Monday, June 15, 2009

Vol State Baseball Players Go Major League

This is from our friends at the Gallatin News Examiner:

Vol State's Garton, Cooney selected in MLB draft

By Craig Harris
The News Examiner

Josh Garton expected to be selected in this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.Chase Cooney did not.However, both Volunteer State Community College baseball players will soon be making their way into the professional baseball ranks as they were selected on Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled,” said Garton. “I was really speechless. “It didn’t matter to me who (selected me).”Cooney added, “It was the biggest surprise ever. I was watching it, and they called my name. The only thing I did was put my head down and say, ‘thank you God.’”

The duo helped the Pioneers to the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association/Region VII Tournament championship after a sixth-place finish during the regular season. Vol State fell to Middle Georgia in the East Central District Playoff, falling short of the Junior College World Series.Garton – a rightfielder – concluded his sophomore campaign with a .398 batting average, 10 doubles and 21 home runs. He was a first team all-conference selection who first began receiving attention prior to the 2008 MLB draft.

“Last year, I didn’t even watch the draft,” noted Garton. “I had attention but it was late. It would have been a real big surprise. “This year, I had all that attention. I figured one team would nab me in those 50 rounds.”Garton was a 12th-round selection by the Cincinnati Reds.“I thought I was going to go a little bit later,” explained Garton, who is a Guelth, Ont. native. “My advisor (from True Gravity Sports and Entertainment Consulting, Inc., which is a Canadian-based company specializing in Athlete Representation, Event Management and Strategic Consulting) called me in the 10th round. He said expect a call from Cincinnati in the 12th round, so he blew the surprise for me.”Garton went through pre-draft workouts for eight different professional organizations – the Reds, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins – but one team that he didn’t work out for, the Cleveland Indians, showed the most interest.“All that attention started in the fall showcases,” noted Garton. “That’s when I started getting the packages and phone calls. Cleveland, their scout was all over me and wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought Cleveland was going to take me, but any team was fine with me. “I’ve heard my personality and my work ethic on and off the field (is what stood out). I’m just going by what they said. I wouldn’t say I was always in the gym or in the cage, but that’s the most important thing to me, your work ethic off the field.”

Garton has signed with Florida International University but plans forego his opportunity to continue his college career and sign with the Reds. Cooney and Garton become the fourth and fifth Pioneers to get drafted during Crossland’s coaching tenure at VSCC – in addition to Stevie Delabar (a right-handed pitcher who was a 43rd-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2002), Chad Etheridge (an outfielder who was a 45th-round selection by the San Diego Padres in 2002) and Bubba Pfister (a shortstop who was picked by the Detroit Tigers in 2000).

“Going to Vol State was a lot better idea than going to a four-year school for sure,” emphasized the 21-year-old Garton. “Coach (Mike) Crossland has been through it all. He helped me out a lot. The guy knows his stuff.”

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College

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