Pitcher Becomes 8th River Hawk Ever Selected in MLB Draft
By Sean Hladick
Following a record-setting season, junior Jack Leathersich
of Beverly was selected with the 162nd overall pick in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets on June 7.
Watching the draft with family and friends, Leathersich became the highest selection in program history, edging David Williamson (2001-02) who was taken in the sixth round by St. Louis in 2002. In all, he became the eighth UMass Lowell player in program history to be drafted and the first since Aaron Easton in 2004.
“I can’t put the feeling into words,” said Leathersich of being drafted. “I want to thank Coach (Ken) Harring, the staff, my family, friends and teammates.”
A 6-foot, 205-pound left-handed pitcher, he went 6-2 this season with a 1.62 earned run average.
One for the Record Books
Leathersich limited hitters to a paltry .175 batting average against while ranking second in NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (12.74).
Over the course of the season, the junior broke three program records: single season strikeouts (126), strikeouts per nine innings (12.74) and most times striking out 10 or more in a season (7). He also moved into a tie for third all-time with Steve Palazzolo (2001-04) for career strikeouts (251) and ranks fifth in program history with a 2.50 career ERA.
Leathersich could be back in Lowell as a visitor in the future. The Mets affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones, are a member of the New York-Penn League with the Lowell Spinners. They play in LeLacheur Park at the end of August.
MLB scouts populated the stands during Leathersich’s starts this season, charting the impressive speed and movement of his pitches.
Ready for 'Big Stage'
“It was strange to watch a kid you worked with to get picked, sitting on the edge of your seat with every selection,” said River Hawk Head Coach Ken Harring.
“The Mets got a player that won’t be scared by the big stage; he’s going to thrive in that kind of environment. New York is an organization he can develop in and if he works his tail off and pitches the way I know he can, I think he can get to the big leagues in a few years.”
Leathersich, who will likely forego his senior year, will attempt to become the third player in UMass Lowell history to reach the majors. Former Gold Glove winner Mike LaValliere (1979-81) played for four teams over 12 seasons from 1984-95 and Matt Tupman (2001-02) reached the majors with the Kansas City Royals in 2008.