EVERETT — Ryne Ogren grew up a Phillies fan in suburban Philadelphia and played college baseball at Elon University in North Carolina.
But the Everett AquaSox are still something of a known entity for the middle infielder who will begin his professional career with the Frogs at 7:05 p.m. Friday against the Hillsboro Hops at Everett Memorial Stadium.
That’s because former Elon teammate Nick Zammarelli began his pro career in Everett two seasons ago and reached out to Ogren after the Seattle Mariners selected him in the 12th round of last week’s Major League Baseball draft.
“He was kind of a mentor at school,” said Ogren, who was a freshman shortstop at Elon during Zammarelli’s junior year. “It’s kind of cool that I’m in the same spot that he was. I’ve been talking to him a pretty good amount and he’s been giving me tips and showing me the ropes so that’s pretty cool.”
Zammarelli was a Northwest League All-Star in 2016 when he slashed .329/.391/.467 with five home runs, 18 doubles and 43 RBI in 255 at-bats. He’s currently slashing .290/.367/.451 with four homers and 33 RBI in 224 bats at advanced Class A Modesto as he works his way through the Mariners’ minor-league system.
“He just said, ‘Don’t miss the fastball,’” Ogren said. “He said you get some fastballs to hit early in the count. Obviously the pitching is a little better and guys have nastier stuff. So you want to get your pitch early in the count and you can’t miss it.”
Ogren was a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection and played last summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League. This spring at Elon he slashed .338/.451/.457 with three home runs, 17 doubles and 53 RBI in 219 at-bats while starting all 59 games for the Phoenix.
In addition to conference games against Northeastern and UNC Wilmington — both of whom also qualified for the NCAA tournament — Elon played a strong non-conference slate that included NCAA qualifiers East Carolina, Hartford and North Carolina A&T,
“We got all the big boys midweek and it kind of is a good measuring stick for us and the rest of the country, because those guys are always national contenders,” Ogren said.
Ogren and a number of Seattle’s other 2018 draftees flew to Arizona Friday to join the players who have been at extended spring training. It has been something of a whirlwind for the players who spent the weekend getting acquainted with the Mariners organization and philosophy before venturing north for Friday’s season-opener.
“It’s weird — that’s the simplest way to put it,” Ogren said. “Everyone is kind of getting to know each other and everyone is away from home. It happens so fast and everyone leaves their family so quick. It kind of stings a little bit, but you get to on this exciting new journey and all the managers and staff at the complex are so helpful and show you the ropes and show you what you need. Now it’s kind of up to us to go out there and win something.”