The text arrived last Thursday morning as Archbishop Mitty baseball coach Brian Yocke was teaching a summer class.
“Boise State dropped its baseball program.”
Former Mitty standout Joe Yorke — the older brother of recent Boston Red Sox first-round pick Nick Yorke — was on the other end of the correspondence.
Joe Yorke was a freshman first baseman at Boise State this past spring, hitting .275 in 12 starts before the coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a sudden end.
“I can’t just text back, ‘Bummer,’” Yocke said of that moment when Joe gave him the news. “I waited until there was a break in my class, and I immediately called him back.
“He’s obviously devastated.”
Yorke was all-in at Boise State, as the Mitty coach put it, but knew he had to act fast in hopes of relocating.
With an assist from Yocke and summer-league coach Jon Zuber, Yorke found a new home within a matter of hours, committing to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.
“It definitely wasn’t a decision that I ever wanted to have to make,” Yorke said Monday. “But it worked out in the end for me, personally.”
The Boise State roster includes Bay Area products Wes Harper of Bellarmine, Myles Harris of Campolindo and Brayden Spears of Liberty.
Former A’s outfielder Travis Buck is on the coaching staff, and Matty Fung of Serra is part of the incoming freshman class.
Fung, a middle infielder and outfielder, is sharing an apartment in Utah this summer with a group of roommates that includes Yorke. They are playing in the Utah College League.
“It didn’t really hit me at first,” Fung said about Boise eliminating baseball. “But later on it hit me, and I broke out in some tears. I was really looking forward to going to Boise in August.”
Maybe he’ll still get a chance. Supporters are fighting to save the program, cut along with women’s swimming and diving because of lost revenue from COVID-19, through fundraising.
“I hope there is baseball at Boise,” Yorke said, noting his appreciation for the coaches. “I couldn’t have imagined picking a better school than Boise State. For my teammates’ sake, I hope they all get an opportunity, whether it’s at Boise if they save it, or somewhere else. It wouldn’t shock me at all if they raised the money and baseball ended up happening at Boise.”
Fung is keeping his fingers crossed.
“My first option is to hope that this fundraising works out,” he said, “because that’s where I want to be. But I am also finding back up plans just in case it doesn’t.”
Fung said he received a call Sunday from Oregon State, which told him that a spot might open up.
“If that doesn’t work out or Boise doesn’t work out, I’ll probably just go play at a junior college closer to home,” Fung added.
Though he chose the Idaho school, Yorke said he had an interest in Cal Poly during his recruitment from high school. He lived in Huntington Beach before his family uprooted to the South Bay and likes that Cal Poly is near the ocean.
His return to California comes less than a month after Nick Yorke, who graduated from Mitty in the spring, was surprisingly selected 17th overall by the Red Sox. Nick was expected to go about 80 spots lower in most pre-draft projections.
Joe Yorke was visiting his girlfriend in Southern California — she plays soccer at Chapman University — when Nick lit up the draft board.
“I was helping her move into her house, and we were planning to drive back Thursday morning to be home for the second round because the second or third round was when he was projected,” Yorke said. “We were at my aunt’s house (in Huntington), just in case.
“I get a text from him and he says, ‘Turn it on now.’ We turned the TV on and here we go — the 17th pick for the Boston Red Sox, Nicholas Yorke.
“We just started going nuts.”
Nick was planning to play for the University of Arizona before getting the call from the Red Sox.
Now, the older duo of the Yorke trio — younger brother, Zach, is a rising junior at Mitty — will have new addresses.
And mother, Robyn, a four-time softball All-American at Fresno State who taught her sons how to play, will have a much shorter trip to see Joe on the field.
“I have a feeling she’ll be spending a lot of weekends in San Luis Obispo, for sure,” Joe said.
It has been a whirlwind two days. With the current circumstances and so many unknowns, my family and I decided it was best to move quickly with this process. I am proud and excited to announce my verbal commitment to play baseball at Cal Poly. I want to thank everyone who has…
— Joe Yorke (@joeyorke32) July 3, 2020