Former Manager of the Perth Heat, Steve Fish, to visit Sitka

Sitka Baseball Club is excited to announce the upcoming arrival of Steve Fish who will be visiting Alaska for the first time after coaching several of Sitka’s baseball players on his travel ball team– the World Baseball Showcases Colts Black and Red teams–this past summer (2021).

I used to play against Steve in high school in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, where he played shortstop for current power house Jesuit High School and I played for former power house Beaverton High School.  Steve ultimately went on to play junior college baseball where he became a polished RHP.  Steve then committed to the University of Nebraska where he finished his college career.  The Angels drafted Steve in the 22nd round of 1997 major league draft.  In 1998, Steve won the Angel’s minor league pitcher of the year award.  Steve pitched 4 seasons in the minor leagues and 3 more years in the independent leagues.

After his playing career, Steve became a Major League scout for the Red Sox covering most of the southern hemisphere (Australia, Philippines, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, etc.).  Later on he was picked to manage the Perth Heat, a major league baseball affiliated winter league team, where he coached them to two national championships, and was runner up in his first season.  Steve also coached the 18U Australian National team to 4th and 5th place finishes in the World Cup.

Since 2010, Steve has brought Australian prospects on summer baseball tours across the U.S. to give them more game experience.  These “World Baseball Showcases Colts” teams competed all across America, playing some of the top 18U and summer college level teams along the way.

This summer, due in part to COVID-19, several of our Sitka kids were lucky enough to play for Steve’s WBS Colts team, filling some roster spots previously occupied by Australians who were unable to play due to Australian travel restrictions.  Dylan Marx-age 16, Nik Calhoun-17, Grady Smith-16, and Eman Barragan-18, (Sitka High Students) and Caleb Calhoun-14, all got to play for the WBS Colts teams this summer.

On the first tour, beginning in late June and lasting about a month, the boys got in about 27 games playing against some great teams in the Northwest.   They started out against the Cody Cubs in Cody, Wyoming, then traveled to Port Angeles, Washington for a tournament against several Washington 18U teams, over the 4th of July weekend, and then traveled to Eureka, California, where they faced pitchers throwing in the upper 80s and low 90s – who were either in college or college commits.  They ended the first tour in Bakersfield against one of the top 18U scout teams in the area, where many of the players on the Bakersfield team were already committed to D-1 schools.

The kids flew home for a week, (LAX to SIT) and were invited back to play on the second “Cross country tour”.  The ~20 game cross country tour started against a very talented Easton Prime team in San Bernardino, CA, with virtually all of its players committed to play college.  Our kids played well!  Uncommitted Eman Barragan (LHP) touched 87 mph and kept some of the nation’s best 18U hitters his age off balance with his elite spin rates for his velocity, and plus curve ball.

The kids then traveled to Las Vegas for a 3 game series — and then to Nebraska for a 4 game series.  Then to South Bend, Indiana for a few games at the storied minor league ball park of the MLB affiliated South Bend Cubs high “A” team.   The boys then left for Buffalo, New York, where they played a series against a couple different east coast 18U all star teams.  In between, the boys visited the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, and the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and Niagara Falls.

As far as life experience, putting up with the daily grind of travel and tornado warnings; and learning to hit velocity, and playing through adversity–these boys benefited immensely.  I was surprised at how well they adapted. But much of the credit goes to Steve Fish, who just knows how to develop young players, and gave our boys an incredible opportunity to play so many games against good competition. Thank you Steve Fish.  I can’t wait to host you here in Sitka, that I lovingly refer to as a small, Alaska fishing town, with a baseball problem.