Winthrop had two pitchers taken in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, which is taking place this week.
Junior Zach Peek went to the Los Angeles Angels with the 181st pick in the sixth round, and senior Nate Pawelczyk was snapped up by the Chicago White Sox in the 10th round at pick No. 290.
“It just doesn’t happen too often,” for a school the size of Winthrop, said Eagles coach Tom Riginos. “It’s a testament to their work ethic and what they did while they were here.”
Neither pitcher was drafted out of high school. Riginos said that the Eagles have had 14 players sign pro contracts during his time at Winthrop, none of whom were selected by an MLB team their senior year of high school.
Pawelczyk is graduated and will join up with a White Sox farm team soon, but it’s not clear if Peek will leave Winthrop to turn pro yet. Riginos said that Peek is in negotiations with the Angels, but there is no news yet on that front.
Peek’s physique and arm were appealing to MLB scouts. He routinely hit 94, 95 miles per hour with his fastball and Riginos said the Virginia native improved his changeup this season. Peek projects as a starting pitcher in pro baseball.
Peek was 7-3 this past season, with a 4.02 ERA. He led the Big South Conference in strikeouts (91), with seven games of eight or more strikeouts.
Pawelczyk was a weekend starter for the Eagles, but will likely move to the bullpen in pro ball. He’s got a nasty slider and cutter that he uses to get batters out, and routinely threw in the 92 to 94-mile per hour range this season, a big jump from years past.
The Florida native produced nine pitching wins and a 3.90 ERA, earning Big South All-Conference recognition for the third straight season.
Pawelczyk’s demeanor and attitude impressed MLB scouts, and add to the belief that he’ll make a good relief pitcher at the next level.
Hart headed to the Nationals
Former Northwestern Trojan baseball (and football) standout Dupree Hart was nabbed by the Washington Nationals in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday.
Hart was the Colonial Athletic Association’s defensive player of the year last season. He made the CAA All-Rookie team in 2016 and made the All-Conference team each of the last two seasons. Hart hit .305 with 44 RBI this past season.
He also had an outstanding career at Northwestern, earning Mr. Baseball honors in 2015.
Rock Hill has a new cross country coach
Roma Stutts is the new girls and boys’ cross country coach at Rock Hill High.
Stutts coached track and field at Sullivan Middle School for seven years, mainly focusing on distance runners. She taught in Honduras for a year before returning to teach Spanish at Rock Hill High. She worked with the Bearcat track team each of the last two springs, and replaces Dan Johnston, who stepped aside to pursue other job interests.
There will be a meeting Monday to meet the coach and discuss summer workouts at 6 p.m. in the school’s media center. All athletes from grades 7 to 12 that are interested in running cross country next year and are zoned for Rock Hill High are encouraged to attend.
Another award for former Bearcat baseball player
Charleston Southern’s R.J. Petit was named first team All-Big South after an excellent first spring of college baseball, and he scooped another honor on Wednesday. The 6-foot-9 freshman relief pitcher from Rock Hill High was named to the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American team.
Petit is the first freshman All-American in Charleston Southern baseball history.
He struck out 50 batters in 40.1 innings, producing a 2.45 ERA, a 4-0 record and five saves. He pitched 23 straight scoreless innings during one stretch of the season.