Vincent, Jamison suit up at Petco Park
The annual doubleheader at Petco Park in which the San Diego Padres play one game and the Lake Elsinore Storm face a minor league opponent took place June 2, and two former Ramona High School players returned to San Diego County as members of the Storm.
Nick Vincent and Neil Jamison now pitch for Lake Elsinore, although both threw in relief the night before in Lake Elsinore and neither appeared in the Petco Park game between the Storm and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
“It was a great experience,” Vincent said of the game in San Diego.
Vincent watched Padres games as a fan before being drafted by the team.
“Just wondered how it would be to be in the bullpen,” he said.
Vincent was able to have that experience during the Storm-Quakes game.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I could imagine pitching in front of 40,000 fans.”
Vincent and Jamison learned at different times that they would not be pitching at Petco Park.
“I pretty much knew I wasn’t, because I threw the night before,” Jamison said.
Jamison and Vincent have different relief roles on the Storm. Had the game been closer in the later innings, Vincent likely would have pitched at Petco Park. The Storm’s 6-2 victory over the Quakes saw Lake Elsinore score the game’s first two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and score four runs in the sixth frame for a 6-1 lead.
Vincent didn’t mind having the more comfortable lead rather than throwing in San Diego.
“I’d rather be down there for a whole season than just for one game,” he said. “It would have been nice, but just being there was good enough, I think.”
Jamison had previous outings in Petco Park.
“I had the opportunity to throw there back in ‘06,” said Jamison, who spent 2006 with the Storm and also pitched at the Padres’ ballpark for Cal State Long Beach during a 2005 collegiate tournament.
“It’s always nice to get the opportunity, but I’m sure it’s good for the other guys to get out there,” he said.
Vincent noted the benefits of other young prospects having the opportunity to play at a major league ballpark.
“I’m glad the Storm can do that,” he said.
Jamison was selected in the sixth round of the 2005 draft and split the 2005 season between Eugene and Fort Wayne. After four appearances at Fort Wayne to start the 2006 season, Jamison was promoted to Lake Elsinore.
He was in 61 games for the 2006 Storm and had 31 saves, striking out 62 batters in 65-1/3 innings. He also appeared in the 2006 Class A All-Star game.
Jamison was promoted to San Antonio for the 2007 season, in which he was switched from the closer position to a middle relief role.
He returned to San Antonio for 2008 and had a 2.55 earned run average in 29 appearances before missing the second half of the season with elbow problems.
Jamison began the 2009 season with seven appearances for San Antonio before being transferred to the Storm, where in his first 11 appearances he compiled a 4.41 earned run average.
In Jamison’s case, the move from Class AA San Antonio to Class A Lake Elsinore is more of a rehabilitation tenure than a demotion.
Jamison is being converted to a sidearm delivery pitcher to reduce stress on his elbow.
“Pretty much starting over as far as learning something new,” he said. “Just trying to make the best of the opportunity.”
Lake Elsinore is just over an hour’s drive from Ramona, although Jamison considers that to be the consolation prize for pitching at the lower level.
“I’d much rather be in AA,” he said.
Jamison’s return to Lake Elsinore puts him and Vincent on the same team for the first time. Both played at Ramona High School and Cal State Long Beach before being drafted by the Padres, but they had never previously played together.
“It was kind of weird,” Vincent said.
Jamison graduated from Ramona High School in 2001 while Vincent was a 2004 graduate. Vincent was on the Bulldogs’ junior varsity team as a freshman and sophomore, so he wasn’t on the varsity during Jamison’s senior year.
Jamison then played for Cal State Long Beach, turning down a 2004 draft offer by the New York Mets after his junior year and signing with the Padres after his senior season. Vincent attended Palomar College before transferring to Long Beach State, redshirting one year at Palomar due to an injury and playing two seasons for the Comets.
The Padres took Vincent in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. He started eight games and relieved in eight games for Eugene, and he also had one start for Portland. At the time of the Padres-Storm game Vincent had a 2.30 earned run average in 27 appearances for the 2009 Storm.
“I think it’s great to have me and Nick being on the same team,” Jamison said.
Jamison noted that Ramona High School is one of the county’s smaller schools and is often overlooked. While some Ramona residents transfer to larger schools, Jamison and Vincent let their own skills generate attention from colleges and pro scouts.
“It just kind of sets a good example for kids who are young now,”
Jamison said. “If you’re good enough, you’ll be seen.”
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