White River center fielder Cawley-Lamb decides to play baseball with Gonzaga

Payden Cawley-Lamb, who was the starting center fielder for a successful 2010 White River High baseball team, has committed to play for Gonzaga University.

For Cawley-Lamb, timing and good fortune has been key recently. He performed at the All-State Baseball Series in Yakima in early June, where one of the speakers at the banquet was Gonzaga baseball coach Mark Machtolf.

“Due to the potential for possible recruiting violations, all I could really do was hand Coach Machtolf my player resume, which included my batting average, defensive stats, grade-point average, and any accolades I’d received among other information,” Cawley-Lamb said.

“Coach Machtolf shook my hand, thanked me and I didn’t hear from him for a while after that.”

Then, all-South Puget Sound League 3A first team selection was playing a game for the Puget Sound Roxx on Washington State University’s campus June 17.

Against the Tigers, Cawley-Lamb threw two Eastlake players out at home and went 4-for-4 from the plate. Who should just happen to have been looking on from the stands? None other than Machtolf,

“He approached me after the game,” said Cawley-Lamb, “and wondered if I might be interested in earning one of the 2.7 scholarships that they have available for the baseball team at GU.”

Cawley-Lamb discovered one of the GU scholarships had been freed up, when a future Zag decided to sign a professional contract instead.

“I thought about it during the weekend and decided it was the best possible fit for me,” explained Cawley-Lamb.

Machtolf legally could not openly discuss GU’s newest acquisition until he had the outfielder’s signed letter of intent in his hands, but Cawley-Lamb’s high school coach Mike Williams furnished a glowing report.

“Payden was probably one of the best overall outfielders I ever coached,” Williams said. “In the three years he was our starting center fielder he only made three errors. He covered a lot of ground very quickly out there and he wasn’t afraid to dive for the fly balls, either.

“Additionally, he was unique, in that he batted left and threw right. He had a great arm and could hit for power as well as average. On top of that, he could steal bases once he got on board.”

Cawley-Lamb said he will be putting in a lot of hard work in the gym between now and August.

“It will be worth it though, especially if I can earn that starting center field spot in my freshman season,” he said.