Three locals taken in MLB amateur draft
June 16, 2009
By Bob Taylor
Three local baseball players were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft of amateur baseball players last week.
Selected during day two of the three-day draft on June 10 were Issaquah High School graduate Brian Justice, a right-handed pitcher for St. Mary’s College in California, and Liberty High School infielder Eric Peterson. Justice was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays and Peterson was chosen by the Kansas City Royals.
Skyline High School graduate Brad Decater, shortstop and outfielder for California’s Cuesta College, was drafted June 11 by the Baltimore Orioles.
Justice was the staff ace for St. Mary’s this spring, compiling career highs for victories (6) and strikeouts (58). He was selected to the West Coast Conference all-league team. This season, Justice notched wins over All-American pitchers Mario Hollands, of the University of California Santa Barbara, and A.J. Griffen, of San Diego State.
Before coming to St. Mary’s, Justice pitched two seasons for Idaho’s Treasure Valley College, compiling a 11-1 mark. He was sidelined during the 2007 season because of an injury, but bounced back in 2008 for St. Mary’s.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Brian,” St. Mary’s coach Jedd Soto said. “From his work ethic and development, to the way he bounced back from Tommy John surgery, to be our Friday guy was real special. Due to his location, he should have a smooth transition to the minors.”
Justice pitched on Issaquah’s 2004 3A state championship team. Issaquah High coach Rob Reese, who has three former players in the minor leagues (Colin Curtis, Matt Wickswat and Lindsay Gulin), said he is happy for Justice.
“He’s a big strong guy who can throw real well,” Reese said. “We’re happy he got drafted and wish him well.”
Peterson, who has a scholarship to the University of Washington, was the 3A/2A KingCo Conference player of the year. He led the Patriots to the league championship and a berth in the state playoffs. Peterson also slugged a school-record 12 home runs this spring. Last weekend, he played in the Washington State Coaches Association All-star series.
Decater hit .330 for Cuesta College and helped his team win the Western State Conference championship. He led the team in runs batted in (60) and tied for the team-lead in home runs (7).