When Georgetown catcher Erick Fernandez was selected in the 46th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals last year, he decided to postpone his professional aspirations in favor of pursuing his degree in political economy. As luck would have it, the Nationals came calling again Tuesday in the 25th round.
Needless to say, it's been a pretty nice week for the kid.
"It was a real tough grind to graduate, and I did that," Fernandez said. "And then there's being a professional athlete, my dream. It's been an amazing week. I graduated from a great university, and I also got a chance to play pro ball."
Day 2 of the draft saw several local products get the nod. Right-hander Evan Beal of South County Secondary School in Lorton, who learned he had been drafted just a few hours before his team's state playoff game against Nansemond River High, was the first area high school player to hear his name called. After being picked in the eighth round by Kansas City, Beal must now decide whether to maintain his commitment to the University of South Carolina or jump straight to the pros.
"He's certainly got a big decision ahead of him, no question about it," said Mark Luther, his high school coach. "He'll sit down, and we'll see the pros and cons and make a good decision for what's best for him."
South County rejoiced again when one of its former players, left-hander Kyle Hald, was selected in the 18th round by St. Louis. Hald is coming off CAA co-pitcher of the year honors in his senior season at Old Dominion.
The 13th round featured another lefty pitching prospect in rising American University senior Stephen Lumpkins, who was selected by the Kansas City Royals. Like Hald, Lumpkins received conference honors for his play this past season. Unlike Hald, however, he did it playing a different sport. A multisport athlete in high school, Lumpkins went to American - a school without a baseball team — with the intention of dominating on the basketball court. He led the Eagles with 8.2 rebounds per game last season (adding 13.5 points per game) and was named second-team all-conference.
Others with local ties who got the call Tuesday included UAB right-hander Ryan Woolley (Forest Park HS, 13th round, Tigers), James Madison shortstop David Herbek (Battlefield HS, 15th, White Sox), Clemson right-hander Kevin Brady (Gaithersburg HS, 17th, Indians), Maryland lefty Eric Potter (Arundel HS, 19th, Athletics), Ole Miss lefty Matt Crouse (Battlefield HS, 24th, Tigers), Towson right-hander Charlie Cononie (Germantown's Northwest HS, 24th, Rays) and George Washington lefty Bobby Lucas Jr. (27th, Nationals).
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