Howell’s Weatherly savors All-Star experience

Sam Weatherly prepares to hit in Tuesday's coaches association all-star game at Comerica Park in Detroit. (Photo by Tim Robinson)
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DETROIT — He began the night with a double down the right field line and ended it with a strikeout.

But Howell’s Sam Weatherly couldn’t have been more pleased with his final game as a high school baseball player.

Weatherly, who was named Michigan’s Mr. Baseball on Monday, got the start for the West All-Stars in the annual game at Comerica Park, a far cry from the Grand Rapids city park where his father, Mike, played as an all-star in 1983.

It was fun. To be around all these guys was pretty special,” Sam Weatherly said. “It was a lot of fun. It was something I will cherish forever. I made a lot of friendships the last two days. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Among his friends were catcher Adam Proctor of St. Johns, a Michigan State recruit whom Weatherly roomed with Monday night in Detroit, and Jeff Criswell, a Portage Central product who is going to Michigan.

In the past, teams in the game, sponsored by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association, wore distinctive uniforms.

On this night, like their counterparts in the major leagues, the high school all-stars wore their school jerseys, something Weatherly appreciated.

Howell’s Sam Weatherly takes some practice cuts during Tuesday’s all-star game at Comerica Park. (Photo by Tim Robinson)

“One last time,” he said of wearing the white Howell uniform with his number, 6, in gold. “It’s something special. I loved every minute playing for Howell, and to wear (the uniform) one more time and represent here at Comerica was pretty cool.”

Sam Weatherly rounds first on his way to second base after doubling in the first inning. (Photo by Tim Robinson)

Weatherly doubled in his first at-bat in the first inning, then struggled on the mound, walking two and giving up a run. He sat the next five innings before returning to the lineup in the seventh, when he hit a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.

Sam Weatherly got the start for the West All-Stars Tuesday night at Detroit’s Comerica Park. (Photo by Tim Robinson)

“I was looking for the fastball,” he said. “(The pitcher’s) arm slot was a little different, but I was hunting fastball and I got it. It’s like any other game It was nice to get that hit.”

Weatherly finished the night 2-for-3 by striking out in his final at bat.

As for nerves, “the first pitch,” Weatherly said. “Then it starts going. Other than that, it was fun. Kind of competitive but more fun at the same time. You get to play with your buddies and wear the Howell jersey one more time. That’s what we did.”

The game itself began in a rain shower. The rain gave way to clear skies to the west which led to sunlight painting interesting patterns on the clouds before nightfall.

Weatherly hugs his father, Mike, as sister Tess and brother Bobby look on after Tuesday’s game. Sam’s mother, Mary Beth, is seen behind Bobby Weatherly. (Photo by Tim Robinson)

Afterward, Weatherly posed for photos and hugged his family before heading home and farther west today.

“I’m going to Holland,” he said. “Head out to the beach, hang out for a little bit, and then I’ve got to pack.”

Weatherly leaves for Clemson University on Saturday and starts classes there on Monday, but savored all he could of his all-star experience.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friendships. That’s the bigger part of baseball. You come out with a lot of friendships and memories you’ll have forever. That’s what I’ve taken out of it, the memories and friends that I’ve got.”