Kent State baseball player Jim Rider said in an interview yesterday that he hoped his baseball career wouldn't end after the NCAA tournament. Little did he know he would have a future in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
The Pirates today selected Rider, a second baseman-shortstop, in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball draft. Rider is a former star at Peters Township High School in the WPIAL and has helped Kent State become the first Mid-American Conference team to make the NCAA Super Regionals. Kent State plays the University of Oregon in a three-game series this weekend, with a berth to the College World Series at stake.
"I couldn't ask for anything better than being drafted by the hometown team," Rider said. "It's just a dream come true."I did a story on Rider in today's Post-Gazette.
Meanwhile, the Pirates selected another former WPIAL player in the 21st round - Penn State first baseman Jordan Steranka, who is a graduate of Mt. Lebanon. Steranka had a big senior season at Penn State. He was second in the Big Ten Conference in batting average (.363), first in slugging percentage (.615), first in doubles (20) and third in home runs (11). He was a first-team all-Big Ten selection.
Through 24 rounds, only one high school player from Pennsylvania was selected - Joe DeCarlo of Garnet Valley High School in eastern Pa.
The draft is 40 rounds this year. Check back later for updates.