Friday, June 10, 2005

Ex-PA pitcher drafted by Braves

Coleman, the 2005 All-Commonwealth player of the year, was drafted Wednesday during the second day of the Major League Baseball amateur draft. He was the first high school player from Mississippi selected, going in the 28th round of the 50-round draft to the Atlanta Braves as the 857th overall pick.Coleman got the news Wednesday about 3 p.m. but didn't know he was the first state prep player chosen until last night."I was extremely excited about just getting drafted, and I was surprised to find out I was the first Mississippi high school player taken," said Coleman, who posted a 9-1 record this past season and helped lead the Mustangs to a 19-5 record and the team's first postseason appearance in several years. "It's just really all hard to believe right now."As a 28th-round pick, Coleman isn't expecting a financial offer from the Braves, but his plans for the future may still be in doubt. Coleman, a Meridian Community College signee, and his parents, Hal and Kathy Coleman of Schlater, were invited to LSU last weekend while the Tigers were hosting a NCAA Regional. During that visit, the LSU staff offered Coleman at least a 70 percent scholarship, according to Hal Coleman.On Tuesday, Ole Miss called and invited them to this weekend's Super Regional matchup in Oxford against Texas. Hal Coleman said he expects the Rebels to make his son a scholarship offer.Louis Coleman said all of the sudden attention from SEC powerhouse schools like LSU and Ole Miss is quite flattering, but that he expects to stick with his commitment to Meridian CC. "The Braves, of course, want me to go to Meridian, because if I go to a four-year school, I wouldn't be eligible to be drafted again until I am 21," said Coleman, who turned 19 in April. According to Hal Coleman, the Washington Nationals called during the first day of the draft and said they would draft him in the 12th round if they would accept a $20,000 signing bonus. Hal Coleman said he told the team representative no, believing that wasn't a fair offer for a 12th-round pick."We're 99 percent sure Louis will go to Meridian. That seems like his best, or quickest, shot at playing professional baseball," Hal Coleman said. "We're still a long way from professional baseball, but we're still in good position for the future. Our whole family is really thrilled about it." Coleman, a second-team all-state selection by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper, had an incredible 0.51 ERA during his senior season. He had four complete-game shutouts and one no-hitter.Coleman faced 268 batters in 682/3 innings, allowing 11 runs, just five earned, while striking out 114 and walking just 16. Opponents batted just .152 against the hard-throwing right-hander.Coleman was also the team's top hitter, batting .414 for the season as the clean-up hitter and .417 with runners in scoring position. He also led the Mustangs in home runs (three), doubles (12), slugging percentage (.714), RBIs (25) and on base percentage (.558). He was second in runs scored with 25.Coleman was one of 18 Mississippians taken on the second day of the draft, pushing the two-day total for the Magnolia State to 28. Other Mississippi high school players chosen were: Hillcrest Christian's Cody Satterwhite, an Ole Miss signee and first-team all-state pick; Northwest Rankin's Tyler Moore, The Clarion Ledger's Mr. Baseball; and West Lauderdale's David Woods.Matthew Rozier of Carrollton, who went 8-2 this season as a starter for Meridian CC, went undrafted after being selected in the 42nd round of last year's draft by the Chicago White Sox. His father, Ronnie Rozier, said this morning that his son has committed to Ole Miss and will sign a scholarship offer with the Rebels soon.