It happened early and all at once. Just six innings into his collegiate career, Davis Baillie felt pain in his arm.
“I was pitching in our first Pac-12 series at UCLA,” Baillie said of his 2016 season. “I went in to pitch and pitched a full inning. During the last batter it started to hurt out of nowhere. I tore my UCL. So I had to have Tommy John [surgery].”
The former Falcon turned WSU Cougar had a surgical graft procedure. The so-called Tommy John surgery meant surgeons replaced the ulnar collateral ligament in Baillie’s right elbow with a tendon from his wrist. Baillie was granted a medical redshirt, but recovery would not be complete until halfway into the following season.
This past spring, Baillie posted a 1-0 record with a 9.82 ERA for the Cougs. Since he only tallied 7 1/3 innings, his coaches wanted him to get more work this summer. So they assigned Baillie to play in a collegiate summer baseball league.
“I found out I was going to Longview to play for the Cowlitz Black Bears,” Baillie said. “I signed the contract. As soon as the [collegiate] season was over, I was on my way to Longview.”
The Black Bears are an amateur team playing in the West Coast League. The league comprises teams from British Columbia, Oregon and Washington.
“The transition hasn’t been too hard,” Baillie said. “Living with a host family is definitely different. But they are nice and they love baseball. They come to all the games and support us. That has been fun. And on the team we have all sorts of players playing together, and it has been great.”
In a recent game against Port Angeles, Baillie entered the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. But he got out of the jam unscathed to preserve the 5-4 win.
“My main goal coming into this summer was to gain arm strength and endurance,” Baillie said. “Which I have done so far. I have pitched about 25 innings. Getting in game experience has been the goal.”
When asked about his favorite moments so far, Baillie cited a couple.
“Playing up in Canada against the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria Harbourcats,” he said. “That was a lot of fun. Their fields were pretty cool and they actually had a lot of fans come to the game. Pretty cool atmosphere up there in Canada. And I got a chance to play my former [Woodinville] teammates, Liam Herlihy and Connor White. They’re on the Yakima Valley Pippins. I got a chance to see them and pitch against Connor. So that was cool.”