Townsend drafted by Toronto, now pitching professionally

The former Bonney Lake Panther was drafted after one season at Oral Roberts University, where he managed an impressive average of 11.64 strikeouts per nine innings.

Bonney Lake’s Grant Townsend has climbed the ranks and wound up drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Here, he pitches for Oral Roberts University. PHOTO COURTESY ORAL ROBERTS ATHLETICS

Bonney Lake’s Grant Townsend has climbed the ranks and wound up drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Here, he pitches for Oral Roberts University. PHOTO COURTESY ORAL ROBERTS ATHLETICS

Grant Townsend’s mighty right arm has taken him from the Bonney Lake High School diamond to the ranks of professional ballplayers – with a couple of collegiate stops along the way.

The former Panther – he graduated in 2015 – was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in this year’s Major League Baseball draft. He went in the 34th round, the 1,016th player taken overall. And, with that, the 6-foot, 190-pounder was immediately added to the roster of the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Rookie Appalachian League.

The minor league squad represents the twin cities of Bluefield, West Virginia, and Bluefield, Virginia. The Toronto affiliate plays its home games at historic Bowen Field at Peters Park, which opened in 1939. The park straddles the West Virginia–Virginia state line and is operated by the West Virginia city; however, Bowen Field lies entirely within Virginia.

Townsend boasts a three-pitch mix of a fastball, slider and changeup in his repertoire. The fastball hits between 90 and 94 miles per hour, with the slider and changeup in the 80s.

After inking a pro contract, he was quoted on the jaysprospects.com website: “I work primarily off my fastball,” he said. “Up to this point it’s been the pitch I throw the most. I can use it to put hitters away late in a count, but typically I use it early and use my off-speed to put hitters away. My movement helps me to get a lot of bad contact on my fastball.”

Townsend, who will turn 21 in August, was put to work immediately after arriving at his Rookie League destination. A relief pitcher, he appeared in six contests between June 20 and July 9, tossing a combined 8.2 innings. His stat line showed 11 strikeouts, six walks, six hits and five earned runs, resulting in a 5.19 ERA.

Bluefield competes in the Appalachian League East along with the Princeton Rays, Danville Braves, Pulaski Yankees and Burlington Royals. As of July 10, Bluefield led the division with a record of 16-4.

COLLEGE SUCCESS PAYS OFF

Townsend was drafted after one season at Oral Roberts University, where he excelled in the bullpen. During 23 mound appearances and 38.2 innings of work, the right-hander fanned 50 batters, good for an impressive average of 11.64 strikeouts per nine innings.

He started his Golden Eagles career in impressive fashion, throwing 14 innings before allowing an earned run. The season culminated with a 5-0 record.

Prior to landing at Oral Roberts, Townsend spend two seasons with the Central Arizona College. During season No. 2, he helped the Vaqueros to an ACCAC tournament championship on his way to NJCAA first-team All-America honors, as voted by the National Junior College Athletic Association. He finished the 2017 season with a 1.79 earned-run average and 119 strikeouts in 100.2 innings of work with only 24 walks.

Townsend had earned a college roster spot after setting a Bonney Lake High School record with a 0.77 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 54 innings as a senior. He was honored as a first-team all-state pitcher and also a first-team all-state designated hitter for the Panthers in 2015, hitting .337 with 10 extra-base hits and 31 RBI.

More in Sports

White River creates Hall of Fame

Inductees for an inaugural class are being sought now.

White River wrestlers help state team earn national title

The team broke California’s nine-year winning streak.

Enumclaw resident Melanie Christianson was an avid horse racer until an accident in 2010 left her paralyzed. Courtesy photo
Melanie Christianson Memorial Race next weekend

Christianson was an Enumclaw resident who was injured in a horse race and became quadriplegic.

State football championships no longer at Tacoma Dome

Like every high school football player in the state of Washington, Hornets… Continue reading

Local riders take honors in state equestrian meet

Enumclaw took third amongst all the other large programs.

White River unified soccer takes fifth in state tourney

The Hornets beat out Tahoma 6-5 to take first in district play, but fared less well in the state games.

WR’s Zaugg takes seventh at state tennis tournament

The Enumclaw doubles team fared less well.

Registration open for annual 3-on-3 hoop tournament

The event is Saturday, July 27, during the annual Street Fair.

Enumclaw, WR athletes shine at state track meet

The EHS boys placed ninth overall in the 4A competition.

White River girls bounced from 2A softball tourney

The Hornets lost against Ephrita and Lakewood, ousting them from the state competition.

White River girls third, EHS boys No. 8 at state golf

WRHS’ Brooke Gelinas took fourth overall, finishing at 154.

Enumclaw duo qualify for state 4A tennis tournament

Emily Miller and Emma McKeighen placed fifth in the district tourney.