MYERS, Fla. – Baseball provides players special opportunities and
memories that shape their perspective and define their careers.
Whether their careers go into the Majors or end before, some players
are fortunate enough to be given such great opportunities.
DeMers entered the 2014 PG National Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla. with
an already impressive and lengthy baseball resume. While he had
competed in four PG-based tournament events, the National marked the
first time DeMers had attended a Perfect Game showcase.
outing late on Satrday was one of the more highly anticipated heading
into the National, as he has been one of the highest ranked players
in the 2015 class since the first time said rankings were released.
DeMers made a strong impression the first time PG scouts got to see
him in person by throwing an 89 mph fastball in 2011 as a 14-year-old
at the 15u WWBA National Championship, and he continues to make the
most of his opportunities on the big stage.
has already had the opportunity to travel to countries such as
Taiwan, Mexico and Nicaragua as a member of the 14u, 16u and 18u USA
National Teams. As a member of the 16u National Team, DeMers played
as a 14-year-old, and was 16 when he played on the 18u squad, making
him the youngest player on both teams.
18u team had the opportunity to play in Taiwan where they earned the
win in a semifinal game against Chinese Taipei and came back with his
teammates as gold medalists. Taiwan was also DeMers’ favorite
country from his baseball travels.
would say Taiwan last year was a great experience and coming home
with the gold was even better,” DeMers said. “[I liked] just how
different it was, I’ve never been to a country like that. It was
16u USA National Team played in the Pan Am ‘A’ Championships in
Managua, Nicaragua. In the bronze medal game against Brazil, Joe
threw a complete game and recorded 10 strikeouts, which tied a USA
baseball record for most in a game. But the experience of playing in
Nicaragua was much bigger than a bronze medal.
Nicaragua was quite an experience because I don’t think the boys
were quite prepared for the level of poverty in that country,” said
Tom DeMers, Joe's father. “And so I think they came home with a
greater appreciation of what they have here in the USA. So that was
an interesting experience.”
better appreciation for the life he has isn’t the only thing that
Nicaragua gave to Joe DeMers; he also met his best friend and recent
Houston Astros draftee Brady Aiken.
past Father’s Day, Aiken sent out a tweet wishing his father, Jim
Aiken, a happy Father’s Day and thanking him for always being
there. DeMers responded to Aiken’s tweet saying, “Tell Uncle Jim
Happy Father’s Day!”
and Brady have been close,” Joe DeMers said of their friendship.
“We were on the 14u USA National Team together and me and my
brother call his dad Uncle Jim, just because he’s a boy.”
year, Aiken found himself in the same spot as DeMers, pitching at the
Perfect Game National Showcase, another special opportunity for any
young ballplayer looking to further their career. As far as preparing
for the National Showcase, Aiken kept the advice short and simple for
just said to enjoy it and it’s a great experience,” DeMers said.
the friendship between Aiken and DeMers started with the two pitching
against one another in a championship game of a tournament in Las
Vegas. The two became teammates on the 14u and 18u National Team and
have continued to pitch against each other with their friendship off
the field growing as well.
become friends with the family because we travel with his parents to
these tournaments,” said Joe's mother, Lisa DeMers. “They’re a
great family, [Brady Aiken] is a great young man, so it’s been
journey has taken him to places both nationally and internationally
that most people don’t get to visit in their lifetime. But playing
against teams outside of California has shown that DeMers can compete
with anyone from anywhere.
think [he] was 11 when we were in Florida at the USSSA World
Championship Games. At age 11, his club team won the entire
tournament,” Tom DeMers said. “Until then, we were a strong
California team and Joe was always a strong pitcher. But until we
stacked up against the Georgia teams, the Florida teams and the Texas
teams, we walked away from that tournament after we won it saying,
‘you know what, he’s not bad.’”
can hang with the best of them and it was probably around that age
that I think he started to think ‘wow, first I can play in high
school and then I can play in college,’” Lisa DeMers added. “But
now I think it’s starting to hit that perhaps he can have a career
in baseball at some level anyway for some amount of time. That’s
been his goal certainly the past few years.”
Joe’s big dreams may have been signaled after what he did as a
pitcher in his first season of little league.
first year of kid pitch when he was eight – the first year they
were allowed to pitch – he pitched a perfect season,” Lisa DeMers
continued. “At the time his coach had to fill me in as to what that
meant in terms of no one ever reaching base and that was over the
season for his College Park High School baseball team, Joe enjoyed a
12-2 record with eight complete games, two shutouts, 86 innings
pitched and 94 strikeouts. His team was the North Coast Section
Champion and champions of the Diablo Valley Athletic League. He also
had a productive season at the plate hitting .371 with three home
runs, one triple, seven doubles, 32 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
stellar high school season led to him receiving accolades such as
being named league MVP, NorCal Preps Player of the Year, and
CalHi-Sports Finalist for Player of the Year.
has verbally committed to the University of Washington, a decision he
and his parents are excited about after the recruiting process had
him visit 10 different schools.
everything clicked for him there [at Washington], he just loved
everything about it; the coaching, the coaches, their philosophy, the
brand new facility, it’s just beautiful, the school itself,”
Joe’s mother said.
coaching staff is great, I know a lot of players going there and
their facilities are unbelievable,” Joe added.
University of Washington recently unveiled a new 2,400 seat stadium
overlooking Lake Washington. The stadium cost $19 million and also
includes a new team performance center, field turf, a new enhanced
scoreboard among other things.
right now, Joe DeMers will focus on one thing at a time. He just
wrapped up a solid performance at the 2014 Perfect Game National
Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla. and impressed PG scouts. One PG scout
righthander with a more mature and strong 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame.
DeMers came out firing, delivering several 94 mph fastballs and a
handful of 93’s in his second inning of work. Both his 81-82
mph slider and 82-83 mph changeup also show promise, and he did a
nice job of working between these three pitches.
someone who has always played with kids older than him, with his
stuff a shot in the big leagues may be a dream Joe DeMers will see
would love to be able to play Major League Baseball,” Tom DeMers
his first choice? His hometown team, the San Francisco Giants.
Giants,” Joe’s parent simultaneously said with joy. “[But] we’d
be fans of any team that wanted our boy to play for them, as would
he,” Lisa said.
DeMers baseball career is young, but he’s already had plenty of
success thus far. For a young man who’s been a part of the USA
National Team, brought home two gold medals, one bronze medal, has
committed to a rising D-I university and is coming off of a
successful showing at the 2014 PG National Showcase, the sky appears
to be the limit.