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GSU's Beckham: 'A dream come true'
Braves take Shehan in 30th, Nation to Mariners
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             Jeremy Beckham can’t remember a time more exciting than the last 48 hours.

            The Georgia Southern second baseman has thoroughly enjoyed the hoopla surrounding his younger brother Tim, who was the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft Thursday. Life got even sweeter Friday afternoon when the Tampa Bay Rays – the same team who drafted Tim – selected Jeremy in the 17th round.

            “The last couple of days have been the best days of my life,” Jeremy said from his home in Griffin Friday. “This is absolutely wonderful – a little crazy, but great. There’s been a lot going on.”

            Jeremy, who batted .333 with a team-high 24 stolen bases as a senior this season, didn’t expect to get selected by the Rays, although it was always in the back of his mind as a possibility. He knew something was up early Friday afternoon when he began receiving congratulatory text messages from friends and family. A few moments later, Jeremy got the call from the Rays.

            “Whenever a team drafts you, it’s a blessing in itself – it’s definitely special,” he said. “For me and my brother to go to the same organization is a dream come true.”

            Seeing Tim earn the prestigious honor of the first overall pick was especially meaningful for Jeremy and his father, who encouraged Tim to return to the sport after taking a three-year break to play basketball. Jeremy knew he had Tim convinced when he saw the excitement is his younger brother’s eyes following a solid outing by Jeremy in a summer game against Team Canada in Atlanta.

            “I was talking to him after the game and (his) passion came back,” Jeremy said. “I knew his ability was there and that he was so much further ahead than his competition. I just had to bring it to his attention.”

            Jeremy plans to spend the next few days on the baseball field, working to stay in shape while he awaits his assignment.

            “He’s a great player and an even better person – you always pull for guys like that,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “He worked hard all four years in our program. He certainly got a little better every year and had his best season this year.”

            Hennon praised Beckham’s range and quickness and said a key to his continued success will be his ability to adjust to wooden bats.


Shehan to Braves, Nation to Mariners

            Surprisingly, if not shocking, GSU star Chris Shehan wasn’t drafted until the 30th round when the Atlanta Braves took him as the 910th overall pick Friday. The junior outfielder led the nation with a school-record 84 runs scored, ranked second in runs per game (1.45) and tied for fifth with 98 hits. Shehan finished the season with a .438 batting average, which tied for second-highest in the country and fourth-best in the Eagle record books.

            Junior Blake Nation, a right-handed reliever, was selected in the 22nd round by the Seattle Mariners.

            It’ll be up to both Shehan and Nation whether or not they sign with their respective teams or return to Georgia Southern for their senior seasons.


            Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.