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Jackson High alum Emsley-Pai among locals drafted on Day 2

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By Mike Cane
Herald Writer
Kawika Emsley-Pai needed to clear his mind.
Instead of anxiously staring at a computer screen and waiting for his name to appear among the list of players selected on Tuesday in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Emsley-Pai went and lifted weights with a pal. After that, as he walked to a grocery store, Emsley-Pai answered his phone and got some excellent news.
Emsley-Pai, a Jackson High School alum, was selected in the 10th round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. The switch-hitting catcher played for Lewis-Clark State College in 2010, batting .342 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 19 runs batted in in 40 games in his junior season.
Emsley-Pai will never forget the phone call from the Diamondbacks’ area scout, who told Emsley-Pai Arizona drafted him. He was the 301st pick overall and one of five Lewis-Clark State players picked on Tuesday.
“It was pretty special. I’ve been working for this moment my whole life,” Emsley-Pai said. “It’s been my dream since I was a little kid.”
Edmonds Community College pitcher Ryan Bean (San Francisco, 17th round), Meadowdale High shortstop Taylor Brennan (L.A. Angels, 29th round) and Arizona Western College first baseman/Mountlake Terrace High alum Karsten Strieby (Chicago Cubs, 30th round) were also picked on Day 2 of the draft, which included rounds 2-30. The draft ends today with rounds 31-50.
Emsley-Pai played for Jackson High’s unbeaten 2006 team that won the 4A state championship. He is the fourth player from that squad to get drafted, following Travis Snider (Toronto, 2006), Cam Nobles (Seattle, 2006) and Geoff Brown (Kansas City, 2007); only Snider signed.
Emsley-Pai, who began his college career at the University of Texas before playing two seasons at Lewis-Clark State, said early Tuesday evening he planned to have dinner with Arizona’s area scout and discuss contract negotiations.
“They have a great club, a great organization, and I’m really excited to play for them,” Emsley-Pai said. “Hopefully with a lot of hard work and perseverance I’ll be able to play for Arizona some day.”
If Arizona signs Emsley-Pai it could send him to play with the organization’s short-season Class A team, the Yakima Bears. Yakima plays in the Northwest League, which means Emsley-Pai might have a chance to play against the Everett AquaSox.
It would be a convenient way for Emsley-Pai’s dad, Phil Pai of Mill Creek, to watch his son play. The first person Emsley-Pai called after he found out he was drafted on Tuesday was his dad, Emsley-Pai’s first youth baseball coach.
“He’s my biggest fan,” said Emsley-Pai, “and I knew he’d be more happy than anyone else.”
Mike Cane: Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at

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