HALLSVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - MLB draft took two Hallsville Bobcats.
Connor Reich went to the White Sox and another pitcher, Justin Slaten, is going just down the road in Arlington. Slaten says he’s ready for the next part of his baseball journey.
"it's a good story just because you know we've had people come from here that have been drafted and gone on to continue their professional career,” said Slaten. “I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of that."
The day after Slaten was drafted, these young ball players were getting ready for their baseball camp, learning the finer points of the game from Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell and his staff.
There to greet them was one of their own. The buzz of Slaten taken by the Rangers was still hot and this was the first meeting since he was taken in the 3rd round.
“That's awesome,” said Hallsville Coach Scott Mitchell. “It’s awesome to see a young man that's obviously gifted, but he worked so hard. And he is so humble and so polite and soft-spoken. But when he gets on that mound, he's all business." In his three years at New Mexico the former Bobcat improved his game.
Upon graduating from Hallsville in 2016, he was all set to attend Panola College and was going to honor that commitment.
During the summer prior he was playing summer ball in the metroplex. That's when he was discovered by the Lobos. "Basically from playing with that team, the coach at New Mexico had called my summer ball coach and was like ‘Hey we need a pitcher.’ He was like think ‘I have a guy for you,’” said Slaten. “So, he sent somebody out to come watch me. They liked what they saw so they brought out on a visit and made me a scholarship offer. I decided to commit to New Mexico. " Once there Slaten said he began to mature, playing with other MLB caliber players.
And to think that journey began when? "Probably like 4-years-old I was playing t-ball over in Marshall. That was a long time ago, I remember it and I still remember the first glove that I had. Don't have it anymore sadly,” said Slaten. “That was one of my favorite gloves of all time. I remember my parents telling me we're going to have get you a new glove. I just didn’t I didn't want to.
For all you young ball players, these stories really do happen. Keep plugging away.”