By the time Jharel Cotton got the phone call Wednesday, it was already a day too late in his mind.
Of course, he wasn't about to hang up and tell the Los Angeles Dodgers to go away.
It's long been his dream to play professional baseball, and he's going to evaluate his options. He just figured the call would've come sooner than the 20th round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
"It felt pretty good to get it off my shoulders," said Cotton, a 5-foot-11, 198-pound right-handed pitcher who graduated from Menchville High and who now plays at East Carolina. "I got tired of waiting, so I was really glad when I got that call.
"I was surprised (to get picked so late), but the draft is a funny thing. You never know what's going to happen."
Cotton was selected with 626th overall pick. He played two seasons at Miami Dade College, a junior college, before heading to ECU, where he compiled an 8-3 record with a 3.65 earned run average this season as a junior. Last year, he was drafted in the 28th round by the New York Mets, and also turned down a free agent contract at the end of the summer with the Dodgers.
In addition to Cotton, Tabb High graduate Adam McConnell, a 6-foot-0, 190-pound infielder at Richmond, was another Peninsula product to get drafted Wednesday. He was taken in the 29th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 903rd overall pick.
While Cotton said he's going to take a week to determine whether he'll turn pro or go back to college, McConnell's mind is made up. After finishing his redshirt junior season at Richmond, and having already graduated, McConnell is headed for pro ball.
"I'm 22 and have school out of the way, and felt like it was time to get playing in a professional system and develop as a player," said McConnell, who was drafted last year in the 30th round by the Dodgers, and who hit .283 with two home runs, 24 RBI and a team-best 12 steals this season at Richmond.
Other players with ties to local high schools, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech or William & Mary that got drafted Wednesday include outfielder Josh Henderson (First Baptist Christian School in Suffolk, 16th round, 506th overall, Los Angeles Dodgers), right-handed pitcher Shane Halley (Virginia, 20th round, 613th overall, Kansas City Royals), left-handed pitcher Joe Mantiply (Tech, 28th round, 878th overall, Philadelphia Phillies), right-handed pitcher Ronnie Shaban (Tech, 33rd round, 1,020th overall, St. Louis Cardinals) and right-handed pitcher Matt Davenport (William & Mary/Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, 34th round, 1,054th overall, Detroit Tigers).
Several draftees that have played or are currently playing for the Peninsula Pilots include Cotton (2010 Pilots), Davenport ('10 Pilots), McConnell ('10 and '12 Pilots), Georgia Tech right-handed pitcher Buck Farmer ('10 Pilots, 15th round, 485th overall, Milwaukee Brewers), Virginia Commonwealth right-handed pitcher Kyle Haynes ('11 Pilots, 20th round, 616th overall, Pittsburgh Pirates), Georgia Tech left-handed pitcher Jake Davies ('09 Pilots, 21st round, 661st overall, Boston Red Sox), Army first baseman Kevin McKague ('10 Pilots, 23rd round, 719th overall, Atlanta Braves), Virginia Military Institute right-handed pitcher Coby Cowgill ('10 Pilots, 23rd round, 726th overall, Texas Rangers) and Kent State shortstop Jimmy Rider ('10 and '11 Pilots, 26th round, 796th overall, Pittsburgh Pirates).
Henderson and Cotton said they may play this summer for the Pilots. Henderson, who was home-schooled in Suffolk, said he has signed with Liberty, but will consider turning pro instead.
"I kind of knew it would be (Wednesday)," said Henderson regarding his draft prospects. "It was just a matter of when. I was watching on the computer and I heard my name called out. And I was like, 'Mom, Dad, I just got picked by the Dodgers!' All my life I've always dreamed of playing a professional sport."Copyright © 2015, CT Now