King’s Way Christian pitcher says he intends to sign with Seattle organization soon
VANCOUVER — The spring of 2018 just keeps getting better for Damon Casetta-Stubbs.
A senior at King’s Way Christian, Casetta-Stubbs was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 11t round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft Wednesday morning.
“This is what I wanted. When the draft started, I put on a Mariners hat. I was hoping to be picked by them,” Casetta-Stubbs said. “The way it worked out was pretty cool.”
Casetta-Stubbs said he intends to sign with the Mariners and begin his professional career as soon as possible. He and the Mariners have verbally agreed on a signing bonus of $325,000.
The 6-foot, 4-inch right-handed pitcher has a scholarship to play college baseball at Seattle University. That is no longer the plan.
“The one team I wanted to play for was the Mariners, being a hometown guy,” Casetta-Stubbs said.
He appreciates that many of the organization’s minor league affiliates are based in the west, too.
Casetta-Stubbs was at a special breakfast for King’s Way Christian seniors when he saw on the phone that he was drafted.
“It’s something I dreamed about since I was 3 years old. To see it come true, it’s pretty cool,” he said.
“My phone has been blowing up,” he added, noting all the the contact through calls, text messages, and on social media. “It’s awesome seeing all the support.”
Pitching for the Knights this spring, Casetta-Stubbs went 6-1 with a 0.68 ERA. He had 97 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. He walked seven. He finished his high school career with three consecutive shutouts – one five-inning win in the district playoffs and two seven-inning games in the state playoffs, including in the state semifinals.
“Since I’ve been around, all the kid has done is put in the work, on and off the field,” King’s Way Christian coach Gregg Swenson said. “That mentality that he brought to the field every day, it was such a blessing to part of it. When your best player is your hardest worker, usually you have a pretty good program.”
Swenson noted that as the team’s new head coach this season, he was in the right place at the right time to be part of Casetta-Stubbs’ final season. Today’s event was years in the making with a work ethic, talent, and solid coaching before Swenson joined the program.
“He’s had great guidance. He’s had great vision,” Swenson said. “He put himself on the right path.”
Casetta-Stubbs finished his high school career with a scoreless streak of 20 innings. The Knights finished second in the Class 1A state baseball tournament, a year after winning the state championship.
He has started, either at pitcher, outfield, or first base, for every game in King’s Way Christian baseball history.
“It was pretty special for me to go to a small school and do what we did,” he said.
Now it is about the future.
“The goal is not pro baseball,” Swenson said. “The goal is the big leagues. Celebrate. Enjoy it. Now, what do I have to do to be a big leaguer?”
Casetta-Stubbs, the coach added, has the right mentality to work toward that goal.
Sure enough, Casetta-Stubbs did say that he planned on going to New Athlete later Wednesday to work on his game.
Soon, he will be a professional baseball player.
Damon Casetta-Stubbs appreciates what this day means to him, his family, and his friends at King’s Way Christian. But he also understands the work is just getting started.