Bet you can’t name the best pitcher, statistically speaking, in the Greater Spokane League the past two years.
Central Valley senior right-hander Daniel Hammersley isn’t a household name. Nor is he the ace of the Bears staff. In fact, he’s not even second best in terms of his spot in the rotation.
Hammersley is perfectly content, too.
“I do feel like I’ve been a little under the radar, but I have no issues with it at all,” Hammersley said.
Hammersley went 6-0 with a 2.50 earned-run average last year and is 5-0 this spring with a 1.22 ERA. His overall ERA is 1.98.
“We wouldn’t be where we’re at without him,” said CV coach Barry Poffenroth, whose team closes out the regular season today at Mt. Spokane with the league championship on the line.
Last year, Hammersley’s role was mainly first in relief and an occasional start against the No. 3 starter for most league teams.
“I took full advantage of those spot starts, because I wanted to show the coaches what I could do,” he said.
This season, he has split the No. 3 spot with senior Joe Arlt (2-1) behind staff ace Scott Simon (5-1) and Cory Mack (3-1). Simon has signed with Washington State University and Mack is headed to Seattle University.
“If you look at the guys I play with, how can you not give them credit?” Hammersley asked. “Scott and Cory are both (NCAA) Division I guys. They’ve worked hard for what they got.”
The unheralded Hammersley has attracted minimal college interest. He visited Walla Walla Community College, but the school has no scholarship money. He’s been contacted by Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., and hopes to make a visit after the season if he can scrape up enough for airfare.
He hopes somebody will take a look at him this summer in American Legion. If all else fails, he’ll enroll at Community Colleges of Spokane.
Hammersley doesn’t throw as hard as the 6-foot-8 Simon, but he’s consistently around the plate.
“I think my strength is my ability to locate,” he said. “When the coaches give me a job to do, I don’t question it. I just try to get strikes and outs. It’s as simple as that.”
Hammersley didn’t grow up with the other 11 seniors on the team. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School from kindergarten through eighth grade. Of the 20 in his graduating class, 15 headed to Gonzaga Prep.
He didn’t know many of his future teammates when he arrived at CV, despite the fact that he grew up just two blocks from the school.
“It was hard to fit in at first,” Hammersley said. “They had been playing together since they were little kids. I was definitely an outsider for a while.”
So Hammersley was the brunt of most of the jokes at first. But he finally found his place.
“Now it feels like I’ve been a part of them all my life,” Hammersley said.
The highlight of his career at CV came last year when he picked up two wins – the final two victories of his season – on the same day. He finished in relief in the completion of a suspended game against Mt. Spokane and went the distance in the next game.
It’s not likely he’ll get another start this season, but he will be Poffenroth’s first choice out of the bullpen.
“The impressive thing about him is every time we send him out there he gets the job done,” Poffenroth said. “He’s a bulldog.”
You may reach Greg Lee with comments or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 927-2180.