Lane’s next stop: Area Code Games

<p>Pendleton's Tommy Lane swings on the ball and connects for a single in the Bucks' 8-2 win against Liberty on Wednesday in Pendleton.</p>

PENDLETON — Tommy Lane has already compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as a Pendleton baseball player, but he’s got dreams that stretch far beyond local celebrity in a small rural city.

To that end, the power-hitting first baseman has been hard at work this summer getting his name and face out there in the baseball community while playing for the Spokane Dodgers 18 and under select team where he hit six home runs and led the team with 142 at-bats.

“During July I?was only home like four or five days,”?he said Friday from the backseat of a vehicle headed for Long Beach, Calif.

Lane, 17, was back on the road because his baseball-related travels have at least one more very big stop — the Area Code Baseball Games which begin Sunday.

Presented by New Balance, the Area Code Games feature eight teams comprised of some of the top players from the high school graduating classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Players are selected from tryouts — Lane’s was held at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, Wash. — and they must be invited to those tryouts by a Major League scout.

“When I?got the invite to come try out I?was excited,”?he said. “When I?got there I?just kept my head down and tried to do the best I?could.”

Thanks to his summer season in Spokane, Lane was able to catch the eye of Kansas City Royals scout Scott Ramsay, but said having Notre Dame freshman shortstop Lane Richards on his Pendleton team also helped.

Richards is a player that was in Lane’s shoes this time last year, possessing the talent to play with the best but feeling like he was one of the few people that knew it.

“Going there and playing well proved I could play with anyone in the country,” Richards told ESPN for an April story published in ESPNHS Oregon. “I was always looking for an opportunity like that.”

Richards parlayed an impressive performance at the 2011 Area Code Games into his baseball scholarship and Lane is hoping he can do the same.

“I’m trying to perform,”?he said. “Everybody down there is the best from around the country so I’m just going to not put too much pressure on myself and perform my best.”

He said Richards had some simple but wise advice for him.

“He said always be doing your best because there’s always eyes on you,” Lane said.

The left-swinging, right-throwing slugger will be exposed to scrutiny by scouts from every major NCAA Division I school and scouts from every Major League Baseball team — all hoping to find the next Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia or Bryce Harper.

Those are just a few of the more than 500 MLB?players the five-game round robin tournament has produced.

Lane is likely to be playing with at least a few future big leaguers on the Royals team, which will be coached by Ramsay and features 27 players from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Lane is one of five from Oregon and one of two first basemen on the roster. All but three of the team’s players are incoming high school seniors and the others are juniors.

Two of his teammates are ranked inside the ESPN?60 best prep recruits in the nation.

Catcher Reese McGuire of Covington, Wash., is No. 19 and third baseman Joey Martarano of Fruitland, Idaho, is No. 26 but has already committed to Boise State for football.

Local fans of Lane’s can follow some of the action at the Area Code Games online at ESPN3 or www.WatchESPN.com.

The online streaming networks will air Tuesday’s games starting at 8:30 a.m. Lane’s Royals won’t take the field until 5:30 p.m. against the Brewers.

The Brewers boast ESPN’s No. 1 prep recruit, catcher Jeremy Martinez, and the No. 5 recruit, southpaw pitcher Stephen Gonsalves.

Games will run through Aug. 10. The Royals went 5-0 at the tournament last year.

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Contact Matt Entrup at mentrup@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0838.

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