Alaskans connect on East Coast (Baseball)

July 26, 2010
Joe Newby

Ever since their younger days in Alaska, Soldotna’s Joe Newby and Anchorage’s Jamar Hill have crossed paths.

Both played American Legion ball in the 1990s, Newby for Kenai and Hill for Bartlett.

Both participated at the same pre-draft workout for the New York Mets in 2000.

Yet they never had officially been introduced.

That has changed now that both are playing professional ball for the independent league Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

“It’s cool having Jamar here because people can try and relate to playing in Alaska, but nobody else really understands unless you are from there,” Newby told the team’s website. “Our lockers are right next to each other in the clubhouse, and we just go back-and-forth with little inside jokes.”

Jamar Hill

Hill left the York Revolution last month in a trade that brought him to Maryland, where he joined forces with Newby. The two clicked right away.

“We have similar personalities and we joke around a lot, often completely outside of a baseball perspective,” Hill said.

Hill, a 6-foot-3 right fielder, is in his ninth season of professional baseball. He is hitting .283 this season with 5 home runs and 22 RBIs.

Newby, a 6-foot-2 relief pitcher, is in his sixth season as a pro. He has a 3-2 record and 2.26 ERA in 51 innings.

Together, they are two of the four known Alaskans playing professional baseball these days.

“There are several players who were born in Alaska, but moved somewhere else to develop into a player,” Hill said. “It’s reassuring that after being so far removed from baseball back home, we are now both at this level with the Blue Crabs. It is also a reminder every day to us to have fun.”

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