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June 6, 2012

Berrien's Drew Harrelson drafted by Padres

Left-hander was the Region 1-AA Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and 2012

NASHVILLE — On Tuesday night, Drew Harrelson got a call he will never forget.

That call came from a scout from the San Diego Padres, who told Harrelson that the Padres had drafted him in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

“He called me (Tuesday) and was like, ‘Are you ready to be a Padre?’ I told him, ‘Yes sir, I definitely am,’” said Harrelson, a pitcher from Berrien High School.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” he added. “I’m just overwhelmed right now. I’m kind of at a loss for words.”

Today is Harrelson’s 18th birthday. He said that getting drafted by the Padres will make his birthday even more special.

“It’s a real good birthday present to me,” he admitted.

Harrelson is a 6-foot-6, 180-pound left-handed pitcher with a fastball that has been consistently clocked between 87-89 mph. When he worked out for the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this year, he reached 93 mph on the radar gun three times.

Last season, he went 9-1 with a 2.49 earned run average for Berrien. He set the Rebels’ single-season record with 109 strikeouts, while facing just 307 batters. He was chosen the Region 1-AA Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season. He also helped the Rebels win the Region 1-AA championship.

“We’re very proud of Drew,” Berrien head coach Doug Nix said. “Any time you get a kid drafted, that’s a great honor. As a young boy growing up and playing, that’s always your dream. Every kid has that dream of one day playing Major League Baseball. To be drafted out of high school, it’s just a great honor and a dream come true, one that I’m sure he’s worked towards all his life.”

The Padres, the Phillies and the Miami Marlins had all shown interest in Harrelson, but it was the Padres who ultimately selected him.

“We were kind of looking forward to (getting drafted). We were just waiting to see which round I would go in,” he said. “The Padres have been keeping in touch with me for 2-3 months. I went down to a tryout for them three or four weekends ago, up in Atlanta, and (their scout) told me, ‘You really impressed my bosses and everything,’ and said, ‘We’re going to try to get you this year.’”

Harrelson will now have to decide whether to sign with the Padres or go to college. Before the 2012 season, he signed a letter of intent to play for Middle Georgia College next year. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to sign, but says he will seriously consider the Padres’ offer.

“(My family and I) will talk it over, and we’ll decide something,” he said.

Harrelson said he owes a big thank you to two family members.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my Papa and my Uncle Rusty,” he said. “(They’ve) been there every step of the way.”

This is the second year in a row that Berrien has had a player drafted. Last year, outfielder Larry Greene was drafted in the first round by the Phillies.

“I think we’re really putting Berrien on the map,” Harrelson said.

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