No teenager wants to face the dilemma baseball standout Kyle Raubinger encountered last month.
Raubinger, a senior-to-be third baseman at Arroyo Grande High, was scheduled to attend a final tryout for the Area Code Games, the most prestigious event of the summer.
But two days earlier, his father, David, suffered a stroke and was in critical condition.
“I called the main guy and told him I might not be able to go,” Raubinger said.
His father was transferred to a hospital in Santa Barbara, the same city where the Area Code tryouts were taking place, so Raubinger decided to finish what he had started. He went to the tryout, then went to the hospital to visit his father.
He learned his father was doing “much better.” And a couple of days later, Raubinger learned he had made the team.
So the summer is ending in a positive way for Raubinger, whose father is headed for a complete recovery. Meanwhile, he’ll get to play for the Milwaukee Brewers’ blue team starting today when the Area Code Games begin a six-day run at Blair Field in Long Beach.
“There’s going to be hundreds of scouts there,” Raubinger said. “If I do well, that will give me a lot of exposure with college and pro scouts.”
Scouts already know plenty about Raubinger, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound 17-year-old who batted .417 with five home runs and 30 RBI as a junior, and on the mound had a 9-1 record with a 1.78 earned-run average in 59 innings.
Raubinger was the PAC 7 Most Valuable Pitcher this past year, was named to the all-CIF Southern Section Division 2 second team and the all-San Luis Obispo County first team. He has also spent time with the Santa Maria-based California Wahoos program, a club intended to garner college recruiting attention for area hopefuls.
Raubinger has received recruiting interest from UCLA, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, among others. And interest figures to intensify with a strong showing this week.
Former Major League player Robin Ventura, a Righetti High grad, has helped coach Raubinger at Arroyo Grande, and Ventura’s strength at being patient and focused appears to have rubbed off on his pupil.
“I go up focused, try to read the pitcher and try to succeed every time,” Raubinger said.
The challenge of the Area Code Games is that the hitters face elite pitchers while using wood bats. It’s run by professional scouts trying to identify players who could be drafted. College recruiters show up looking for top players, too.
Perhaps the No. 1 pro prospect in Southern California, if not the nation, is Edison of Huntington Beach left-hander Henry Owens. He’s playing on the same team as Raubinger.
For Raubinger, it’s a chance to show what he can do in a much larger setting than Arroyo Grande.
“Not many people know where I live,” he said.
But Raubinger is going to do wonders for the tourist industry if recruiters and scouts start making visits looking for the third baseman with the pop in his bat.
The Tribune contributed to this report.