Vern Sterry on his promotion to Fort Wayne

Vern Sterry was promoted from the Eugene Emeralds to Fort Wayne Wizards and made his first start on Saturday. With family on the way to see him pitch in Everett, Sterry was going half way across the globe.

When the call came, Vern Sterry was slightly taken aback. His first thoughts, however, immediately turned to his family, anxious to see him pitch in his scheduled start on Saturday with the Eugene Emeralds.

"I had no idea (I was getting promoted)," Sterry said. "In fact when they told me, I called my family and they were already on their way to Everett. They were already flying."

But don't look at Sterry for remorse. He did his duty with the phone call, but it was time for him to go – the first step up in the minor league ladder.

Everett is nice this time of year anyway.

"I am not complaining," Sterry said.

Sorry mom and dad, your right-handed pitcher out of NC State just got promoted. Looks like the frequent flyer miles just became more frequent.

Next stop – Fort Wayne.

On Saturday, in his debut with Fort Wayne, Sterry pitched into the seventh inning and with two outs gave up a two run homer. It was his only blemish on the day as he cruised through six innings, allowing just four hits until the seventh.

"Not bad," Sterry said of his first start. "I thought I did pretty well. (Later in the game) I threw some bad pitches and gave up a home run."

Now that he is in Fort Wayne, he is back in the playoff picture. Fort Wayne is just a handful of games out of qualifying for the playoffs in the Midwest League. The team he left, the Eugene Emeralds, are floundering in last place in the Northwest League – a league worst 19-37. No other team is under .500 in the whole league.

"They play harder here," Sterry said of the competition in the Midwest League. "It is much better, trust me. It is a big difference over what you see at Eugene.

"I have pitched for some very, very bad teams. When plays are not made behind me I can shake it off. When I personally do bad – that is when I get frustrated."

So far Sterry has not had many bad outings. Opposing batters are hitting just .226 off him and he has kept the opposition to three runs or less in seven of his nine starts, including a one hitter in his first start for Eugene.

Now that he is out of Eugene, he leaves behind catcher and former WolfPack teammate Colt Morton. His catcher on Saturday night was Luke Carlin.

And how was the game Carlin called?

"He called a very good game," a grinning Sterry said. "I am off bragging to Colt, telling him that he called a good game!"

When you are promoted, everything seems a little funny. Family left wondering where their son is, former teammates the brunt of jokes. One small step for Sterry, one giant smile for Sterry.

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