EVERETT — The paths Trent Tingelstad and Austin Shenton took to eventually become Everett AquaSox are so similar, it’s almost uncanny.
Both grew up in the Pacific Northwest — Tingelstad in nearby Marysville and Shenton just up the road in Bellingham. Both played junior-college baseball in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). Tingelstad played two seasons at Everett Community College, and Shenton played at Bellevue College. And both went on to play NCAA Division I Baseball in the Southeast — Tingelstad for one season at Louisiana-Monroe, and Shenton was a two-year starter at Florida International.
Now, they’re both Mariners draft picks and teammates with the AquaSox after Shenton was selected in the fifth round and Tingelstad in the 22nd in the 2019 MLB draft.
It’s an especially surreal feeling for Tingelstad. Having grown up just north of Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium, Tingelstad estimates he attended about four dozen AquaSox games growing up and even played games at Everett Memorial Stadium while at Marysville Pilchuck and with Everett CC. If any Northwest League outfielders need tips on playing the often odd caroms in the right-field corner, Tingelstad’s likely your guy.
“It’s still a crazy feeling,” Tingelstad said. “(I’m) finding my way back to Everett someway or another. These past couple of weeks have been crazy, just with getting drafted and coming back home makes it even better.”
How does a kid from Marysville end up in the Bayou, anyway? After graduating from Marysville Pilchuck with no Division-I offers, but the dream of playing major-college baseball still alive, Tingelstad boosted his collegiate prospects after hitting .321 with 15 doubles and seven homers for Everett CC in 2018. Tingelstad said a previous coaching staff at ULM was aggressive in scouting and recruiting junior-college kids, and noticed him at an NWAC showcase event.
“Wherever baseball takes me is where I’m going to go, that’s where I’ll go. But if it takes me home, that’s even better,” Tingelstad said.
Tingelstad estimates roughly 50 friends and family members will attend Everett’s home opener on June 21 against Salem-Keizer.
And perhaps the best part of all for Tingelstad and the AquaSox? No host family is necessary. Tingelstad is living at home again, just a year after leaving the Pacific Northwest.
Playing Division-I baseball was what eventually buttered his bread, but some of his mother’s home cooking sweetens the prospect of being back in Snohomish County.
“They keep me fed when I’m at home,” he said. “A lot of steak and potatoes.”
Shenton is also eager to be back in the Pacific Northwest, after playing two seasons at Florida International, where he posted a line of .330/.425/.513 with 47 RBI and seven homers for the Panthers this season.
“It’s kind of surreal and honestly kind of ironic to fly out all the way across the country two years ago and then all the sudden two years later I’m playing with my hometown team I grew up rooting for,” Shenton said. “I love the Pacific Northwest. The summers here are unbeatable. It’s awesome to play the game I love so close to my family. I love being around here.”
Being away from home for Shenton was especially tough, as his mother, Andrea, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer before he transferred to FIU.
After the majority of two years being away from her while she underwent chemotherapy and treatment, Shenton is just about an hour drive away — barring traffic, of course — from visiting.
Both Tingelstad and Shenton vacated the area due to baseball. In a serendipitous way, it brought both home.