Hughes leads 2011 draft class

Thirteen players were selected in the 2011 MLB draft from Division III schools.

Ben Hughes, RHP, St. Olaf
Colorado Rockies, tenth round, No. 318 overall

Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 227
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minn.

St. Olaf junior Ben Hughes was taken in the 10th round by the Colorado Rockies in the Major League Baseball Draft, becoming the highest pick in school history and the third St. Olaf player since 2003 to be taken.

Hughes, the MIAC's pitcher of the year this spring and a All-American, compiled a 7-1 record with a 2.50 ERA in 10 appearances in 2011. He struck out 83 against a mere 19 walks in 57 2/3 innings of work. He had three complete games, including two shutouts, and amassed at least 10 strikeouts in five of his 10 appearances.

Hughes burst onto the draft boards last summer, when he posted a 2.50 ERA in 15 appearances for Duluth of the Northwoods League. He was an all-star for the Huskies and struck out the only two batters he faced in the league's all-star game. He pitched once for Duluth this season, throwing six scoreless innings while striking out eight in a season-opening win over St. Cloud on June 1.

Hughes was 318th pick overall and the 11th of the Rockies. Hughes was the fifth pitcher taken by Colorado, who used six of their first eight selections on position players.

Cody Koback, CF, UW-Stevens Point
Boston Red Sox, tenth round, No. 322 overall

Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Plover, Wis.

UW-Stevens Point junior centerfielder/pitcher Cody Koback was the 322nd pick of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, as the Boston Red Sox selected him in the 1oth round. 

Koback had a monster year for the Pointers.  He led the team in batting average (.424), slugging percentage (.701), OBP (.516), runs scored (71), hits (75), triples (7), home runs (8), total bases (124), hit by pitch (22), stolen bases (16) and plate appearances (213). 

He was also was 6-1 in 10 appearances on the mound for the purple and gold, posting a 3.26 ERA, one complete game, 58.0 innings and 51 strikeouts.  

Koback was selected as a second team and ABCA All-American and was named the Midwest Region’s Position Player of the Year.  He was the 2011 WIAC Position Player of the Year as well as a First Team All-WIAC honoree.

Greg Ross, RHP, Frostburg State
Atlanta Braves, eighteenth round, No. 566 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Towson, Md.

Frostburg State senior pitcher Greg Ross was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

Ross becomes the first Bobcat player in over 30 years to be drafted in the major leagues and just the third in the history of the baseball program. John Elder was selected by the New York Mets in 1978 while Jim Riggleman, current manager for the Washington Nationals, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974.

Being selected by the Braves is the final touch on a brilliant senior season for Ross. He earned numerous postseason awards, including a second-team selection on the All-American team. Ross also grabbed several school records and helped the Bobcats to the CAC Championship and NCAA Tournament.

Brooks Belter, RHP, Occidental
Tampa Bay Rays, twenty-fifth round, No. 780 overall

Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Lakeville, CT.

Occidental's Brooks Belter was a twenty-fifth round selection of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

On the hill, Belter made his senior season one to remember, garnering the first conference accolade of his four-year career. He finished the spring with a 1.19 ERA, allowing just three earned runs and a .216 batting average against in 22.2 innings of work. The righty struck out 31 batters in 14 appearances. Belter finished with a 1-3 record and three saves for the Tigers in SCIAC play.

Overall, the product of Connecticut held his opponents to a .183 batting averages, sitting down 43 men on strikes while allowing just five earned runs in 31.0 total innings of action in 19 appearances. He finished with a 1.45 overall ERA and earned five save

David Colvin, RHP, Pomona-Pitzer
Seattle Mariners, twenty-seventh round, No. 813 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Mill Valley, CA.

David Colvin will join former Sagehen's James Kang and Drew Hedman as Colvin was a 27th round selection of the Seattle Mariners in the most recent Major League Baseball draft.

The ace of the Pomona-Pitzer pitching staff, Colvin compliled an 8-2 record in 2011 with a 2.96 ERA and 94 strikeouts, allowing 21 walks in 94 innings. 2011 found Colvin off the All-SCIAC team for the first time in his career.  As a freshman Colvin was a second team selection and a first team selcetion in his sophomore and junior years.

During 12 appearances in the New England wooden-bat league, Colvin had a 1.93 earned-run average. He won three games, picked up a pair of saves and struck out 19 while walking six in 23.1 innings.

"I think he's got some potential to get better," said Pomona-Pitzer head coach Frank Pericolosi. "I don't think he's reached his potential as baseball player yet. I think he can get better."

Ian Durham, RHP, Cal Lutheran
Philadelphia Phillies, twenty-eighth ound, No. 871 overall

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Ventura, CA.

Cal Lutheran senior pitcher Ian Durham was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 28th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. With the selection, Durham becomes the 18th member of the Kingsmen baseball program drafted since Major League Baseball instituted its amateur draft in 1965.

“This is the right time for Ian to take the next step to compete in professional baseball,” stated Cal Lutheran baseball head coach Marty Slimak, “his best days are yet to come.”

During his senior season at Cal Lutheran, the right-hander was named a starter in nine of his 13 games played, going 4-4 with a 4.22 ERA. In his 59.2 innings pitched throughout the 2011 season, Durham struck out 58 batters, the second-highest total on the team and fourth-highest mark in the SCIAC.
Serving as Cal Lutheran’s primary reliever throughout most of his collegiate career, Durham solidified his spot in the 2011 starting rotation after finishing the previous season with a conference-high six saves and an impressive performance throughout all five of his starts in 2010.

Durham ends his four-year career at Cal Lutheran with an 8-8 record, 4.70 ERA, seven saves, and averaged nearly one strikeout per inning as he retired 132 batters throughout his 132.2 innings pitched. Durham is in 10th place all-time in the program’s record books alongside Justin Keeling with 44 career appearances.

Durham is the first Kingsmen drafted since 2009 when the Los Angeles Dodger selected second baseman David Iden in the 35th round.

Brian Henry, C, Keystone
Arizona Diamondbacks, thirty-sixth round, No. 1084 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 230
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Columbus, NJ

Keystone catcher Bryan Henry will have the opportunity to further his playing career, this time on the professional level, as he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks today as part of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

A native of Columbus, NJ, Henry was selected in the 36th round, as the 1084th overall pick. 

Henry's selection keeps the Keystone to Arizona pipeline active, as the Diamondbacks also selected three Giants as part of the 2010 draft.  The selection comes as an early birthday present for Henry, who will turn 22 tomorrow. 

Henry batted .374 with 49 RBI and 42 runs scored this past season, as he helped lead the Giants to their first ever Regional title and a trip to the Division III World Series.

Nick Skala, C, Concordia (Ill.)
Baltimore Orioles, thirty-seventh round, No. 1115 overall

Ht.: 6-1. Wt.:
Bats: Right. Throws: Right

Hometown: Long Grove, IL

Nick Skala, a two-year starting catcher for Concordia (Ill.) was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 37th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.       

Skala was drafted 1,115th overall. He becomes the third Concordia Cougar in the past nine years to be drafted, following  Jim Paduch (2003, 12th round, Cincinnati Reds) and Jack Walker (2009, 20th round, Washington Nationals).      
Skala played one year at San Jacinto Community College in Texas before transferring to Concordia in 2009. In two seasons with the Cougars, he has batted .402 in 82 games with 99 runs, 101 RBIs and a .662 slugging percentage.
Skala was the 2011 Northern Athletics Conference Position Player of the Year and a member of the first-team All-Midwest Region as selected by the ABCA. He ranked fourth nationally in the NCAA Division III in RBIs with 63 and 11th in total bases with 150. Skala led the Cougars to a 35-10 record and a NAC regular-season championship.
“I am very excited that the opportunity to further my baseball career has come about,” said Skala, who found out through numerous text messages and phone calls while having lunch with his family and girlfriend. With one year of eligibility remaining for Skala, he is expected to make his decision within the next few days. “Hopefully, everything will work out for the best.”    

Bradley Watson, RHP, Wartburg
St. Loius Cardinals, thirty-seventh round, No. 1130 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.:
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Urbandale, Iowa

Wartburg pitcher Brad Watson will continue his baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. Watson was selected in the recent Major League Baseball draft.

A 37th round pick, Watson is on his way to join the Gulf Coast League Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. "We have a one-week minicamp and then the rookie league season starts," he said. "I have no idea what my role will be yet. I'm just glad to have an opportunity."

Watson concluded his Wartburg career with one of the top single-season pitching efforts in program history. He finished 10-4 with a 2.07 earned run average, five complete games, one shutout and 88 strikeouts. He was named the Iowa Conference's Pitcher of the Year and also earned American Baseball Coaches Association all-Central Region and honorable mention All-American honors.

"I was fortunate to have a coaching staff at Wartburg that believed in me and gave me chances to succeed," he said. "I also feel like my work in the off season has helped me stay healthy throughout my career and given me a chance to do this."

Watson is the first Knights' player to play for a major league baseball organization since former All-American catching standout Matt Thede did so with the then Montreal Expos from 2002-04.

Drew Leachman, LF, Birminghan-Southern
Minnesota Twins, thirty-seventh round, No. 1138 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Mobile, Ala.

Outfielder Drew Leachman, a senior in 2011 at Birmingham-Southern, has been drafted in the 37th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins.

Leachman, who becomes the 59th Panther to be drafted in program history, was a four-year stand-out player for BSC, helping win three straight SCAC East Division titles. This past season, he was named American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) First-Team All-American and All-South Region, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) South Region Player of the Year, and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Player of the Year. He was also voted one of BSC's Male Athletes of the Year.

Leachman hit a SCAC-leading .451 and helped the Panthers to a 30-9 overall record in 2011 and the program's second straight 30-win season. He also ranked in the top-10 in the league in several offensive categories including batting average (.451 - 1st), slugging percentage (.648 - 4th), on-base percentage (.521 - 1st), runs (60 - 1st), hits (73 - 1st), RBI's (44 - 6th), doubles (16 - tied 4th), home runs (four - tied 9th) and total bases (105 - 2nd).

Alex Sunderland, RHP, Claremont-Mudd-Scripts
Seattle Mariners, thirty-eighth round, No. 1143 overall

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Littleton, CO

Alex Sunderland was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 38th round of the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday.  The 6-3 right-handed pitcher was the 1143rd player selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

Sunderland finished his CMS career with a 20-7 record and a 3.94 ERA.  In 233 innings pitched over 52 appearances he struck out 172 and walked 85.  He was selected to the ABCA/Rawlings West Region Gold Glove Team in 2011 after recording a fielding percentage of 1.000 (2 putouts and 25 assists with 0 errors).  In 2010, he was selected First Team All-SCIAC and Third Team ABCA/Rawlings All-West after he went 9-1 with a 3.90 ERA.

Corey Vogt, RHP, Keene State
Boston Red Sox, thirty-ninth round, No. 1192 overall

Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 170
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown: Suffield, Conn.

The Boston Red Sox, picking Corey Vogt in the 39th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. The right-handed pitcher from Suffield, Conn., becomes the first Keene State player to be selected in the draft. "I'm at a loss for words," said Vogt, who was the 1,192 overall player picked in the draft. "This is something I've been working toward my entire career."

Arriving at Keene State as a shortstop and part-time pitcher, Vogt flourished after moving to the Owls' bullpen as a sophomore. "Corey came in as a raw freshman and worked extremely hard," said KSC baseball coach Ken Howe. "He has the God-given gift to throw a baseball fast. Over the years, Corey has been able to increase his velocity and harness his pitches."

Vogt had a breakout junior season at Keene State, posting a 1.05 ERA with five saves while fanning 32 batters in 25.2 innings. Named to the Little East first team, Vogt caught the eye of area scouts last summer, hurling for the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Appearing in 18 games for the SteepleCats, Vogt, who was selected to play in the NECBL All-Star game, put up impressive numbers, allowing just one earned run and striking out 31 batters in his 19 innings on the mound. "There's no question that his experience in the NECBL and pitching against that caliber of hitter really helped him," said Testo, who also coaches the NECBL's Keene Swamp Bats. "He was routinely pitching in front of scouts."

"When I started to hit low 90s with my fast ball, people started paying attention," said Vogt. "I came away with the mindset of what you need to do to play professional baseball."

Vogt had an equally impressive senior year, striking out 30 batters in 22.1 innings on the way to earning All-LEC honors for the second straight season.

Anxious to begin his professional career, Vogt says the Red Sox haven't told him where he will be assigned. "People have told me that they usually start college pitchers at the single-A level. I hope I go to the Lowell Spinners, so I can stay in New England."

Blaine O'Brien, RHP, Keystone
Cleveland, fourty-eighth round, No. 1448 overall

Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 190
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown:Scituate, MA

Blaine O'Brien was Keystone's second player drafted in 2011, the only school with multiple players in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

O'Brien, a native of  Scituate, MA was selected in the 48th round as the 1448th pick by the Cleveland Indians and joined his battery-mate, Brian Henry, selected 12 rounds earlier
O'Brien turned in a mark of 8-2 with a 3.77 earned run average this past season.  He struck out 68 in 74 innings pitched.

Ken Wiser, RHP, Linfield
Texas, fiftieth round, No. 1523 overall

Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 240
Bats: Right. Throws: Right
Hometown:Tigard, Ore.

K.C. Wiser was drafted Wednesday by the Texas Rangers organization in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

At 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, Wiser has the physical size and strength that attract professional scouts. The rugged righthander is considered a long-range prospect after injuries during his four-year career at Linfield limited his total number of innings pitched.

As a senior in 2011, Wiser pitched only 6 2/3 innnings, his first season back in a Wildcats uniform since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009. He walked 10 batters and struck out six.

Still, there is a lot to like about Wiser. He is an outstanding all-around athlete who made a name for himself as one of the top basketball players the past two seasons in the Northwest Conference.

He led the NWC in scoring and rebounding while earning all-conference and all-region honors. He was also named an honorable mention basketball All-American by DIII

Wiser joins 2010 graduate Kelson Brown among former Linfield players who are active in professional baseball. Brown is currently playing his second season of pro baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He is assigned to the Bradenton Marauders at the Class A-Advanced Florida State League.