David Grewe was graduated from high school, immersed in the early days of summer club baseball and gearing up for his freshman season in the fall when he experienced a breakthrough.
It was late June, and the fresh Tri-Cities Prep graduate was throwing a bullpen session in an inter-squad scrimmage. His head club coach Jorge Reyes set a goal for Grewe’s fastball to hit 92 miles per hour by summer’s end, which would have been a personal best.
That day, with Reyes holding up his iPhone filming, Grewe hit 92 and 93 on consecutive pitches. Reyes sent the footage to Oregon State head baseball coach Mitch Canham, his close friend and former college teammate.
The next day, Grewe was on the phone with Beavers assistant coach Rich Dorman. A couple of days after that, he was down in Corvallis on a visit. Not long after, he verbally committed.
“I’m wrapping my head around it now,” said Grewe, who was previously committed to Division III Whitworth. “It just all happened so fast. And I didn’t have time to process it. I just said yes, and there it was.”
The turned tides in his college recruitment marked a payoff in his late development.
It’s a success story, too, given all he’s been through: two knee surgeries in the last year, and a pandemic that shut him out of ID camps and recruiting events during the lead-up to his senior season.
After leading the Jaguars to an undefeated spring season while posting, in the words of TCP coach Jason Jarrett, “computer game numbers” — 74 strikeouts, 0.075 opponent batting average and no earned runs in 15 games, as well as both a league and district title — he was excited to head to Whitworth to start his college career, even while baseball minds around him felt his skills could elevate him to a higher level.
Grewe’s commitment marks the second consecutive year Tri-Cities Prep has produced a Division I arm, following Logan Mercado, who is now at Oregon.
Reyes grew up in Warden, Wash., a city in Eastern Washington with a population of roughly 3,000 and pitched at small school Warden High, which is now also in the 2B Eastern Washington Athletic Conference with TCP.
He spring-boarded a dominant high school pitching career into a key role in Oregon State’s rotation as a freshman. The Beavers had just won the 2006 College World Series, and Reyes provided a spark in helping them repeat in 2007.
He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 College World Series — the fifth freshman ever to earn the honor — and a second team All-American.
Reyes, who founded Tri-Cities-based Reign Sports Performance around three years ago, advocates for all the players he trains and coaches. But when it comes to small school prospects, he knows what it’s like to earn his stripes from a tiny school.
“It’s 100 percent a chip-on-my-shoulder thing,” Reyes said.
He’s seen Grewe’s work ethic firsthand — from his preparation to his recovery. He also knows how tough it is to post the numbers Grewe put up during his senior season. Throwing a perfect game at any level is incredibly difficult.
“It just doesn’t happen,” Reyes said. “Not to toot my own horn, but in the league when I was playing, there was nobody I thought was even close to (me), but I still gave up a hit here and there, with a mistake, whether mental or physical. And to go through a season without many mental or physical mistakes, it’s a pretty impressive feat he had going.”
After the MLB Draft and postseason transfer portal moves, a spot opened up on Oregon State’s roster. It didn’t come with immediate scholarship money — he’s going to walk on as a freshman. But the staff made it clear to him he has the opportunity to earn that down the road.
Reyes knew the type of player Oregon State typically looks for. And when him and Canham would talk, he’d mention Grewe, even though Grewe hadn’t quite reached his potential.
“Basically David had everything it takes to be a Division I player except for the metrics,” Reyes said. “I thought he belonged there far before that, but unfortunately he had to deal with what he was dealing with. But the spot opened up because of the grades (he carries a 4.0 GPA), the type of person he is. Those things go a long way.”
After months sidelined from the sport, and surgeries on his meniscus — the first in late summer 2020 and the second in Feb. 2021 — Grewe is ready to dive head first into his next challenge: competing in the Pac-12.
“It’s super rewarding … just knowing it was going to be a really long road, it feels really good to finally be here,” Grewe said.
And the long hair that Grewe has not cut in more than four years? “I’m hoping [Oregon State] won’t make me do it when I go down there,” he said.