This story represents a portion of the recent work produced by The Apple Leaf staff. The Apple Leaf is published by the Advanced Journalism class at Wenatchee High School, under the tutelage of adviser Dave Riggs. The award-winning publication is a forum for expression by the students of Wenatchee High School, affording them a chance to air facts and opinions relative to all issues of concern to them.
• • •
After four years of playing varsity baseball at Wenatchee High School, senior Dustin Driver is set to play out his future of playing baseball professionally.
Driver is certainly an exception from the average high school athlete. He received countless letters and offers from colleges all over the United States. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Oakland A’s in the Major League Baseball Draft on June 7 and signed with the team shortly thereafter.
“Coaches can go years without experiencing a player like Dustin,” said WHS head baseball coach Jeff Zehnder. “He is a really special high school athlete who has brought a lot to this community and been a big part in the team’s success.”
According to Zehnder, Driver is considered a power pitcher. He has mastered his fastball, curveball, slider and cutter pitches.
According to Zehnder, on average, 15 to 30 MLB scouts attended each game in which Driver pitches.
Zehnder is hopeful for Driver’s future and is confident he will continue to be very successful as he begins his journey to the big leagues.
“With a fastball around 93 mph, I would say Dustin is about 10 mph faster than other pitchers we have played against so far this year,” said Zehnder.
Driver received many college scholarship offers from schools all over the nation, including his very first offer from Gonzaga University his freshman year. After visiting schools, he picked UCLA as his college choice.
“Last year I went to UCLA with Coach (Ed) Knaggs during spring break. I really liked the campus, the baseball program, and the education, which is really important. A couple days after the visit, I just knew that’s where I would be going to school.”
Ultimately, though, the lure of playing professional baseball proved too good to pass up.
Because of baseball practice and additional workouts to stay in shape, Driver hasn’t had much time for other activities outside of school and baseball.
In recent years, Driver has played with the Spokane Dodgers, Marucci Elite, and Apple Valley Blues along with playing for the WHS team.
Driver stays plenty busy and constantly is juggling his school work along with athletics. However, he is surrounded by the support of many people in his life.
“My mom is definitely one of my role models because of how hard she works to support the both of us and get me to where I need to be for baseball and what not.”
Senior Adam Grubb, a teammate of Driver for nearly 12 years, also plays a support role in Driver’s life.
“Dustin is so shy but he cares about everybody, he just doesn’t always show it,” said Grubb. “I can’t wait to see what he does in his future.”