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Whiting Finds Success With National Championship Program
2007 Oakdale High graduate Boone Whiting is taking his baseball career to the next level by earning a spot on the National Champion Santa Barbara Foresters summer league baseball team in southern California. - photo by Photo Contributed
Back on May 28, 2007 Oakdale High senior Boone Whiting gave a brief glimpse on what was to come when the right-handed pitcher dominated the Bear River Bruins 12-0 for an Oakdale Sac-Joaquin Section Baseball Championship. Now, Whiting is helping the Santa Barbara Foresters defend their National Baseball Congress World Series title.
Whiting, who is entering his junior season at Centenary College in Louisiana, is part of a pitching staff that includes some of the most talented players in NCAA Division I baseball.
His college career took to new heights during his sophomore season where the Oakdale graduate put together a 1.53 ERA during the season, accumulating a 2-1 record in 19 appearances with an impressive 41 strikeouts versus 17 walks. Whiting only surrendered nine earned runs in 53 innings pitched.
His impressive work at Centenary has opened the eyes of some Major League Baseball scouts, lifting Whiting to the platform of one of the nation’s more impressive summer baseball league programs.
“It’s hard to say you belong on a team like this,” Whiting said. “It’s more like you’re just honored to get the opportunity. You can never say that you belong here or you deserve this, it’s more like I’m just happy to be here.”
His Centenary experience has been the groundwork for the opening in Santa Barbara. College has been a ride in itself for Whiting, playing against some of the best baseball programs in NCAA history.
“I mean you go to Texas A&M and they’ve got 4,000 fans screaming,” Whiting said. “And you go out there and take the mound, there are not too many feelings that can compare to that.”
Whiting was more than ready to seize the opportunity, turning in five scoreless innings in his first outing for the Foresters. Head coach Bill Pintard coaches the squad and is joined by a staff with a plethora of baseball knowledge. Each of the Santa Barbara squad’s coaching staff members has some tie to the professional baseball scouting system.
“Oh my gosh,” Whiting said of the staff. “The first week I was down here I was able to learn so much. The Angels scout took us down to Angel Stadium of Anaheim. I got to talk to Mike Butcher (the Angels pitching coach) and Mike Scioscia about pitches that I’ve thrown and what I haven’t had success with as well as what he thought I could do different.
“These guys know what they’re talking about.”
The difference in success at the collegiate level and success in professional baseball is a very fine line, so taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn from the best is something that Whiting refuses to miss out on.
“They do such a good job of explaining to you what you can get away with on the college level,” Whiting said. “But what you won’t be able to get away with at the professional level.
“They really teach you what to work at.”
Whiting attributes a great deal of his success to roots in the Oakdale High baseball program. Playing for section championships and learning how to play the game the right way has made each transition along the way that much easier.
“I could not have gotten to where I am at the college level,” Whiting said. “Or been prepared for my freshman year if it wouldn’t have been for my pitching coach in high school Nate (Gregory). He was the one who really got me to think about the mental side of the game.
“He taught me to prepare before each game, I mean that guy is something else.”
With 90 percent of the roster focused on getting drafted, or drafted again, Whiting obviously has some things in the back of his mind as he prepares for his third season at Centenary, which will make him Major League Baseball draft eligible for the first time since 2007.
“At Centenary we have gotten better every year,” Whiting said. “And I think the squad coming in is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here. Personally I just want to stay healthy and try and progress on what I’ve already learned. I want to fine-tune the things that I know how to do already.
“I pretty much want to keep doing what I’ve been doing and maybe get a little stronger.”