Just like old times, Brown and Thompson shine on the diamond

May 17, 2016

Garrett Brown Baseball

Garrett Brown

As 12-year-olds Garrett Brown and Tyler Thompson of Anchorage were on an all-star team that was one win away from advancing to the Little League World Series.

Ten years later the two friends are playing for Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

And the dream is still alive.

Brown and Thompson have the NCAA D3 World Series in their sights after helping PLU win the Northwest Conference championship and secure a second consecutive trip to the regional tournament.

“I’ve been playing with him since I was a 9-year-old Dimond-West Little League all-star,” Brown told me.

PLU opens regional play Wednesday in Spokane, Washington, against the top-seeded Trinity Tigers of Texas. The regional winners advance to the World Series.

“I’m super pumped for this week,” Brown said. “It’s bad ass that me and Ty have a chance to compete for a title in our last time playing together.”

Tyler Thompson baseball

Tyler Thompson

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is having his best season as a college player. The senior third baseman has a career-best .315 batting average, eight home runs, 14 doubles and .542 slugging percentage.

He’s also riding a personal-best 20-game hitting streak – the longest among any Alaska college player this season.

Brown, of Service High fame, ranks top-10 nationally with 10 saves.

The senior closer owns a 1.97 ERA in 45.2 innings over 25 appearances.

Funny enough, he came to PLU as a catcher. And he didn’t even start pitching in college until two years ago.

“I started off behind the dish and I struggled a lot. I played well defensively but I had a lot of trouble hitting for some reason,” Brown said. “So, after my sophomore season, I asked my coach if I could get on the bump for him to see what he thought.

“After he saw me pitch he took the bat out of my hands.”

Growing up in Alaska, Brown was usually one of the best pitchers in the state. He was nearly unhittable at times in Little League.

“I am having so much fun pitching,” Brown said. “Pitching is my passion and these last two years have been unreal.”