RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Dylan Shockley’s life-long dream of becoming a professional baseball player turned into reality on Wednesday afternoon.
The University of Rio Grande standout was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 34th round of Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft.
“I couldn’t tell you how glad I am for this moment to happen,” said Shockley, after getting his long-awaited phone call. “I’ve worked my whole life for this. I’m happy to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.”
Shockley, a native of Minford, Ohio, was named the River States Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after leading the RedStorm to a 39-21 record, a conference tournament championship and an NAIA National Tournament berth.
On Tuesday, he was named to the NAIA All-American Second Team after earning First Team honors last season.
Shockley is just the third draft pick in Rio’s program history and its first in 24 years.
Jeff Wayland was the school’s first draftee when he was taken in the 30th round by the Pirates in 1984. David Robinson was selected in the 39th round of the 1995 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Today was a great day for Dylan Shockley, for Rio Grande baseball and for the University,” said Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont. “He’s a great catch and throw guy. Once he gets acclimated to the pro game, I think he’ll take off. It’s a great opportunity for Dylan and we’re all proud of him.”
Shockley batted .373 with five home runs and 46 runs batted in. He also had 23 doubles, five triples, 43 walks, a .594 slugging percentage and a .495 on-base percentage.
He led the RSC in batting average, doubles, triples and on-base percentage, while ranking second in total hits (81) and sixth in slugging percentage.
Shockley also made 15 appearances in relief as a pitcher, posting a 5-0 record with a league-leading six saves and a 2.21 earned run average. He struck out 25 batters in 20-1/3 innings of work on the mound.
Over the course of his three seasons with RedStorm, Shockley batted .363 with 58 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs and 120 RBIs. He finished with a .564 slugging percentage and a .479 on-base percentage.
As a pitcher, Shockley posted a career mark of 7-1 with nine saves and a 2.35 ERA. In 21 appearances covering 30-2/3 innings, he allowed 28 hits and 11 walks while striking out 44.
“We’re so proud of Dylan’s accomplishments,” said Warnimont. “He’s always going to be a huge part of our Rio Grande family. We wish him the best of luck.”
Shockley, who had just begun his second season with the Chillicothe Paints of the Prospect League – a summer league for collegiate players – is expected to learn his assignment from the Pirates on Thursday.
Shockley’s most likely destination will be with the Bristol Pirates of the Appalachian League or the Gulf Coast League Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.