It’s every young baseball player’s dream: to play for his high school varsity team, to then get a scholarship to play for a Division I college team, and to be drafted by your local big league team. And that’s exactly how homegrown talent Ian Villers’ baseball life has gone.
Ian pitched for Northgate High School for all four years, gaining the attention of major league scouts even as a high school student. He was drafted in 2018 in the 19th round by the San Diego Padres, but decided to honor his commitment to UC Berkeley and play for them. His Northgate HS coach, Tim Jochner, says, “Ian is a great, respectful young man, with a tremendous amount of talent. I look forward to continuing to watch him grow and mature, and we are all proud of him as a community.” And a former teammate at Northgate, Danny Shaffer, adds, “After playing with Ian for a few years, it was clear he had the work ethic and skills to compete in college and the pros.”
Ian played three years for the Cal Bears, posting a 2.84 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched out of the bullpen in 2021, and was drafted in the 8th round of the MLB draft on July 12, 2021 by the San Francisco Giants. According to MLB.com, Michael Holmes of the San Francisco Giants said, “…We just looked at it as an opportunity to get a bigger, strong-bodied kid who can really throw hard and has the ability to spin the ball.”
As Ian’s mom, Sandy, says, “We couldn’t be happier for Ian. Playing professional baseball has been a goal of his for a long time. To be able to start his career with a team like the Giants is a dream come true. We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported him along the way and can’t wait to see what the future will bring. Go Giants!”
We look forward to seeing where’s Ian’s baseball career goes next!
By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991 | Photo by Marc Villers