Texas Sun Devils head coach Matt
Thompson remembers very well the first time he saw Conroe, Texas,
right-hander Dustin Kellogg pitch.
“We were playing against his local
team in a tourney at Lamar University,” Thompson recalled Thursday.
“Dustin struck out 12 Sun Devils that night. He became a Sun Devil
very soon after.”
Kellogg, 18, played with the Sun Devils
in five Perfect Game events from 2010-11. Now, tragically, he was killed in an auto
accident early Tuesday morning when the pickup he was driving
collided with an 18-wheeler in Montgomery County (Texas), not far
from his home.
Kellogg was a 2011 graduate of Caney
Creek High School in Conroe where he starred on the pitcher’s
mound. His fastball reached 91 mph and Perfect Game ranked him the
No. 220 national prospect in his graduating class. He was drafted by
the Houston Astros in the 34th round of the 2011 MLB
First-Year Player Draft, quickly signed and pitched in six games in
the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League this summer.
“We send our condolences to Dustin’s
family, friends, coaches and teammates,” Astros assistant general
manager Bobby Heck said in a released statement. “Dustin was a
Texas kid, and he made his intentions very clear at our pre-draft
workout that he wanted to pitch for his hometown Houston Astros. We
were very happy to make his dream come true when we signed him in
“He was a great kid with high energy
and a lot of confidence, and performed well for us after signing.
This is a huge loss for everyone that knew him.”
Thompson remembered Kellogg’s
dedication to baseball, recalling how he would drive 1½ hours each
way just to attend a pitching lesson that lasted one hour. Thompson
also recalled what Kellogg taught his teammates and what he taught
“Be yourself and stop worrying about
impressing scouts and coaches. Just play the game hard and everything
will work out,” Thompson said. “Dustin taught me to not
over-think the game or life. He had the unique ability to make
something extremely difficult (seem) simple. It was one reason he was
such an outstanding pitcher.”
Kellogg played in four PG WWBA
tournaments and one BCS Finals in the two years he was with Thompson
on the Sun Devils. Thompson said he’ll miss the conversations he
used to have with Kellogg on a regular basis.
“Whether it was about baseball, life
or how to make a ‘Texas Toothpick,’ he made everyone smile,”
Thompson said. “Dustin will be deeply missed not only by the Sun
Devils but by everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.”