Five area players selected on final day of MLB Draft

Five area players selected on final day of MLB Draft


Five area athletes will get a chance to play professional baseball after being picked on the final day of the Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday.

Former Hardaway High outfielder Justin Ellison was the 12th round pick of the Atlanta Braves. Ellison had an outstanding sophomore season at Western Oklahoma College, batting .429 with 21 home runs, 72 RBI and 84 runs scored, along with 20 doubles and 22 stolen bases in 66 games. Ellison led the Pioneers to the Division II Junior College World Series and a national runner-up finish.

"For me to get this opportunity is truly a blessing," Ellison said. "For me to get this opportunity is truly a blessing. Just the fact that the Atlanta Braves are the team that picked me was pretty much a bonus. I'm extremely excited to be a part of this organization being that it's the hometown team. So I'm really excited to see what the future holds for me as I embark on my professional baseball career."

Missouri third baseman Josh Lester was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 13th round. Lester, a key part of Columbus High's run of three straight GHSA state titles, hit .280 with seven homers and 42 RBI in 58 games while batting cleanup for Mizzou.

Former Russell County Warrior Rock Rucker was selected in the 20th round by the Cincinnati Reds as a lefthanded pitcher. Rucker was limited to six games this season with Auburn-Montgomery due to injury.

Two prep players were taken in the later rounds. Callaway's Terry Godwin signed a football scholarship with Georgia, and the Braves publicly discussed the possibility of making him a draft pick. They made the call in the 33rd round, drafting Godwin as an outfielder.

Columbus High shortstop Al Jones was the 36th round selection of the Chicago Cubs. The speedy Jones signed a scholarship with SEC power Vanderbilt last November, which means the Cubs will have to offer a hefty signing bonus, one that would be significantly above the amount designated for a late pick, to keep Jones from taking his talents to Nashville.

In addition, a number of players from area Division I colleges were drafted. The biggest contingent comes from Georgia : pitchers Sean McLaughlin (Braves, 19th), Jared Cheek (Cubs, 21st), Taylor Hicks (Tigers, 26th) and David Sosebee (Yankees, 28th), catcher Zack Bowers (Giants, 24th), and first baseman Jared Walsh (Angels, 39th).

Alabama had three players picked: catcher Kyle Overstreet (Padres, 14th), pitcher Will Carter (Yankees, 14th), and outfielder Georgie Salem (Diamondbacks, 39th).

Pitchers Trey Wingenter (Padres, 17th) and Rocky McCord (Orioles, 26th) were Auburn's draftees, while Georgia Tech also had two players selected, catcher A.J. Murray (Twins 14th) and outfielder Daniel Spingola (Cubs, 31st).

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