LOWELL, MA (June 4, 2002) - David Williamson, a senior from Manchester, NH (Manchester West H.S.), and Matt Tupman, a junior from Concord, NH (Concord H.S.), were each selected in the 2002 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft Tuesday afternoon.
Williamson, a 6-foot, 190-pound left-handed pitcher, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the last pick of the seventh round (222 overall) while Tupman, a 6-0, 185-pound catcher was chosen by the Kansas
City Royals in the ninth round (258 overall).
Williamson, the River Hawks' No. 1 starter this season, posted a 7-5 record with an ERA of 3.12. Along the way, he shattered the UML record for strikeouts in a single season (formerly 88) with 107, and posted six
complete games, including a 7-2 victory over Florida Southern in the Division II College World Series last week.
MLB scouts were regulars at LeLacheur Park the past two seasons and, said Head Coach Jim Stone, were impressed by Williamson's speed and control.
"They compare him to a Tom Glavine-like pitcher," said Stone, in his 36th season, who listed Williamson among the best he has ever coached. "David is a lefty who throws 90-plus miles per hour. He is a very good
athlete and one of the best pitchers we've ever had here. The scouts were saying all season he would go in the first 10 rounds." Williamson, who transferred prior to his junior year from UMass Amherst after pitching merely five innings in two years, was also a standout centerfielder when not on the mound. He batted .365 with 37 runs, 35 RBI, 12 doubles and five home runs. Williamson, who was listening to the draft conference call on the internet at his home in Manchester, said he felt excitement and relief upon hearing his selection.
"It was a long couple of hours, but very exciting," he said. "I have been working for this for so long. It's a load off my back. "A couple of teams had told me that they had hoped to pick me and St. Louis told me they were going to select me in the middle rounds of the first day. It's a pretty amazing feeling. I am real, real happy that I went today. (St. Louis) called to say congratulations."
Williamson could be back in Lowell as a visitor sometime soon. The Cardinals have a farm team - the New Jersey Cardinals - which is a member of the New York-Penn League.
Tupman, who will likely forego his senior year, emerged among the top catchers in the country this season as he earned second team all-American honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as well as first team All-Northeast-10 Conference and All-Northeast Region status. At the Division II World Series, Tupman emerged among the Tournament's best players as he earned a spot on the all-tournament team. In UML's four games, he batted .389 (7 for 18) with seven RBI and two home runs as UML lost in the semifinal.
For the season, Tupman hit .363 with 73 runs, 50 RBI, 18 doubles and eight home runs. He also displayed a keen eye in drawing 29 walks and kept runners close to base with an uncanny snap throw.
"Matt is a left-handed batter with who throws as well as any catcher in the country," Stone said. "He had a phenomenal World Series. He works awfully hard and his uniform is always dirty. He has been working for this day from last September and beyond."
Tupman, choosing not to listen to the draft on internet, simply chose to stay at home with friends and wait for the phone call. "It doesn't seem real right now, but it's a really good feeling," he said. "I thought I had a shot (at being drafted) if I did well this year. Since the team did very well, you get more exposure and as the team excelled, I think I excelled."
Tupman said he will decide whether to return to UML or bypass his senior year once an offer is made by Kansas City. He is slated to play for the Orleans Cardinals in the renowned Cape Cod League this summer.
Coach Stone can be reached by calling 978.934.2344 or email Athletics@uml.edu