A showcase of Washington baseball talent | Joel Willits

If you like baseball, I can’t encourage you enough to head out to either BCC or Bannerwood Park this weekend.

If you like baseball, I can’t encourage you enough to head out to either BCC or Bannerwood Park this weekend.

With Lakeside Recovery, Honda of Bellevue, Baden, Banker’s, Chaffey, the Seattle Stars, the Spokane Dodgers, Taylor, the Kennewick Bandits, the Twin City Titans, Red Lion and the Vancouver Cardinals all swinging the bats in this year’s Brandy Pugh Memorial Tournament, there’s no doubt the talent level at this year’s tournament is as high as ever.

And with all the talent playing in Bellevue this weekend, you’re sure to catch some future professionals in the making.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the All-Tournament teams of years past.

Check out 2001. That’s where you’ll find Taylor’s Jon Lester, a first baseman on the All-Tournament team.

Lester, now a member of the Boston Red Sox, threw a no-hitter this season for the Sox.

Or look at the 2000 All-Tournament team. You’ll find Boy’s of Summer (and Bellevue High School’s) Ben Johnson there as a catcher.

He’s now playing for the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

A glance at the 1996 team shows Adam Eaton of Bankers as the Utility/DH. Yep, that’s the very same Eaton who is now a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Todd Hollandsworth, a Newport High School grad and Lakeside Recovery team member made the All-Tournament team in 1990. Hollandsworth played 12 MLB seasons and won a World Series title in 2003 with the Florida Marlins.

John Olerud can be found on the 1985 team for the Bellevue Boys Club. Olerud got the nod at first base, the same position he’d play for 17 years in the pros, including four years with the Mariners.

Get the picture? This tournament is the real deal, featuring the state’s best high school players.

So grab the family and head out to the ballpark to catch a sighting of tomorrow’s pros still playing for the love of the game.

If anything, it sure beats watching the Mariners.

Joel Willits is the sports reporter for the Bellevue Reporter. He can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com.