Patrick Kivlehan returned from the Pan American Games last week with a silver medal and a new appreciation for baseball.
“It was the most fun I’ve ever had playing the game,” he said. “Everybody was there with one goal in mind: to win. Nobody was worried about anything else.”
The Tacoma Rainiers infielder/outfielder played for Team USA in the international competition. He batted .342 and hit three homers in 11 games.
Kivlehan homered in the semifinal against Cuba when Team USA came back from an early 5-1 deficit to win 6-5.
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He homered again in the gold-medal game, but Canada won in the 10th inning on a bizarre play. The U.S. had a 6-5 lead when Canada scored two runs on an errant pickoff throw and ensuing throwing error.
“It was pretty strange watching it all unfold,” said Kivlehan, who was the designated hitter in the final game. “It was one of those things where your mind didn’t want to believe what your eyes were seeing. It was a wacky thing. The game itself was one of the best games I’ve ever played in, and it was an awesome experience even though we didn’t come out on top.”
Kivlehan’s parents made the drive from West Nyack, New York, to Toronto to watch, and they transported his silver medal back to the family home.
Marte builds résumé
Tacoma’s Ketel Marte made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team as the starting shortstop, but he’s trying a new position.
The Seattle Mariners want to see how the 21-year-old can handle center field. He played the new position three times last week.
“He’s done well out there the last two days,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said before Saturday’s game. “He’s moving well and getting good jumps; he’s a good athlete. He needs reps, he needs to learn to read swings and positioning.”
The switch-hitting Marte is batting .315 for Tacoma. One of his primary positions is second base, a spot likely blocked by the Mariners’ Robinson Cano.
“The organization thinks that if he (Marte) can play another position, he can get to the major leagues a little faster,” Listach said. “They figure if he can play outfield, too, he can help the big-league team in a number of different ways.”
Marte had never played in the outfield before as a professional, but he played center field as a youth in the Dominican Republic. This season, Marte has played shortstop 46 times and second base 14 times.
Listach said Marte is still primarily an infielder and he will continue to make appearances at shortstop and second base in addition to center field.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers