Sports and Outdoors

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

California Dreamin': Baseball careers take Bluffton men out West

News-Banner Sports Editor

"Go west, young man," said famous newspaper editor Horace Greeley.

Two former Wells County high school graduates have followed
professional baseball careers to California.

Ironically, Bluffton High School graduate Luke Reiff, son of Linda
and Tony Reiff, and Norwell High School graduate Jarrod Parker, son
of Ranelle and Brent Parker, are associated with minor league
baseball programs in the high Class A California League.

Reiff is the assistant general manager of the Stockton Ports, an
Oakland A's affiliate, and Parker is pitching for the Visalia
Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 2008 Ports won the California League championship, but in 2009
the Ports are struggling with a 1-11 start. Meanwhile, the Rawhide
currently is at the top of the California League North Division with
an 11-1 mark. The Rawhide was tied with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and
the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees as the only Minor League teams with
perfect records in 2009. Now, the TinCaps are the only unbeaten team.

Reiff emailed that "The Ports are struggling so far this year, and
have tied for the worst start that I've been a part of in my short time in Minor League Baseball. 1-11 is going to be tough to overcome, and I'm not sure we
have it in us. We did win the California League Championship last
season, so I guess we're just receiving a little payback now.

"I'm been waiting to see Parker for some time. They are in town next
week, so I'm hoping his spot in the rotation comes up while he's here.
If not, they'll be back 2 more times this season. It will be
interesting to see him throw," added Reiff.

Reiff got his start in professional baseball as an intern with the
Indianapolis Indians when they were still at Busch Stadium before
moving to Victory Field. Reiff was a student at Indiana University at
the time.

Reiff also would like to see the new Fort Wayne baseball facility
(Parkview Field). He has heard a lot of good things about Fort
Wayne's new digs.

Obviously, the word gets around through the baseball circuits.

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