The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 11, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Baseball brothers

Blair and Easton excited, humbled

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — They haven’t reached The Show, yet, but Tuesday night, they were The Biggest Show in Town.

Zak Blair and Brandon Easton, two Ashtabula County guys who were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last Saturday, met at the request of yours truly at the beautiful Havens Complex for a photo session.

And not only was it the first time Blair, the former Jefferson star, and Easton, the former Pymatuning Valley great, met, it was like a walk on the red carpet for them.

With Little League games and legion-level games going on throughout the hustling and bustling ballpark, it didn’t take long for Blair and Easton to be treated like celebrities.

Signing some autographs will make anyone feel that way, after all.

“It was really cool,” Easton, the Lakeland Community College product selected in the 24th round by the Minnesota Twins said. “It was a lot of fun. So many people are so happy for us, it really makes you feel good about where we come from.”

Blair’s feelings mirrored Easton’s.

“It was a special thing for me, actually,” the Mercyhurst University graduate taken in the 20th round of the draft by the Chicago Cubs said. “There are so many people who come up and say, ‘congratulations,’ or ‘good luck’ or ‘we’re proud of you’... it really is all so very humbling.”

And the first meeting between the ballplayers proved enjoyable.

“Oh, man, it was great to finally meet Zak!” Easton said. “I have heard and read so much about him, it was awesome to have a chance to shake his hand and talk to him.”

“Brandon is a really cool guy,” Blair said. “It was awesome to meet him. It was fun talking to him. We exchanged numbers and we’re definitely going to stay in touch.”

The two guys made impressions on each other.

“I’m taller than Zak, yes, but he is really put together!” Easton said of the broad-shouldered, 5-foot-10, 195 pound middle infielder. “I can see how strong the guy is, that’s for sure.”

“Brandon is really a big guy!” Blair said of the 6-6, 195-pound southpaw. “I mean, I didn’t realize just how tall he is and with his height, he can easily put on some more weight and up his velocity even more... and it’s at what, 90-91 already?

“That’s ridiculous.”

Easton will sign his contract either today or Thursday, then fly from Cleveland to Ft. Meyers, Fla. later Thursday.

“They’re sending me to a mini-camp on Thursday there in Ft. Meyers,” he said. “That’s where one of their rookie-league teams (the Ft. Meyers Miracle, a member of the Florida State League) is based.

“I’ll probably either be staying there or sent to Tennessee.”

The Twins have a second rookie-league team in Elizabethtown, Tenn., the  Elizabethtown Twins, a member of the Appalachian League.

Blair, who signed his contract at Mercyhurst on Monday, is in for an experience today as he flies out of Cleveland at 10:25 a.m.

“I’m connecting in Charlotte, then fly to Phoenix, where I’ll land at 1:30 p.m.,” he said. “There’s supposed to be a representative from the Cubs to meet me there.”

And doing so in yet another rock-star way.

“The guy is supposed to meet me there with a sign with my name on it,” Blair said with a laugh. “I guess it will be like in the movies.”

Which was sort of what the former Falcon experienced last night.

“I purposely parked at the front of the complex because I wanted to just walk through the entire ballpark,” Blair said. “I just took my time and looked and listened, trying to take every single thing in. All these people were coming up and were so excited for me.

“I can’t begin to tell you how honored this whole thing makes me feel. These are things I will never, ever forget.

“I pretty much grew up here. I remember being in eighth grade and watching guys like Matt Mihoci and Zach Dennis and just thinking they were like gods because they were such great ballplayers. Then, as I got older, I got to know them and realized they are even better people.

“I hope some day, there may be someone who looks at me that way.”

Realize it or not, Zak, and Brandon, it’s already happening.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    BASEBALL
    NON-CONFERENCE
    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Brittany Baitt    Riverside    .645    .667    .806    31    11    20    3    1    0    8    0
    Cassidy DiFranco    Riverside    .588    .632    .647    17    7    10    1    0    0    0    0
    Alyssa Chadwick    Conneaut    .563    .630    .625    32    12    18    2    1    0    6    5
    Alyssa Irons    Jefferson    .526    .526    .632    19    5    10    0    1    0    9    2

    April 23, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23
    Baseball

    Niles McKinley at Lakeside (4:30)
    Bloomfield at Conneaut (4:30)
    Maplewood at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Riverside at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Mathews (4:30)
    Orange at Perry (4:30)

    April 23, 2014

  • Tribe Royals crown Wahoos to split first two games

    The concerns about Indians starter Danny Salazar continue to grow.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edgewood SB Warriors whack Struthers

    Edgewood softball coach Steve Cunha’s main focus for the season centers on his team playing well in the All-American conference. In their inaugural season as part of the AAC, the Warriors continued their strong start by defeating visiting Struthers, 8-2, on Monday afternoon.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons go the extra Niles

    Jefferson coach Scott Barber knows good things usually happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

    April 22, 2014

  • Emotional rescue

    Three Ashtabula area runners joined 36,000 of their closest friends Monday during the 118th rendition of the Boston Marathon.

    April 22, 2014

  • Spartans stymied

    Ursuline pitcher Makayla Shore freely admitted she didn’t quite have her best stuff against Conneaut on Monday at Skippon Park. Despite that fact, the hurler tossed a no-hitter to beat the Spartans, 10-0.

    April 22, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video