JUCO stars continue to get drafted, earn honors

Two junior college sophomore pitchers had a memorable day Wednesday without stepping foot on a baseball field.

Navarro (Texas) College pitcher Tyler Mapes and Grayson County (Texas) College pitcher Steven Okert were drafted by a Major League Baseball team and were selected to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-America team.

The pitchers, who played last week in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, were among 12 players in the tournament that were drafted the past three days. Four of those players made the All-America team and seven World Series players made the All-America team.

The All-America team includes Central Arizona College sophomore outfielder Keenyn Walker and Jefferson (Mo.) College freshman outfielder Tyler Hibbert on the first team. Walker was third in the nation with 65 stolen bases. Hibbert hit .432 with 11 doubles, 11 triples and 23 RBI in 58 games entering the World Series.

Grayson County sophomore catcher Abel Baker, who was selected in the seventh round of the draft on Tuesday, made the NJCAA All-America second team. He hit .625 with two home runs and two RBI in two games in the World Series. He hit .368 with 16 doubles, seven home runs and 63 RBI during the season.

Grayson County’s Travis Brewster, a freshman outfielder, made the third team with Mapes.

Okert and Potomac State (W.Va.) College freshman third baseman Nate Antone were honorable mention picks.

Mapes was selected in the 49th round by the New York Yankees and Okert was picked up in the 33rd round by Milwaukee.

Central Arizona pitcher Zach Dando of Aurora was picked in the 32nd round by the Houston Astros. Battery teammates Travis Lane was taken in the 41st round by Kansas City and Max Rossiter was picked by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 46th round.

Iowa Western Community College third baseman Damek Tomscha went in the 36th round to the Florida Marlins. Navarro pitcher Clinton Wilson, who made one brief relief appearance in the World Series, was picked in the 43rd round by Milwaukee.

The Atlanta Braves selected Jefferson College pitcher Dane Gronewald in the 47th round.


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