Originally Published: June 11, 2016 5:55 a.m.
OXNARD, Calif. — Work hard enough, and dreams do come true.
Possessing a lightning-rod for a left arm with a low-90s fastball and devastating changeup certainly helps one’s draft stock.
And striking out 15 batters in a complete game win to lead your team to its first national title in 23 years during junior college baseball’s biggest stage doesn’t hurt, either.
On Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies selected Yavapai College left-handed pitcher JoJo Romero with the 107th pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft.
With that selection, Romero becomes the highest draft pick to come out of Roughrider Park in 30 years.
Former Yavapai alum Curt Schilling, a six-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 39th overall pick in the second round of the 1986 draft.
Last summer, Yavapai standout Willie Calhoun was taken with the 132nd pick in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Oxnard, California, wrote on his Twitter page after being selected that “no words can describe the feeling of hearing your name called.”
After he had time to process his selection, which could earn him up to $557,600 in signing bonus cash, Romero said being drafted is an “amazing feeling.”
“I am blessed to have been given this opportunity by the Phillies organization,” Romero said surrounded by family and friends at his home in Oxnard. “It’s been a crazy ride with and this whole year has been a blessing at Yavapai.”
Romero posted an 11-5 record with a 3.64 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 113-1/3 innings pitched for the Roughriders this season, placing him at No. 124 on MLB.com’s Top 200 Prospect list.
He was a perfect 3-0 in Grand Junction, Colorado, last week to help the Roughriders claim the program’s fourth national title, and first since 1993.
Romero, who also has a scholarship offer to play baseball for the University of Arizona, said he will sit down with those around him and “make the best decision for me.”
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsWriter52 or reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.
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