On June 15, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., he had just two innings to impress the scouts who would make the final selection for next month’s Perfect Game All American Classic in San Diego.
“I got up there, and it was probably the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever had,” the 17-year-old Wesely said. “You’re facing the best guys in the country.”
First, he had to relax.
Wesely, pitching for the Maroon team against the Gold team on the second day of the Perfect Game National Showcase, walked the first batter he faced. The second batter drilled the ball between third base and shortstop for a hit.
All of Wesely’s thoughts about whether or not he would make the All American team had to be pushed aside — he could only focus on his next pitch.
“I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got two guys on and no outs,’” Wesely said. “I got a little nervous there for a second, thinking, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to put a stop to this bleeding. I’ve got to go out and throw strikes and pound the zone.’ I stuck to my game, and it worked.”
He struck out three batters in a row to end the inning. He struck out two more in the next inning, and another was out on a pop fly for a 1-2-3 frame.
The 6-2, 210-pound left-handed pitcher did it with a fastball that reached 92 mph and was consistently between 89 and 91 mph, and a slider delivered at 78 mph. Wesely said his changeup also hit its target.
The scouts were impressed. CBS Sports called him into the Minnesota Twins’ former clubhouse in the depths of the Metrodome the next day for an on-camera interview.
Wesely knew the interview was a good indication that from 300 players at the showcase, he would be among the 38 players headed to the Perfect Game All American Classic at PETCO Stadium in San Diego on Aug. 12.
Last week, he got official word he made the team representing the Western U.S. against the East.
His interview will be part of a CBS Sports special July 12 that will preview the All American Classic. The show, with air time to be announced, will include excerpts from the interview, highlights from Wesely’s performance on the mound and Perfect Game’s scouting report.
All 38 players will be profiled.
Rated among top players
Perfect Game is a scouting organization that hosts showcase tournaments around the U.S.
Over the past 10 years, Perfect Game’s rankings have served as a preview of which high school stars will rate high when the Major League Baseball draft comes around.
Perfect Game rates Wesely 29th overall in the U.S. — third among left-handed pitchers — on its list of the top 500 prospects. He’s also ranked sixth overall in California.
The 2012 season at Tracy High showed that Wesely can build on his success.
Wesely had already committed to UCLA before the start of the season and went on to toss three no-hitters, including one each against league rivals Lincoln and Chavez in the regular season and another against Tokay in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
He now has 15 career wins, a school record, before he even starts his senior year.
This week, he adds the 2012 Cal-Hi Sports All-State Baseball First Team to his list of accolades. Cal-Hi Sports, part of ESPN Rise, selected 30 players for the first team, including nine pitchers.
It all gives him confidence that he will put up more winning performances when he takes the mound in 2013.
“It’s fun to look at that and compare yourself to the past greats in Tracy High baseball,” he said. “All I can ask is to perform to my greatest potential and fullest ability. With that said, we’re trying to win a section championship for Tracy High School, and that’s my biggest goal of the senior season.”
Moments to remember
Until then, Wesely can count those moments at the Metrodome among the top highlights his devotion to baseball has brought him. But just as important to him are the good times closer to home.
When asked about his most memorable baseball moments, Wesley first thought of this past weekend, when he watched his brother Joel — one of three younger brothers and sister — pitch his first all-star game for the Tracy Little League Minor American team in the District 67 tournament in Mountain House.
“I realize how important that was to me, and how precious these moments are. I’m watching this 9-year-old all-star gam,e and they’re so excited to be out there, loving the game so much,” Wesely said. “I feel like I’m still the type of player they are. I play the game because I love it.”
Then there was the last home game of the season for the 2011 Bulldogs, when Wesely was a sophomore on his way to the first of two San Joaquin Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year awards.
He and his older brother, Josh, now a sophomore at University of California, Davis, shared pitching duties.
Jonah pitched for the first five innings and struck out his 105th batter of the season, setting a new single-season record for Tracy High. His 10-1 win-loss record for the 2011 season is another school single-season record.
Josh finished the game his brother started.
“That was a fun deal for me,” Jonah Wesely said. “I’m playing alongside my brother. He’s a good motivator and a good competitor to help me reach my fullest potential, and he’s been doing that since I was 4 or 5 years old.”
He also counts his grandfather, Emmett Lee, as a big motivator.
“He taught me how to pitch. He’s been my pitching coach since I was 5 or 6 years old when I started pitching.”