BASEBALL | FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT
There are best-case scenarios and then there are situations like the one John Ely found himself in on Thursday.
The Homewood-Flossmoor grad and Miami (Ohio) University junior pitcher was hoping to get picked in the first five rounds of baseball's First-Year Player Draft.
Well, he did -- going in the third round to the team he's been rooting for his whole life. The hard-throwing right-hander went 119th overall to the White Sox.
"I did a back flip in my living room," Ely said in the midst of a celebration with family and friends later Thursday. "I'm the biggest Sox fan you ever met."
After three successful seasons at Miami, Ely was leaning toward going pro no matter who drafted him or when.
"It didn't really matter where I went," Ely said. "At the same time, it's great to go in a high round."
And to be the third overall pick of the Sox? Well, it doesn't get much better than this. Ely plans to talk contract with the Sox soon so he can go off and start his pro career.
"Honest to God, I'm on cloud nine," he said. "I feel like I'm a thousand feet tall. It's a scenario that nobody could have drawn up."
Ely was 8-3 with a 2.89 ERA for Miami this spring, leading the RedHawks in ERA, opponents batting average (.250), winning percentage (.727), victories, innings pitched (102 2/3) and strikeouts (96).
The draft resumes today at 10:30 a.m. with Round 6. It will continue through 50 rounds or till all teams have passed, whichever comes first. Several other local players, including Chesterton pitcher Sean Green, are hoping to get the call today.