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Any locals in the 2007 MLB Draft?

    The 2007 Major League Baseball Draft will begin today at around 2 p.m., and the for the first time it will be televised live on ESPN2. Unfortunately, not many players from the Statesboro Herald’s eight coverage teams expect to see their name up on the big board.

    A quick check in with area coaches led to the cold, hard facts that this year will be a dry year in the Herald’s region for the draft.

    Even over at Georgia Southern, where the Eagles have seen names like Everett Teaford, Dustin Evans, Brian Rogers, Dennis Dove, Flint Wipke and Greg Dowling called over the past few drafts, there isn’t expected to be much activity from out of GSU.

    Many think the only Eagle with much of a chance is senior reliever A.J. Battisto. Battisto finished the year with an ERA of 3.00 in 36 appearances with 10 saves. He struck out 49 batters in 51 innings, and showed he’ll take the ball in any situation at any time.

    On the prep scene, the biggest candidate may be Josh Vinings. The senior from Metter posted big numbers at the plate and on the mound this past year for the Tigers, who were eliminated in the first round of the GHSA state playoffs.

    Vinings has signed to play at Young Harris College in the fall, but MHS coach Don Mims says he hasn’t heard anything yet in terms of the draft.

    At Statesboro, don’t expect any Blue Devils to be taken this week. A quick search of prospects in the state of Georgia will give you the names of Zack Taylor and Josh Ware from SHS, but both are underclassmen and are unlikely to go this year. Bishop said next year could see some Devils drafted in later rounds, but 2007 will probably go by quietly.

    Finally at Portal, names like Brandon Mock and Tagg Lanier could be floating around in baseball circles. But like the other schools, there’s no official word on whether or not the phone will ring for either of these Panthers. Lanier will play ball at Middle Georgia College this fall.

    What makes the MLB Draft unlike the rest is the unexpectedness and length of the event. A kid who may not have posted big numbers in college or in high school could be in the Major’s before you know it.

    Macay McBride (Screven County), Dustin McGowan (Long County) and Jonathan Broxton (Burke County) have all been drafted straight out of high school in the past few years and are in big time roles for their respective ball clubs.

    There could be a local diamond in the rough this year. We’ll just have to wait, watch and find out.

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