lee

Corvallis

Cal Poly

1-1

2.62

0

37.2

26

9

Patrick McGuff

Bend

Morehead State

6-0

2.49

0

43.1

45

14

Callahan Neely

Cowlitz

Linfield

1-2

1.58

0

39.2

36

9

Lars Rider

Cowlitz

Central Washington

0-0

0.75

9

12

24

2

Nate Simmons

Kitsap

Saint Mary’s

1-3

2.43

1

40.2

26

16

Mickey Walker

Klamath Falls

Saint Martin’s

1-5

4.11

0

39.1

26

18

Jordan Wilcox

Bend

Portland

3-2

3.70

0

41.1

35

8

WCL Standings

East Division

W

L

Pct.

GB

Kelowna

23

12

.657

-

Yakima Valley

19

16

.543

4

Walla Walla

17

18

.486

6

Wenatchee

15

20

.429

8

West Division

W

L

Pct.

GB

Bellingham

23

12

.657

-

Victoria

17

18

.486

6

Cowlitz

16

19

.457

7

Kitsap

13

22

.371

10

South Division

W

L

Pct.

GB

Bend

28

7

.800

-

Corvallis

19

16

.543

9

Medford

14

21

.400

14

Klamath Falls

6

29

.171

22

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