Chase Anselment is The Herald’s prep baseball player of the year

Over four years of varsity baseball, Chase Anselment has evolved from what his high school coach described as “kind of a little league legend” to a team captain, a leader, and someone who is most likely going to be selected during the Major League Baseball draft this week.

He has racked up honors like being ranked No. 21 among Washington state seniors by Baseball Northwest, and was named to ESPN RISE Magazine’s all-area team for greater Seattle.

“(As a catcher) he’s got what you could call a power arm,” said Jim Stewart, head coach of Anselment’s select baseball team Chaffey Baseball. “You can’t run on him.”

He’s also pretty darn good at hitting the baseball.

Anselment has been Chaffey Baseball’s leading hitter since he was 16, something Stewart said is “unheard of, unheard of … People said he was lucky the first year (but he wasn’t), and it wasn’t lucky (the next year).”

This year Anselment’s high school slugging percentage (.917) resembled an SAT score. Meadowdale’s catcher and closer boasted a .444 batting average while hitting nine home runs and producing 31 RBI. This despite frequently being pitched around as one of the few offensive threats on a young Meadowdale squad.

For his impressive numbers and equally impressive drive, Anselment has been selected The Herald’s 2009 all-area baseball player of the year.

How does someone accrue such numbers? Talent is certainly a part of it. But Anselment’s coaches point to his competitive nature and his enviable work ethic.

Meadowdale head coach Bill Hummel likes to tell the story of how Anselment got his nickname.

A few years ago Meadowdale bought a cage to practice in. When Anselment was inside it, Hummel said, he resembled a gorilla at the zoo. The team began calling him “Chape,” a combination of Chase and Ape.

The moral of the story? Anselment must not have got out of that cage very often.

“When he stops playing it won’t be from a lack of effort, it will be because his God-given ability has run out,” Stewart said.

Anselment, who has committed to play for the University of Washington next year, plans to do so unless a major league team makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

“I’m pretty set on going to college,” Anselment said. “The money would have to be pretty good … There’s always that possibility, but I’m not counting on it.”

Anselment said he’s been talking to scouts for a while and thinks there is a chance he’ll get drafted somewhere between the 4th and 10th rounds.

“I think he’s a big picture guy,” Stewart added. “I think he’s looking down the road to ‘What happens when I’m 21 or 22?’ … Education is very important to him.”

Certainly, Anselment would be a reliable option for the Huskies. Since helping Hummel break his rule about not starting freshmen four years ago, Anselment has started every single Meadowdale baseball game, including trips to Safeco Field for state playoffs as a sophomore and a junior. All told, Anselment played all 97 games of his high school career, a number so large Hummel contacted the WIAA to find out if it set a record (they weren’t sure).

His coaches feel Anselment will also deliver under pressure for the Huskies. This year in the 3A District I championship game, Anselment batted 3-for-4 with two home runs against Shorecrest. He then followed that up with two more home runs and three intentional walks a few hours later against Lynnwood. Hummel described the performance as “amazing.”

“He understood what his role was,” Hummel said of Anselment’s performance during his senior year. “If we needed a ball hit the other way, he’d hit it the other way, if we needed a fly ball, he’d hit a fly ball, (or) if we needed a ball hit over the fence, he could hit it over the fence.”

Hummel said that Anselment is terrific about instructing younger Meadowdale players and thinks he has the potential to coach down the road.

In the meantime though, Anselment will be playing baseball.

“He has maturity at a very young age,” Stewart added. “He stays very even-keeled and the kids feed off that.”

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