Former Jesuit standout Kevin Quackenbush has made the most of his second chance -- both on and off the field.
Undrafted out of high school four years ago, Quackenbush flourished into one of college baseball’s top closers as a senior, and on Tuesday, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the eighth round (263rd overall pick) in this year’s MLB first-year player draft.
“I really wasn’t trying to expect anything,” Quackenbush said. “I just was hoping to have a chance.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander set a school record with a 0.80 ERA this spring and led the Big East with 12 saves. Quackenbush struck out 46 batters in 33 2/3 innings.
He nearly didn’t play his senior year after he was arrested in October for being involved in a hit-and-run accident with a police cruiser. He was immediately suspended from the team, but reinstated before the season after a plea deal in which he agreed to 100 hours of community service, four years of probation, $1,600 of court costs.
“Before the season, I was just glad to be playing and glad for a second chance,” Quackenbush said. “After the season, looking back on numbers, I had a pretty good year. And I’m pretty excited to be able to play at the next level. Eighth round is tremendous.”
Quackenbush, who helped lead Jesuit to the Class 4A state tournament as a junior in 2006, also graduated in May with a degree in business management. He is the 13th USF player to be drafted under coach Lelo Prado.
“We couldn't be happier for Kevin," Prado said in a school release. "He has worked so hard. A kid that wasn't drafted out of high school, came to USF, worked tirelessly, on the field and in the classroom, and developed into one of the best pitchers in college baseball this year.”
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)