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Willey set to return to Angels system after injury

by Jody Houle
Contributing Writer - Berlin Reporter

Pitcher Doug Willey, of Shelburne, a 2011 Gorham graduate, was drafted to the MLB Los Angeles Angels last year. He sustained an injury to his elbow while playing with the Orem Owlz, a team affiliated with the Angels. He is recovering well and ready for spring training in February. Pictured here, he is pitching for the Arkansas Razorbacks during a game on last May 14 against Alabama. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
August 14, 2017
SHELBURNE – Doug Willey of Shelburne said he is ready to play ball again after sustaining an injury to his elbow. Last year, the right-handed pitcher was signed by the Los Angeles Angels for the Major League Baseball first-year draft.

Willey, who graduated from Gorham High School in 2011, has been in rehab at the Angels' training complex in Arizona for his injury. He underwent Tommy John surgery (ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction or URL) and is recovering well. He expects to be ready for spring training in February.

The pitcher visited family and friends last week.

In June of last year, Willey was signed by the Angels and played for the Orem Owlz, which is affiliated with the LA Angels franchise. The Owlz, part of the Pioneer League, a minor league baseball farm league. His goal is to reach major league status and there are a series of steps before it can happen.

He graduated in 2015 from Division II Franklin Pierce University. From there he transferred to University of Arkansas where he was selected in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft to play for the Angels. He was No. 966 overall.

In his Gorham High career, he received three All-State selections, two Conference Player of the Year awards, three All-Conference selections and two New Hampshire Scholar-Athlete Awards. As a junior and senior he was a Huskies team captain. His senior year he was selected for three All Star games and was an MVP. He also played basketball and soccer and was selected twice for All-State and All-Conference for basketball. For soccer, he was selected for All-Conference as a junior. He was the basketball team captain in his junior and senior years.

Aside from sports, he was a four-year honor roll student.

At the end of his junior season at Franklin Pierce he was ranked third all-time in history in 54 appearances for the Ravens. In single-season records, he was tied for first place in 2014 in 26 appearances and ranked eighth in 2013 for 20 appearances.

He transferred to University of Arkansas for its graduate program and joined the Cape Cod League with Arkansas Razorback outfielder Luke Bonfield.

At 23, he was the oldest player on the Arkansas roster.

"A couple of the freshmen call me Grandpa and Dad," said Willey. "It's funny.

"Honestly, I knew nothing about Arkansas," Willey said. "I didn't even know where it was in the United States, to be honest with you. I knew it was a real good baseball program and was just coming off a World Series run."

He played one season as a Razorback, or a "Hog" last year and was ranked one of the "best out of the bullpen" with an ERA of 3.49 in 26 appearances with 29 strikeouts and three saves. He helped the Hogs win a series opener against the Missouri Tigers. He had one of the best starts in the 2016 season and never gave up an earned run in 13 appearances. In 15 2/3 innings, he made 16 strikeouts and walked nine.

Willey's parents are Jeff and Lisa Willey of Shelburne. His sister is Alysia.

He is majoring in kinesiology and exercise science. After his baseball career, he intends to be a strength and conditioning coach.

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