Outfielder Shea Estrin is the Paducah Chief farthest from home this summer, coming to western Kentucky from Torrance, California — 21 miles south of Los Angeles.
Like many of his teammates, Estrin has had to make an adjustment to college-level pitching, having finished his freshman season at Cerritos College — whose incoming coach, Rodney Davis, is the father of Oakland Athletics star outfielder Khris Davis — before packing his bags for the 1,922-mile trek to Paducah.
“I just want to get a different experience,” Estrin said. “It’s more like a hometown experience here, and I haven’t really played baseball like this. It’s my first summer-ball league. It’s a cool experience.”
Estrin says he’s thriving under the tutelage of Chiefs skipper Joe Hall.
“Joe has taught me so many little things that I’ve picked up that I can take back home,” he said.
One of the major differences between Los Angeles and Paducah, Estrin said, is the work ethic in some cases.
“Everybody works hard out here,” he said. “Which is good, because it pushes you harder. That’s definitely a plus.”
The Chiefs’ chemistry has helped soften the blow of being so far from home, too.
“We all get along really well,” Estrin said. “We all bonded really well. That’s probably what led to our success.”
That success — a stretch of five wins in a row before Friday’s doubleheader against Dubois County — took the Chiefs from a game below .500 to three games above it, putting Paducah a game back of the Hoptown Hoppers in the Ohio Valley League’s West Division.
But, there was another factor in that success, too.
“I think it was that parent weekend,” Estrin said. “All of our families were here. After they came, we started winning. We were on a roll.”
And, yes, his family, girlfriend and friends were all impacted by Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude earthquake.
Thankfully, Estrin said, they’re all OK.
Game 1: Dubois County 8, Paducah Chiefs 2 (7 innings)
Dubois 050 030 0 8 5 0
Paducah 100 100 0 2 4 0
Franklin, Steimel (2) and Graham; Smallwood, Hansen (5), Bagenstos (6) and Russ.
WP: Steimel. LP: Smallwood.
2B: PAD- Mitchum. 3B: None. HR: None. Top hitters: PAD- Mitchum 1-3, Akbar 1-3, Rucker 1-2, Russ 1-3.