Turks Add Oregon State’s Cary To Bolster Outfield Depth

Written By Greg Madia
Daily News Record

Harrisonburg – Three weeks ago, Elliott Cary was in Omaha, Neb., prepping to play in the College World Series.

Nine days ago he played in his first game with the Harrisonburg Turks.

“I had about four days off,” the Oregon State rising junior outfielder said Tuesday before the Turks fell to New Market 7-5 at Veterans Memorial Park.

“I got to hang out with the family in Portland,” Cary said. “But then Bob (Wease) asked how fast could I get out there, and I said as about as fast a plane could take me there, so the next day I was on a plane and in Virginia.”

Wease said since the start of the season he’s searched to add an outfielder to his roster, and he thinks the acquisition of Cary could help the Turks get back into contention.

The Turks are now 13-16 and 8.5 games behind Valley Baseball League South division-leading Charlottesville.

“He started in the World Series for Oregon State,” said Wease, the Turks’ manager. “And if you start in the World Series for Oregon State, you can certainly play here in the Valley League.

“I think he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a good center fielder and he’s got a good bat, so I’m really glad we picked him up.”

Oregon State had a historic season, despite falling in the College World Series to LSU. Oregon State went 56-6 overall, the best mark in its program history. It’s winning percentage of .903 was the NCAA’s best since Texas’ .908 winning percentage in 1982.

Cary, who was selected in the 32nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals, hit .233 over 90 at-bats in a platoon role for the Beavers this spring.

He had his options of college summer teams to play for, but said he decided to make the cross-country trek to join the Turks because of his southern roots – Cary is originally from Niceville, Fla. – and an opportunity to play every day.

Wease said Cary’s father, Chuck Cary, who played eight seasons in the big leagues for the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, helped start the initial conversation between the two sides.

“It’s good to be around guys from the south again, especially those guys from Florida where I’m from, again,” Cary said. “And it’s a different style of baseball with a little less bunting and a little less small ball, so that’s the move I made.

“But here I just want to fine-tune my approach because it’s never perfect, even when you’re on a team that’s good and you’re playing that well.”

At Oregon State, Cary said he was able to spend time with Beaver baseball alumns like New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto and Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Conforto was the 10th overall pick in 2014 and was the Mets’ representative at Tuesday’s MLB All Star Game in Miami.

Cary said his goal for the summer is to get enough at-bats in order to pick up momentum to take into the fall, so he can win the starting center field job at Oregon State next spring, and get drafted like the standouts at the school before him.

“It’s exciting for the whole program to see Conforto,” Cary said. “Last year at the team’s diamond dinner, he came back and told us stories.

“We were all thinking of Bartolo Colon as an artifact in baseball, but for Conforto, Bartolo was his teammate, so we got to hear some great stories about Bartolo and his perspective of those guys that have been in the big leagues for a long time.”

As for getting over the losses to LSU in the College World Series, Cary said he’s already eyeing next season.

On top of reaching the big leagues, he said another goal is to help Oregon State get back to the College World Series, and win it this time around.

All of the lofty goals, though, begin in the Valley Baseball League, he said.

“I’m excited to work against great pitchers from the ACC and some of the other small colleges around here this summer,” Cary said. “I’ll really be working on what I want to hit and where I want to hit, but so far Harrisonburg has provided a great opportunity for me.”