One ending actually marked a beginning for Evan Siegel.
Siegel, a Clark College pitcher and former Fort Vancouver High baseball standout, is a believer everything happens for a reason.
So when he was cut twice from high school baseball, he didn’t keep the door closed. He chose to open another, and that, in part, is how he got to where he is: pitching in college after an all-league high school career, and is hopeful for more baseball opportunities as more doors continue to open.
“I think it shifts everything you do,” Siegel said, “that will lead you to the next thing in life.”
Opening doors is something Siegel is good at. How Siegel tells it, he’s always been the underdog dating back to often sitting on the bench in Little League.
That didn’t change once he reached high school.
Siegel graduated from Vancouver School of the Arts and Academics in 2018. The school doesn’t offer sports, so if a student wants to participate in athletics, they can through their home-boundary high school, said Dave Bennett, athletic director for Vancouver Public Schools.
For Siegel, that’s Skyview. However, he was cut from baseball tryouts as a freshman and sophomore. Disappointed, yes, but Siegel wasn’t deterred. He just needed a chance to show what he can do.
“The biggest thing is that it’s upsetting because you see all the work you put in, and it’s overlooked,” Siegel said. “Nobody knows what goes on behind the scenes except for you.”
At Fort Vancouver, he found a home. He was coach Owen Frasier’s top hurler in 2017 and 2018, leading the Trappers in wins and ERA, and earned second-team all-3A Greater St. Helens League honors as a senior.
Siegel wasn’t recruited by colleges to play baseball beyond high school. He enrolled at Washington State in Pullman figuring his baseball career was in the rearview mirror.
In fact, it was far from it.
Siegel had baseball withdrawals, and returned to Vancouver after one academic year in Pullman. Once home, he chose to open another door by reaching out to Clark baseball coach Mark Magdaleno seeking an opportunity to prove his worth yet again.
Siegel earned a walk-on roster spot after a fall throwing session, and was reunited with former Fort teammates Ezekiel Block and Nick Laurenza.
Siegel hadn’t pitched in more than a year before joining the Penguins.
“I think I might’ve thrown with my dad once,” he said.
Clark started 7-0 before its season prematurely ended in March because of COVID-19 precautions. Siegel plans to return in 2021 after he redshirted this spring.
In the meantime, Siegel is holding out hope to get work on the mound soon. He signed with the Cascade Collegiate League, a six-team summer wood-bat league for college players that’s tentatively scheduled to begin games June 5.
Siegel has kept busy with daily workouts, including playing long-toss and pitching to his younger brother, 12-year-old Kigh. The quarantine has brought the brothers closer, Siegel said.
“He gets work in,” he said, “and I get work in, too. … It’s fun watching him and I grow together.”
For Siegel, it’s growth in more ways than one as a baseball player. Because every time one door closes, Siegel doesn’t keep it closed.
He chooses to open another.
“When you get that one opportunity, you have to show you deserve to be there and show them what you’re all about,” Siegel said. “Being the underdog gives you the edge. Being underrated and people underestimating what you can do makes it so much more rewarding when you do well.”