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Mon, Dec. 16

Draft calls on ASU; VanDerBosch to Boston

Arizona State University star shortstop Dustin Pedroia represented the first in-state amateur athlete chosen in Major League Baseball's 2004 First-Year Player Draft Monday, selected by the Boston Red Sox in the second round.

The draft's 65th overall pick, the 20-year-old Pedroia is a 5-foot-9, 180-pound right-handed junior slugger and defensive gem whom Sports Weekly recently named to its All-America team for the second straight season this year.

ASU, which had four of its players chosen Monday, has now had 328 all-time draft selections since the start of the amateur draft in 1965. Pedroia's selection in the second round marks the third time in the past four years the Sun Devils have had a pick in that round.

Locally, former Yavapai College Roughrider Matt VanDerBosch also became property of the Red Sox Monday, taken in the ninth round.

The center fielder who played for head coach Sky Smeltzer from 2000-02 recently capped a huge season at Oral Roberts University.

VanDerBosch, a 22-year-old native of Hastings, Minn., led the Golden Eagles this spring in batting average (.386), games played (60), hits (91), runs (75), triples (7), total bases (127), bases on balls (53) and stolen bases (44).

Oral Roberts, ranked No. 13 in the nation, lost just this past Sunday to No. 2 Texas in the NCAA Austin Regional Final. VanDerBosch was named to the Austin NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.

He batted .335 with 31 stolen bases in 35 attempts his sophomore season at Yavapai.

In other draft day action of local interest, infielder Milton Loo, 18, who has signed to play at Yavapai College as an incoming freshman this fall, was a 17th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds.

Left-handed pitcher Drew Coffey, 19, of Cottonwood's Mingus Union High School was the final first-day pick of the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round.

This season Pedroia, a native of Woodland, Calif., became just the fourth player in ASU baseball history to garner first-team all-Pac-10 accolades for three consecutive years. In 2004 he hit .393 (96-for-244) with a conference-leading 24 doubles, 9 home runs and 49 RBIs. He never missed a start in his Sun Devil career, which included 182 games.

Pedroia was not drafted out of high school.

"It has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid to play professional baseball and now that is a dream come true," Pedroia said in a press release. "My parents have always been there at all my games and supported me throughout my baseball career and I couldn't have done any of this without them. My friends and family are all a big part of this as they all believed in a small shortstop from Woodland."

The Diamondbacks chose 21-year-old University of Arizona right-handed pitcher Koley Kolberg in the seventh round with the 206th pick. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder posted an 8-6 record and a 4.60 E.R.A. in 20 appearances on the hill for the Wildcats.

U of A won the South Bend Regional with a 7-6 victory over Notre Dame Sunday and will advance to the Super Regionals for the first time in program history with the chance to move on to the College World Series later this month in Omaha, Neb.

The Phillies selected Wildcats shortstop John Hardy (6-foot-1, 180) in the seventh round with the 212th pick.

Two more Sun Devils were snatched in the 11th round, including junior pitcher Jason Urquidez (6-1, 165; 318th pick by the Reds) and Central Arizona transfer second baseman Josh Asanovich (315th selection by the Devil Rays).

Urquidez, ASU's Pitcher of the Year from Simi Valley, Calif., led the Pac-10 in wins and went 12-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 97 2/ 3 innings pitched.

With their 12th round pick, the D'backs chose Arizona catcher Richard Mercado (6-foot, 220), a .329 hitter in 2004 who scored 26 runs and tallied 24 RBIs and 51 hits, including six doubles.

In the 13th round, the Dodgers decided to go with Arizona State left fielder Jeffrey Larish (6-2, 180) as the 388th pick. Larish, who is considered a top prospect in the MLB Draft, was one of the most feared offensive threats in college baseball this season after hitting .308 (73-for-237) with 7 HRs, 17 doubles and 49 RBIs.

As for other notable statewide selections, the Reds chose Grand Canyon University center fielder Travis Kaats (6-1, 205) in the 16th round while the Royals.

The 2004 MLB amateur draft concludes today with the remaining rounds.

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