Arizona sends Ayers to Class A Yakima

2004 JDHS grad was drafted in the 48th round by the Diamondbacks

Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2007

Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Joe Ayers and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a contract Thursday, according to the team's official Web site.

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The Diamondbacks then assigned Ayers to the Class A Yakima Bears of the Northwest League. The Northwest League features eight teams and plays a shorter season than other minor league clubs.

Ayers, a shortstop, was selected in the 48th round overall by Arizona in the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 8.

The 20-year-old player starred for Boston College after transferring from Stanford University. He also won two state championships with the Crimson Bears and graduated in 2003.

Minor league baseball represents a large change from college ball, where the majority of the Bears' players previously competed. For instance, the players must get used to swinging a wooden bat, opposed to the aluminum ones used in the NCAA.

Ayers did play a season in the Alaska Baseball League in 2005, which uses the wooden bats.

Also, the schedule will be arduous. The team will only get three days off out of a 76-game schedule.

The Bears, based out of Yakima, Wash., open their season Tuesday at the Everett AquaSox. It'll be the first of 21 consecutive games.

Ayers will try to become just the third Alaskan to play in Major League Baseball. Chad Bentz, a 1999 JDHS grad, pitched for both the Montreal Expos and the Florida Marlins.

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