Sports

Ishikawa starts minor league season in Connecticut; McFeely, Barnette in Indiana

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Travis Ishikawa has started the 2007 baseball season in a familiar spot. The Federal Way High School graduate is currently playing for the Connecticut Defenders of the Eastern League.

The Defenders are the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Ishikawa, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound first baseman, was drafted in the 21st round by the Giants after his senior year at Federal Way in 2002. He signed for a bonus of nearly $1 million.

During his five-year minor league baseball career, Ishikawa has earned a coveted spot within the Giants’ organization. Before last season he was placed on San Francisco’s 40-man roster, which includes all 25 of the players on the Giants’ big-league roster plus players in the minor leagues who are paid Major League salaries. The distinction makes Ishikawa eligible to be called up to the Giants’ Major League roster at any time, which is exactly what happened last season.

Ishikawa spent three separate stints with the Giants last year. In his 12 Major League games, Ishikawa hit an impressive .292 in 24 at bats. He also scored one run, had three doubles, a triple and four RBIs.

But he struggled at the end of last season after being sent back to Connecticut. Ishikawa finished the season with a .232 batting average in 86 games with the Double-A Defenders. He scored 33 runs, tallied 13 doubles, four triples and 10 home runs and drove in 42 runs. He also struck out 88 times.

The struggles at the plate continued into Ishikawa’s time with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. Ishikawa hit .186 with seven RBIs in 17 games. He struck out 17 times in 59 at-bats.

This year, the first baseman is hitting just .138 after eight games with Connecticut. He has scored two runs and has a double, a home run and two RBIs. He has four hits in 29 at bats.

Ishikawa started the season in a big way. In Connecticut’s opener on April 9, he finished 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. But since the opener, he is just 2-for-21 with one run and no RBIs.

McFeely and Barnette together again

Shea McFeely and Tony Barnette are both starting the season with the South Bend Silver Hawks in Indiana. The Silver Hawks are classified as a low A minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and play in the Midwest League. McFeely is a graduate of Federal Way High School and Barnette went to Thomas Jefferson High School.

Both McFeely and Barnette were drafted by the Diamondbacks last year after stellar careers playing baseball in the Pac-10 Conference — Barnette in the 10th round and McFeely in the 29th.

McFeely had the more distinguished college career after winning a national championship last spring at Oregon State University. Barnette, a right-handed pitcher, attended Arizona State after playing two seasons at Central Arizona Community College.

In his first season in the Diamondbacks’ organization last summer, McFeely, an infielder, hit .251 with eight doubles, 31 runs, five triples, five home runs and 37 RBIs for the Missoula Osprey, Arizona’s Rookie League affiliate. This year, he is hitting .235 with two doubles, five runs and one RBI with South Bend.

Barnette, also with the Osprey, finished the season with a 6-4 record and a 3.89 earned-run average in 15 starts, including a team-leading 74 strikeouts in 76 innings. This season, Barnette has a 5.11 ERA in 12 innings of work. He has started two games and also has one save.

Piper-Jordan in Vancouver

Federal Way graduate Andre Piper-Jordan will be starting the season playing outfield for the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League. The center fielder is 23 years old and played at Everett Community College before being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 26th round in 2004.

Vancouver, the short-Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, doesn’t open the season until June 19.

Last year, Piper-Jordan hit .255 in 45 games at Vancouver. He scored 19 runs, had eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Everett in Burlington

Federal Way graduate Brady Everett has started the season with the Burlington (Iowa) Bees of the Midwest League. Everett, a catcher, is hitting .278 in nine games with three doubles, one home run and two RBIs.

Burlington is the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Everett was the Royals’ 15th round selection in the 2005 draft out of Washington State University. He was a first-team, All-Pac 10 catcher his senior year for the Cougars after hitting .340 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs.

Everett also played at Burlington last year, where he hit .256 in 86 games with 40 runs, 13 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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