Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Seminole High teammates reunited in the minor leagues

As longtime friends and former high school teammates, it's not surprising that Brett Phillips and Joey Krehbiel have had a reunion of sorts in the minor leagues.

After a few years apart, the pair are no longer baseball teammates, but foes who play for opposing teams in the Midwest League.

"It's funny now because Joey and I grew up playing ball together and we're still best friends to this day," Phillips said.

During their three years together in high school, the Seminole Warhawks were regulars in the postseason, including a showing in the 2010 region finals.

According to then-coach Greg Olsen, Phillips was the team's vocal leader and the quieter Krehbiel led the Warhawks by example.

"Brett was one to encourage his teammates, to push them, but he also kept our team in line," Olsen said. "Joey's a little bit of the opposite personality, but everybody on our team looked to Joey because they respected the way he played."

The duo's baseball careers did not end upon graduation.

Krehbiel, a reliever who graduated in 2011, was taken by the Los Angeles Angels in the 12th round of the MLB first-year player's draft. Phillips, a centerfielder, had to wait an extra year to hear his name called by the Houston Astros in the sixth round.

In Krehbiel's first full professional season, the right-hander compiled a 2-2 record with a 5.12 ERA for the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League.

"In the league I was in, it's a little different than high school; these guys came out of college and there's more traveling and being away from home," Krehbiel said. "I think after all that was done and 2013 came around, I was another year older, one more year experienced, and I just matured more."

With the adjustment period over, Krehbiel was promoted to Los Angeles' Class A affiliate, the Burlington Bees. Once there, he willingly adopted a role as the team's set-up man.

Krehbiel's 2013 season showed much improvement as he went 6-5 with an ERA below 2.75.

The first part of this season has seen the righty take over the Bees' closer role. Through Monday, Krehbiel had a 1.93 ERA and totaled five saves for Burlington, which is among the league's western division leaders.

Phillips made his professional debut in 2012 but settled in with Houston's Class A affiliate, the Quad Cities River Bandits at the end of the 2013 season. He appeared in only 12 games and put together a .231 average in 39 at-bats.

The 2014 version of the River Bandits has relied much more on Phillips. He has a .304 average this season with four home runs and 33 runs driven in. Phillips' speed has been an asset for the team as well as he already has 10 triples and 12 stolen bases.

"I'm making pretty good adjustments now," Phillips said. "This game's all about doing that and right now I'm really in a groove."

These numbers were good enough to earn Phillips an invitation to the East vs. West All-Star Game on June 17. Phillips started in centerfield for the western division's team and collected one hit in three plate appearances; he also drove in a run.

The friends have already met once this season. On June 6, Phillips bested Krehbiel, hitting a triple off him as his River Bandits took the victory.

"I got on the mound and looked at him, and we just started smiling and laughing," Krehbiel said. "… He hits a pop-up to right field and our rightfielder gets under it, looks up for the ball and loses it in the sun. (Phillips) gets a triple and is all hooting and hollering over at third base."

But a little good-natured ribbing doesn't diminish a dream realized.

"Playing professional baseball was our goal as children and to be doing it against your best friend is pretty cool," Phillips said.

Former Seminole High teammates reunited in the minor leagues 06/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 7:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays

    Blogs

    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  2. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  3. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback

    Blogs

    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

    The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 5:32: 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) is not doing much in the way of baseball activity yet so that means he won't be ready when eligible to come off the DL on Friday. ... SS Matt Duffy (left heel) said he is still slowed by the big left toe he bruised taking BP on Saturday and does not have a date to …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  5. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron

    College

    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)