October 25, 2014

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Baseball: Locals Pierce, Weir expected to be drafted

While most of the local interest is centered around where Midview left-hander Eric Lauer will get drafted, two other Lorain Countians are expected to hear their names called sometime over the next two days by a Major League Baseball team.
Avon graduate and Kent State reliever Josh Pierce, a red-shirt sophomore, is the eighth-rated prospect in Ohio, according to Baseball America, while recent Amherst grad Griffin Weir, a right-handed pitcher, is the 18th-rated prospect in the state.
Weir, who has a scholarship to Stanford, said he’s 90 percent certain he will be going to college. He’s been told he could be selected anywhere from the 11th to 20th round.
“As far as where I think I go, I’m not sure due to my signability,” said Weir, who pitched and played third base for Amherst this season and will pitch at Stanford. “I’m not sure how many teams would take a risk on someone with a scholarship to Stanford already. Going to Stanford is the way I’m leaning to now.
“I don’t really know what it would take (to change my mind). My dollar amount would be in the $600,000-700,000 range to sign and play baseball. But, we’ll see what happens. It would be honor just to hear my name called.”
Weir has the chance to be the first Amherst baseball player to be drafted out of high school. Former Comets Antone DeJesus (16th round of the 2007 draft by St. Louis) and Ryan Rua (17th round of the 2011 draft by Texas) were each selected out of college, to Kentucky and Lake Erie College, respectively.
“My family has been friends with Rua’s for many years, and I’ve known Ryan a long time,” Weir said. “We’ve talked about a lot of things, but ironically, the draft hasn’t come up. I probably should talk to him about that.”
Rua is still playing in the Rangers’ organization, while DeJesus is keeping his dreams alive with Gateway of the Frontier League.
“The fact that my whole childhood, all I wanted to be was a pro baseball player, and with the dream becoming close to being a reality, it’s kind of exciting,” Weir said. “To hear my name called, on a scale of 1-10, it would easily be a 10.”
Pierce, a right-hander,  famously saved Kent State’s 5-4 College World Series win over top-seeded Florida last June by  getting out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a strikeout and a fly out. He appeared in nine games for the Flashes this season, going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA.
He was not in uniform for the MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium last month due to an undisclosed injury, according to Pierce’s high school coach, Avon’s Frank DeSmit. However, DeSmit doesn’t believe the injury was serious.
If Pierce gets drafted and signs, he’d join relief pitcher Phil Brua (undrafted but spent the previous two years in the Toronto organization) as two recent Eagles who have played at the professional level.
Pierce is one of three Kent State pitchers, along with Tyler Skullina (No. 1) and right-hander Taylor Williams (No. 4), in Baseball America’s Top 10 Ohio prospects, and one of four, along with right-hander Eric Dorsch (No. 13), in their Top 25.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135
or dangilles73@gmail.com