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Greyhound alum Hayes to wear ‘Red’ in pro ranks

Greyhound alum Hayes to wear ‘Red’ in pro ranks
Greyhound alum Hayes to wear ‘Red’ in pro ranks

Drew Hayes pitches during the 2010 college baseball season. Photo credit: Vanderbilt Sports Information.
Former Union City Greyhound pitcher and McKenzie product Drew Hayes has put his professional baseball plans on hold for a few more days, but at least he knows his professional suitor.
The Vanderbilt hurler with countless local ties was selected in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on Tuesday afternoon by the Cincinnati Reds.
However, Hayes is a busy man right now, preparing with his teammates for their NCAA College Baseball Tournament Super Regional series with Florida State that begins on Friday at 11 a.m. in Tallahassee.
Thus, the Cincinnati organization did not put any pressure on Hayes to sign quickly.
Instead, the Reds told Hayes, who stands 6-foot tall and throws from the right side, to finish what he’s started at the college level.
“The Reds told me to focus on completing this season when they called to tell me they were going to pick me,” Hayes said. “I don’t think that putting my being picked and where I’ll be going in the back of my mind is going to be hard to do. I’ve been a part of a team atmosphere all year and we’re coming off a big team win (3-2 over Louisville in 10 innings on Sunday.)
“So, while the personal accolades today are great, I’m looking forward to getting down to Tallahassee to play on Friday.”
It is the third time that Hayes has been picked in the MLB draft.
Hayes was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 22nd round last year and in the 29th round of the 2006 draft (out of high school) by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It’s definitely an honor for three teams to make me a draft pick,” Hayes said. “I’m humbled by being drafted three times and dealing with each team that’s picked me has been a great experience each time.”
On both previous occasions, Hayes elected to pursue his college degree and put his professional baseball plans on hold.
Now, the 2005 Class A Mr. Football award winner knows who his future employer will be.
“It’s a big relief and it gives me peace of mind to know what team I’ll play pro baseball with,” Hayes said. “Going into the season, I knew there was not going to be an option of going back to school and that at the end of the year I’d be getting ready to play pro baseball.
“It eases my mind to know what franchise I’ll be with.”
Hayes, a key member of the ’06 McKenzie baseball team that won the Class A state championship under current Union City High School head coach Jeremy Maddox, has appeared in 23 games (five starts) for the Commodores this spring.
All totaled, he sports an unblemished 6-0 record and a 4.25 earned run average in 482⁄3 innings of mostly relief work. Opponents have a .226 batting average against Hayes.
As a member of the Greyhounds’ team in 2008, Hayes was 5-1 with a minuscule 1.81 earned run average and 55 strikeouts in 442⁄3 innings. Hayes also started two games for the UC Kitty League team last season while awaiting his ’09 draft fate.
Hayes, who has a fastball, slider and change-up in his pitching arsenal, was 1-1 last season in Kitty League play — allowing just two runs in his 16 innings of work with 22 strikeouts.
After his two-game stint with Union City last summer, Hayes went on to the highly-regarded Cape Cod League.
In the CCL, Hayes was 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances with  Yarmouth-Dennis.
“I think it’s beneficial that I have experience against (hitters with) wood bats,” Hayes said when speaking of his experience in the Kitty League and Cape Cod circuit. “I’ve got a reference point on where to start against hitters in the minor leagues and that might give me an advantage over pitchers that are just familiar to facing (hitters with) aluminum bats.”
Sports reporter Ken-neth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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