COURTESY: Washburn Sports Information
PEORIA, Ariz. — Washburn pitcher Brett Ash‘s recent roller coaster ride of emotions hit a high point as he learned last month that the Seattle Mariners would offer him a chance to play professionally. He made it official this week with a signed contract Monday and an appearance in a game Tuesday night.
The right-handed four-year starter was assigned to the Mariners’ Arizona League rookie team and he pitched Tuesday against the Angels and earned a win in two innings of relief. He struck out three and allowed a hit and a walk. Ash entered the game with the scored tied 3-3 and his offense scored in the top of the ninth to secure the win.
Ash is beginning his Minor League career looking to become the sixth Ichabod to make it to the Majors. He would be the first since Jerad Head, who played for Cleveland in 2011 and was recently hired as a hitting coach for the Washington organization.
Ash was playing collegiate summer baseball for the St. Joseph Mustangs of the M.I.N.K. League before learning of his advancement. He had 10 saves and a 0.00 ERA through 12 appearances as the closer. He allowed just three hits through 11 1/3 innings with 19 strikeouts and five walks.
His final appearance with the Mustangs came on June 22 just hours after learning of the sudden death of Washburn coach Steve Anson. Ash threw an inning of scoreless relief that game to get a save and dedicated the performance to Anson.
He finished his Washburn career this spring at or near the top in many pitching categories. He finished his career first in Washburn history with 25 complete games, second with 199 strikeouts and third with 22 wins. He is first at Washburn in games started and innings pitched while pitching from 2010-14 with a year off in 2013 from injury.
He had a 1.66 ERA and .168 opponent batting average in eight starts in MIAA contests this year. He finished fifth in the league overall with a 3.05 ERA and first with a .200 opponent batting average. He went 5-3 overall and had 51 strikeouts in nine starts.
“For him to come back and throw like he did for us this year, it’s a credit to him and tribute to how hard he’s worked,” Anson said in May shortly after Ash’s college career ended.
“The thing that set him apart from so many others, I think, was his work ethic. He just worked tremendously hard,” Anson said. “He showed people how to go out and work. How to go out and battle.”