James Besaw will pursue his college baseball dreams in the land of the Red Sox.
The Oak Harbor High School senior first-baseman is headed cross country to play ball for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a NCAA D-III school which tracked down the Wildcat slugger online.
Besaw has grown up playing alongside and against many current and past Coupeville baseball stars, from little league through travel ball days, and his mom, Teresa, worked at the Whidbey News-Times at the same time I did.
The chance to continue his baseball career on the East Coast is a direct testament to changes in the scouting system for high school athletes.
Gone are the days of waiting for a scout to accidentally wander past an outpost in the middle of the water in the Pacific Northwest to see a player.
Instead, Besaw posted info and a video on a recruiting website, where an MCLA coach found him.
The school, which plays in the eight-team Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, paid for Besaw to fly out for a visit in Feb., and his earlier plans to try and play more locally went out the window.
"We were looking for schools in Washington, Oregon and Idaho," said Teresa Besaw. "But he visited, and wanted to go."
While her son will be playing for the Trailblazers way on the other side of the country, James won't be alone, as his grandfather on his mom's side of the family is from Massachusetts and he has family there.
"He will go to my cousin Bob's for Thanksgiving," Teresa Besaw said. "Bobmade James fall in love with Boston and the Red Sox as soon as they met."
She had been planning on taking her son to Boston for a Red Sox game as a graduation trip present, but will instead now deliver him to college there in late August.
After driving James around the state for baseball games nearly his entire life, one more trip is fine by mom.
"He has worked real hard for this; 13 years of baseball paid off!"