Michael Gretler grew up dreaming about playing for the Boston Red Sox. He never guessed he would get a chance to set foot on the field of Fenway Park while he was still in high school. Shortly into his senior year at Bonney Lake High School, Gretler received an invitation to a workout in Boston. He flew there in October, shortly after the Red Sox won the World Series.
“That was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” he said. “It was unbelievable. “You walk in and just feel the history.” Not only did Gretler get to work out in the famed stadium, but he got to hold the team’s championship trophies, including the one they won in 2013. “It’s something you dream about as a little kid, to be able to hold that trophy up,” he said. “I was very humbled.”
As one of the area’s top baseball players, Gretler might one day get to hoist a World Series trophy that he helped win. Gretler said he has spoken with a couple of major league teams about June’s draft, but that his focus is enjoying his final year with the Panthers. “If the opportunity presents itself, and it’s the right time, then I’m ready,” he said. “But I want to get this season going and play with my friends one more time before going off to college.”
Gretler, a shortstop who has signed with Oregon State University, was a 3A South Puget Sound League first-team selection and second-team all-state selection last year after batting .395 with 11 doubles and 27 RBIs. Bonney Lake coach Mike Olson said Gretler’s versatility is a primary reason why he was in contention for league MVP the past two seasons. “There’s really nothing he can’t do on the field,” he said. “He hits, he throws, he’s a leader. The sky’s the limit for this kid.”
Gretler said he always had an interest in attending Oregon State, but watching the Beavers win the 2006 and 2007 College World Series sealed the deal. “They have great coaches,” he said. “They make you a better player and a better person.”
Gretler’s love of baseball began at age 3, and he started out playing catcher. In middle school, he switched to shortstop, which he said gave him the opportunity to showcase his leadership skills. He is a three-time captain for Bonney Lake. He also loves baseball’s competitive nature.
“You have to have strong teamwork and chemistry,” Gretler said. “But when it comes down to the actual game, it’s you versus the pitcher and you versus the ground ball.” “It’s going to be really competitive this year, but it doesn’t matter who the opponent is,” he said. “We have to go play the game we played in practice all week.”
Gretler played basketball his first two years at Bonney Lake but ultimately decided to focus on baseball year-round. He also plays for Chaffey Baseball, a premier summer league team. But school comes first, he said. Gretler, an aspiring doctor or pharmacist, has a 3.98 grade-point average and particularly enjoys his Advanced Placement math and science classes. “I think it has to do with ambition,” he said. “I’m really driven to succeed.”
Olson said Gretler is a “key cog” of his program because of his skills and intellect. “He’s going to be missed,” he said. “He’s not the kind of kid that you build a team around. He’s the kind of kid you build a program around.”