Kelson Brown had his dream came true last summer when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.
This year, the former Spartan has been working on taking his dream to the next level.
"Being drafted is the first step," said Brown, a 2006 La Cañada High graduate. "I want to be a professional baseball player, and I still have a lot to prove and a lot to get better at. I think I've been given a good situation at Pittsburgh."
Once he graduated from La Cañada, Brown played baseball for Linfield College, a NCAA Division III school in McMinnville, Ore., with New York Yankee-legend Scott Brosius as his coach. He helped Linfield attain a third-place finish in the NCAA Division III Championships and notch a school-record 37 wins. He also set individual school records in hits (89), doubles (27), runs batted in (72) and total bases (147) in his senior season.
After being selected as the 1,017 overall pick in the 34th round of the draft, Brown spent 2010 playing for the Short-Season A-Ball for the State College Spikes of Pennsylvania, one of the Pirates' minor-league affiliates.
Brown was named an honorable-mention selection for the Pirates' minor-league all-star team in December. He finished 2010 with a .293 batting average (66 for 225), .373 slugging percentage and .348 on-base average. He drove in 26 runs, scored 34 runs, bashed 12 doubles, three triples and struck out only 31 times in 62 games.
After an impressive debut season, Brown was promoted to the Pirates' Class A-advanced minor-league affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders this season
So far, the 23-year old's numbers have dipped. He's hitting .256 (33 for 128) in 45 games. He's posting a .305 one-base average and .302 slugging percentage after scoring 16 runs, driving in 11 and knocking two doubles in 45 games into the season.
Brown has been impressive of late, though. In the past 10 games, he's hitting .321 (nine for 28) — scoring six runs and driving in four with a .375 on-base average and a .321 slugging percentage.
The former All-Rio Hondo League player at La Cañada and All-American and conference player of the year at Linfield has bounced all over the diamond for the Marauders. He's listed as a third baseman on the team's website, spending the majority of his time (50 games) at the hot corner, but has also spent time at second, shortstop, first base, designated hitter and in the outfield the past two seasons.
Bradenton is currently 40-49, nine games behind the first-place St. Lucie Mets (48-39) in the Florida State League South Division. No matter how the season turns out, Brown has already etched himself into Marauders' history by initiating the first triple play in the organization's existence.
The play came on June 8, in a 4-3 loss to the Jupiter Hammerheads. Brown, who was playing second base, snagged a hard-line drive with the bases loaded, stepped on second to double off the runner and threw to first to catch a runner who strayed too far from the base for a triple play.