Will LaMarche signs with Detroit Tigers | July 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - July 19, 2013

Will LaMarche signs with Detroit Tigers

AVHS alum pitches his way from Little League to the pros

by Isabella Ohlmeyer

Many young baseball players fantasize about one day playing professional baseball. For Pleasanton resident William LaMarche, this childhood dream has become a reality.

LaMarche, a 2009 Amador Valley High School graduate, was selected last month to be a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers during the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft. On July 9, LaMarche got the call to be moved up from Rookie to Class A Short Season.

LaMarche's love for baseball began when he was 4 years old and he saw his hero Barry Bonds play for the San Francisco Giants.

"No matter what was ever said about Barry Bonds, the way he was able to electrify a crowd was what inspired me to play baseball," LaMarche said.

LaMarche participated in Little League, Tri-Valley Babe Ruth, high school baseball, Danville Hoots, college baseball and is now playing for the Tigers, starting in its minor leagues.

Although he never stopped playing, LaMarche, a pitcher, hasn't had an easy path on the way to his professional career. He's had to struggle to overcome devastating injuries he incurred while pitching.

In 2008, LaMarche was the starting pitcher for the Amador baseball team in the championship game at the San Luis Obispo Spring Break Tournament. As the team went out for the third inning, LaMarche recalled saying to himself, "OK, Will, let's make this a quick inning."

Suddenly, six pitches into the first batter, a line drive was hit back at LaMarche, striking him squarely in the mouth, fracturing his jaw and knocking out eight teeth.

"When I attempted to lift my glove to catch the ball, I remember it feeling like I was trying to move my hand really fast under water. It just wouldn't move," he remembered.

"I knew it was bad; it was such a traumatic event to witness," said his mother, Jeanne LaMarche, who was at the game. "He was afraid that baseball was going to be taken away."

This incident resulted in LaMarche missing only 26 days of baseball. However, for six months, he underwent a total of 33 root canal surgeries and is still going through the process of rebuilding his fractured jaw via a bone graft. His gum line was so badly broken that it took two-and-a-half years to reinsert his teeth.

Jeanne LaMarche was impressed by her son's dedication to the game along with his attitude after the incident.

"After getting hit, Will never once complained. He just felt ready to get back into the game," Jeanne said.

Indeed, Will jumped right back into the game and played ball for the remainder of his high school career.

After high school, he was offered a scholarship to play for Long Beach State University. During his time at Long Beach State, LaMarche was a star pitcher, but he sustained another injury. He tore a ligament in his arm on a pitch, which led him to undergo Tommy John surgery, a procedure to reconstruct the throwing elbow. Long Beach State cut LaMarche from the team, leading him to withdraw from school and return home.

He then attended Chabot College and again played baseball, which was an opportunity for him to continue his passion and start with a clean slate. Chabot is where he met his future agent, PSI Sports Management representative Dana Cory.

"After meeting Will and spending time with him, I soon realized that he is a great young man," Cory said. "He is extremely dedicated to the work and ready to be a professional baseball player."

Soon after meeting Cory, LaMarche was drafted in the 18th round to play for the Minnesota Twins. However, during that time, LaMarche also found out that he was invited to play ball for Lousiana State University, whose team is ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball.

LaMarche chose to play for LSU rather than the Twins, and this year, he was the winning pitcher in the game that sent the team to the College World Series.

On June 7, the second day of the draft, LaMarche received yet another phone call to play Major League Baseball. LaMarche found this phone call to be a surreal experience.

"It was at that moment when I realized that this was the tail end of my college career," he said. "The phone call made the next step real for me. At the same time, we had a super regional game to win to send us to Omaha, so I needed to keep a balance and use the excitement I had to my advantage out on the field."

To say his mother was proud would be an understatement.

"For Will, it was about living in the moment, but it was still about living his dream," Jeanne said.

Will has grown to become grateful for all that he has.

"Gratitude is power, and being grateful for what I have, whether it be the winning pitcher in a game to send LSU to the College World Series, or a tougher situation in life, being grateful gives a different perspective -- a perspective that seems to attract more and more positivity in my life," he said.

"Everything I have experienced and continue to experience is seen in my eyes as such a blessing to me from God," he added. "That is why going through Tommy John, getting hit in the mouth and getting cut from Long Beach was dealt to me, for me to truly appreciate the gifts I experience in my life."

Talent and perseverance led LaMarche to June 27, the day he officially signed to be a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. This little slugger had his dream come true.


Like this comment
Posted by Karin Francis
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I have been a friend of your mom and dad for many years. They are special people and have raised two wonderful children. Your success is well earned and deserved. You make us all proud. Remember, we may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. God bless.

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a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jun 4, 2017 at 11:51 pm

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