In a league of his own

04/14/2011 10:21

Tym Pearson leads off toward second base during the first game of a double header the Titans played against Linn Benton April 12.Tym Pearson leads off toward second base during the first game of a double header the Titans played against Linn Benton April 12.

As he tilts his head and smiles in memory of the past and his future, he digs his cleats into the muddy baseball diamond to test the strength of the track. It’s wet, the mud is clumped, and the footing is bad. Another game on the road is ahead.

The road is something that Tym Pearson may need to get used to in the future. His talents in baseball may one day pay the bills.

No matter how humble he chooses to be scouts, ex-coaches and his mother all agree that he may succeed in his dream one day.

“I want to make this my career,” Tym said of America’s pastime.

It all began when his father was stationed in North Carolina and Tym found himself playing baseball with other children on the military base. He was only four years old. A year later, Tym’s family made it to the West Coast and settled in Oregon.

Once here, Tym found himself in stiff competition with his cousin who was another baseball-loving member of the family and a year older. Despite the age difference, Tym had the talents to even the playing field.

These natural talents could not be overlooked by those around him. Tym had an unbelievable arm that came as naturally in the game of baseball as Babe Ruth’s swing. When he first put his arm on display he was just a youngster, and it stunned everyone who watched.

When he was just seven years old coaches discovered Tym could already throw a baseball the width of a football field. Immediately, they changed the rules to allow certain seven year-olds into the eight year-old league.

From then on Tym was always a year younger than the others in his age group.

Also, for the next seven years he participated in the pitch, hit and throw competition. Every year Tym took home the first place trophy.

Yet, Tym would be the last person to openly lay claim to this.

“He was always the go-to player, and he’s a good morale booster,” his mother, Melody Pearson, said. “He is so humble that it’s painful sometimes.”

Tym’s mother claims that his attitude is modeled after his grandfather, the late L.E. “Sparky” Kommer.

Despite his love for the game, Tym decided to take several years away from the sport and make his run in the football world as a quarterback. During this time he became a highly scouted player on the grid iron and one that many schools would have loved to get their hands on.

Throughout the 2008-2009 football season at Thurston High School, Tym passed for 3,760 total yards, 44 touchdowns and 289.2 yards per game. It also helped him to become a finalist for the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year in Oregon. These stats, along with the rest of his career, gave Pearson the opportunity to play quarterback at Portland State University on a full-ride scholarship.

“He broke every record that the school had. He broke the single season passing record in Oregon. He shattered every record we had except for interceptions,” Thurston High School head coach Justin Starck said.

Then Sparky’s health started to decline. That’s when Tym stepped back and decided it was time to get back to the diamond.

“I started playing [baseball] again because my grandpa was dealing with health issues and he really enjoyed watching me play when I was younger,” Tym said. “I was pretty good at football so, of course, I miss that and the passion that I had for that game. But, as far as career wise, I want to pursue baseball, that’s my love.”

Sparky would sit behind home plate for every game cheering and watching as Tym did what he loved so dearly. Sparky tried to the best of his ability to make every one of Tym’s games until his health prevented him from making any more.

Even in his final days, Sparky was hard to talk out of a game of ball.

Both Sparky and his brother grew up with America’s pastime and made sure to teach this to Tym, Melody said. Even though Sparky passed away over two years ago, his words of wisdom still hold a secure place in Pearson’s heart.

“That was probably a big drive for Tym,” Melody said. “[Sparky] just supported whatever Tymothy needed to do.”

Sparky loved to watch his grandson play baseball.

This support was built off a strong belief in family and a love for the game of ball. This support carries some of the fondest memories in Tym’s not very distant past.

“He would sit back and say ‘That’s my grandson’ with a big smile,” Melody said of her father.

Tym says his senior year became the highlight of his grandfather’s life.

“It was awesome, senior year, getting letters from all those teams and all the college recruits,” Tym said.  “He’d call me every day and ask, ‘Who sent you a letter today?’ It was really fun. It was a highlight in his life before he passed.”

As his senior year of high school came to a close he decided to sign his letter of intent to play quarterback for Portland State, but this did not last. Instead, Tym found himself on the draft board for the Major League Baseball draft. The Colorado Rockies chose him with their pick in the 35th round.

Just before his protégé had been formally recognized by the MLB, Sparky passed away. This left Tym without his most valued influence.

His greatest influence may have been lost, but his trip around the bases was far from over.

A year later in the 41st round in the MLB draft Tym found his name called again. This time it was by the New York Yankees, but again he could not solidify the contract.

“The Yankees would have been nice,” Tym said. “It would have been hard to make it through their farm system.”

His dream to play for a major league team is not biased toward one organization in particular though, but he does have his dreams.

“My ideal team would be the Cleveland Indians,” Tym said. “My favorite player is Grady Sizemore.”

This favoritism was created while Tym was playing at Columbia Basin College under his old head coach Steve Farrington.

“Last year when I was up at Columbia Basin, my coach — Steve Farrington — had coached Grady when he was younger, and he said that there was really not that much difference between he and I,” Tym said. “He said that I have more natural power than he does but other than that we’re nearly the same. That was really a confidence booster.”

Until the day that he gets the opportunity to play professionally, Tym spends his time at LCC. He hopes that this is the year to get his contract stowed away and to get rolling on his career.

“My plan right now is I really want to sign and get this going. I want to make that my career,” Tym said. “I love this sport.”

With Sparky’s wisdom under his belt and the strong drive for success Pearson sees his contract date coming soon.