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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region baseball: Max Fraser, Camas

Senior pitched 43 innings, striking out 73 batters for a 1.62 ERA

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: June 15, 2023, 9:01pm
2 Photos
Camas senior Max Fraser poses for a portrait Thursday, June 8, 2023, at Camas High School. Fraser is The Columbian's All-Region baseball player of the year.
Camas senior Max Fraser poses for a portrait Thursday, June 8, 2023, at Camas High School. Fraser is The Columbian's All-Region baseball player of the year. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Some people carry their emotions on their sleeves.

This spring, Max Fraser and some of his teammates on the Camas baseball team showed it on their heads.

“We all bleached our hair for playoffs,” Fraser said. “It was partly a team thing, and then also some of us just wanted to do it. So it worked out well. I’m in the process of dying it back to brown right now. I need to get more of the professional look now that college stuff is starting.”

After a season in which he posted a 1.62 earned-run average, struck out 73 batters in 43 innings, leading Camas to another league title and state appearance, Fraser was selected as The Columbian’s All-Region baseball player of the year.

But even before he graduated from Camas High last weekend, he started playing for the Portland Pickles in preparation for playing at Washington State next season.

“It’s fun being out there with the older guys,” Fraser said of his Pickles teammates. “Here I am 17 and I’m playing with guys who are 21, 22. Being around those older guys, learning stuff from them, getting a feel of what college baseball is like is definitely good for me. And it’s fun to be around them too.”

It will be hard to remake the fun he had playing with his Camas teammates, which oddly provided him with an experience he wasn’t able have before high school.

“There were nine seniors on the team this year and most of us have played football or basketball with each other for years, and that was before playing baseball. Through middle school we were playing together on Camas select basketball teams or CCYF or Pop Warner in football. But this was the first time all of us were able to play together on the baseball team because of all the different clubs that we played on for baseball.

“Growing up with all of them was really cool, and then we got to cap it off playing baseball.”

Fraser said the bond he had with his Camas teammates was closer than any other baseball team he had played on.

“That made it really fun to come to practice every day, playing games,” he said. “And then off the field, the memories were just as good as on the field, if not even better.”

A couple of memories that came to mind were spring break trips to California, particularly his junior year when the team’s flight got cancelled at the last moment and the team had to scramble to drive to Southern California.

“Being in the car for 10-plus hours is nobody’s favorite,” Fraser said. “But it was definitely way more memorable than going on a plane. The road trip, and kind of having to scramble, almost made it more fun. I don’t know if I’d say I would want to do that again.”

Those bonds helped the team rebound from a tough 4-3 loss to Sumner in the 4A bi-district tournament opener. But the Papermakers rallied with back-to-back consolation wins to clinch a state berth.

“That (loss to Sumner) was a tough one, but it wasn’t super discouraging,” Fraser said. “We knew we still had a couple of chances to make to state. And after that loss, we just got back to it. Our next couple of games, we kind of had some easier wins. The bats got hot, everyone was making their plays in the field. Pitching was good. So while that first game wasn’t great, I think it helped to bring us together.”

Fraser’s high school career got off to a rough start, when the pandemic wiped out his freshman season.

But the work he put in during the pandemic helped get him noticed after his sophomore season, which led to him committing to Washington State before his junior year.

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Then he capped off his high school career by helping Camas win back-to-back 4A Greater St. Helens League titles. And he finally got to do it with his friends.

“I didn’t have a freshman year here, but my junior and senior years, we were able to win league titles and be the top team in the area,” Fraser said. “It just shows the tight group of guys we had playing together.”

Rest of the All-Region team

Chanz Flores, Hudson’s Bay: Junior was the 2A GSHL MVP after going 5-1 with a 1.39 ERA on the mound and batted .541 with 16 RBI.

Stephen Hammergren, Mark Morris: Senior was team leader on mound and at plate as Monarchs reached state for first time since 2011.

Easton Marshall, Kelso: Junior was the offensive player of the year in the 3A GSHL, helping the Hilanders advance to the 3A state tournament.

Ryan McClaskey, Camas: Senior posted a 0.24 ERA with eight saves as Camas’ closer, earning the 4A GSHL pitcher of the year honor.

Evan McGuire, Union: Senior and Clark College commit was the 4A GSHL offensive player of the year after batting .403 with four doubles.

Dylan Osborne, Union: Senior and University of Washington signee posted a 1.31 ERA and had a .519 on-base percentage with 22 runs scored.

Chris Parkin, Columbia River: Junior shortstop led the Rapids’ attack batting .465 with seven doubles, five triples, 22 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Smith Stimmel, La Center: Junior was the Trico League player of the year after batting .415 and posting 0.89 ERA for the 1A district champions.

Brady Trombello, Prairie: Senior and Texas Tech signee was the 3A GSHL pitcher of the year, helping the Falcons to the league championship.

Holt Williams, Camas: Senior catcher led the Papermakers in hitting (.333), had a .427 OBP with six doubles and a team-high 20 RBI.

Zach Ziebell, Columbia River: Junior was the 2A GSHL pitcher of the year, going 7-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 47 innings for the league champions.