Aug. 23, 2011
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - For three years, Paris Shewey pitched for the Washington State University Cougars. He made 63 appearances in Crimson and Gray (60 out of the bullpen), won nine games and saved 13.
The Redmond, Wash., native hoped his collegiate career was enough to earn an opportunity in professional baseball. However, when the MLB First-Year Player Draft was held two months ago, Shewey sat through 50 rounds and never heard his name called.
The southpaw thought his baseball career might be over. Then, minutes after the draft ended, his phone rang. It was a representative of the Houston Astros with the professional opportunity Shewey was seeking.
A modest signing bonus and a plane ticket to Florida later, Shewey was auditioning at Astros' minor legaue complex. After throwing a couple of bullpen sessions, he was assigned to the Greeneville (Tenn.) Astros, Houston's Rookie affiliate in the Applachian League.
In 18 appearances out of the bullpen, Shewey has recorded one win and two saves while striking out 17 in 20 innings.
"Your facing 3-4-5 hitters from college every night at this level," Shewey said. "It is definitely more difficult that I thought it was going to be. But, you can get away with more than you could in college because of the wood bats."
With the Astros out of contention in the Appalachian League race, Shewey has his plans to return to Washington State in the fall cemented. Although he will miss the first two weeks of classes while his baseball season finishes, he is confident he will complete his degree this semester.
"I contacted all of my instructors and everyone has been supportive," Shewey said.
Along with Cody Bartlett (currently with the Bluefield Blue Jays), the Cougar class of 2011 increased the number of Washington State alumni playing in the Appalachian League to 11 all-time.
Garrett Alwert (2004-Burlington, N.C., Burlington Indians)
Bryce Chamberlin (2005-Bluefield, W.Va., Bluefield Orioles)
Jason Hairston (1997-Danvile, Va., Danville Braves)
Shawn Hathaway (1987-Johnson City, Tenn., Johnson City Cardinals)
Doug Sisk (1980-Kingsport, Tenn., Kingsport Mets)
Tyson Thompson (2001-Princeton, W.Va., Princeton Devil Rays)
Ole Vigeland (1998-Pulaski, Va., Pulaski Rangers)
David Wheeler (1998-99-Kingsport, Tenn., Kingsport Mets)
Brad Wolten (1986-Burlington, N.C., Burlington Indians)