The pathway from Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League to the professional ranks is as strong as ever. That was clear this week when 19 HCBL alumni were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The first player off the board was Oklahoma catcher Mac James (Shelter Island ’13), who became the first player in Bucks history to be taken in the draft. The native Texan played multiple positions for Shelter Island in its second season, including behind the plate. He batted .314 with one homer and 12 runs batted in, and carried that success to his junior season at OU, where he hit a team-high .330 with five homers and 41 RBI.
Kody Kerski (Sacred Heart/North Fork ’11) became the highest draft pick in the history of the Ospreys, eclipsing the watermark of Andrew Cain (UNC Wilmington/North Fork ’09), who was taken in the 24th round by San Francisco in 2011. That summer, Kerski logged a 1.38 ERA in two starts for North Fork before his season was cut short due to injury. Over his career at Sacred Heart, he won 20 games, seven coming in his breakout senior season.
Two others were taken on day two—J.B. Kole (Villanova/Southampton ’12) and Southampton product Chris Pike (Oklahoma City/Southampton ’11). The latter played three seasons at Fordham before transferring to Oklahoma City, where he went 10-3 with an ERA of 1.89. In 90 innings of work, Pike gave up just 59 hits and 18 walks while striking out 125. The highlight of his season came in March when he tossed a perfect game and no-hitter back to back, piling up 35 Ks in the two starts.
Day three saw 15 HCBL alumni hear their names called. Among them was Mattituck High grad Steve Ascher (SUNY Oneonta/North Fork ’12), who went in the 17th round to Tampa Bay. Multi-year HCBL players selected included Brant Whiting (Stanford/Southampton ’11, ’12), who was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 30th round, and J.J. Franco (Brown/Sag Harbor ’11-13), a 38th round selection of the Atlanta Braves.
For a complete list of HCBL draft picks, including all those from 2014, visit www.hamptonsbaseball.org.