Two area players, Oneonta High graduate Mike Konstanty and Cooperstown senior Philip Pohl, were selected on the second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
The Cincinnati Reds picked Konstanty in the 39th round. Pohl went to the Tampa Bay Rays five rounds later.
"I just heard it listening to mlb.com," Konstanty said. "It was shocking. I was not expecting it and I'm very excited."
The 1,169th overall pick, Konstanty recently completed his senior season at the University of Albany. Konstanty hit a school-record 13 home runs this past season and drove in a team-high 47 runs to go with a team-best 18 doubles.
Konstanty, who saw limited action in two seasons at Winthrop before transferring to Albany for his junior year, said playing every day the past two seasons helped increase his draft stock.
"It was very important," he said. "In order to get drafted, you have to play. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get in the lineup everyday and I was able to get comfortable and play well."
Konstanty, 22, became the seventh OHS player drafted during Joe Hughes' 23 years as the Yellowjackets coach. He follows in the footsteps of Clay Bellinger, Ron Thomas, Tim Christman, Craig Hurba and brothers Mike and Jon Connolly.
Jon Connolly, who pitches for the Erie Seawolves in the Double-A Eastern League, was the most recent OHS player drafted. The Detroit Tigers selected the left-handed pitcher in the 28th round of the 2001 draft.
Mike Connolly, now playing professionally in Taiwan, was taken in the 19th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000.
"We're proud of it and we're proud of the things we try to do," Hughes said of his program's penchant for producing pros. "No system or coach is perfect, but we try the best we can. We've been lucky to have kids who've done well in our system and taken their God-given abilities to the next level.
"We're proud of that accomplishment but more proud of the athletes and kids," he continued.
Konstanty said the Reds contacted him by phone shortly after his selection.
"They said they'd get in touch with me today or tomorrow, and early next week I'd leave for camp (in Sarasota, Fla.)," said Konstanty, adding he didn't know which position the Reds wanted him to play. He said outfield, third base and first base were among the possibilities.
"He's certainly one of the better ones to come through Oneonta High and what impressed you was his work ethic and his power to all fields," Hughes said of Konstanty, who said he plans on graduating from Albany in the fall semester with a degree in business. "He's not just a pull-hitter who'll hit one out once in a while. He has great power to right-center and left-center and that was his strength."
Pohl, who'll graduate from Cooperstown in about two weeks, said earlier this week that unless he was drafted in the top three rounds, he was heading to Clemson University to play baseball.
"I was pretty excited to get that phone call," said Pohl, a strong-armed catcher who led Cooperstown to a Section Three Class C title last season and helped the Redskins to a 18-5 record this spring. "The guy I talked to was a scout from the area who I worked with last fall and this spring and he knew where I stood. He congratulated me on being drafted and said he felt I deserved to be drafted. He sent me his best and said I'll see you in three years. It's a real nice gesture."
The reigning Daily Star Player of the Year, Pohl was the 1,313th overall pick. Pohl also earned the Class C state Player of the Year honor last season and recently was named the 2008 New York state Player of the Year by Gatorade.
Pohl, speaking on his cell phone from Washington, D.C., where he was on senior class trip, said he'll leave for Clemson on Aug. 13. Classes start two days later, and baseball practice begins Aug. 23.
"And then it picks up," he said. "I'm excited to meet all the guys and start playing some ball."
Edmeston graduate Sam Ackerman, who recently completed his senior season at Oneonta State, did not get drafted. The right-handed pitcher attended a workout recently in New Jersey and said he threw between 92-95 mph on the radar gun. The Reds and Astros were among the teams that expressed interest following the workout, Ackerman said earlier this week.
It's possible Ackerman could still be invited to a professional camp.
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.