EUGENE, Ore. -- The Pacific Northwest is a long way from Cincinnati, Ohio, or even Farmington, New Mexico. But once again, Marcus Davis and Cody Geyer are in the same clubhouse, eating sandwiches and getting ready to showcase their talents.
Davis, the Eugene Emeralds infielder, and Geyer, a right-handed reliever for the Hillsboro Hops, are representing the South Division in the Northwest League All-Star Game. It's their first time playing on the same team as professionals, but the two have a shared a common path in baseball.
"We played three summers together and junior college together," Geyer said.
"And now we're on the same team here," Davis added. "Baseball is a small world. You play with guys and you hope for the best for them, but being back in the same room is always pretty cool."
Davis leads the league with a 1.022 OPS, but when asked who was known as the "The Big Stick," he just smiled.
"That was you," he said, pointing at Geyer.
"That was me," admitted Geyer, who entered the All-Star break with a 3-1 record and 2.91 ERA in 18 appearances and has never had an at-bat in the pros. "When I was in high school, I used to hit a little bit. We were in Farmington (at the 2010 Connie Mack World Series) and I guess I had a good couple of days swinging the bat."
Actually, in the amateur tournament, Geyer went 7-for-14 with a homer, triple and tournament-leading seven RBIs en route to winning the championship.
Earlier this season, Geyer hit three home runs in batting practice, so he might be forgiven for thinking about picking up a bat. But nobody on the Hops will dispute that he throws the team's filthiest curveball.
"It's been good just to be healthy," said Geyer, finally at full strength after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. "The Northwest League is good and Hillsboro is a great place to play. I've had fun. We've been winning a lot, so that's helped, too.
"We've got a really good coaching staff, a lot of baseball knowledge, for sure, with (hitting coach) Mark Grace and (pitching coach) Doug Drabek and (manager) J.R. House. I think that's had a large part to do with our success this year."
Speaking of improving from last year, Davis reached the All-Star Game with 97 total bases in 47 games, compared with only 21 in 35 games last year. He leads the circuit in slugging percentage (.584) and is near the top in homers (7), on-base percentage (.438) and batting (.343).
"A little bit of experience," Davis shrugged. "A little knowledge of what to expect. Making some changes.
"There's actually a coach in the Diamondbacks organization named Vince Harrison (Rookie-level Missoula's hitting coach) who lives in Cincinnati and went to the same high school I did. He helped me out a lot this offseason and once I got sent to extended (spring training). Just from there, I try to refine that approach every day. It's working out now."
Davis and Geyer appear as comfortable together as if they've been teammates without any time apart. But this is professional baseball.
"There's definitely a difference," Geyer said. "Everybody's got a lot more talent."
For Davis, that translates to hard work.
"The difference is I have to bring it every day. High school or college, you play four or five games in a week at the most, and here it's every day," he said. "So the biggest difference is finding a way to get it done day in and day out."