Zach Drury didn't think about the fact that he hadn't given up a hit until the fifth inning of Wiregrass Ranch's Class 7A, District 8 championship game against Sickles on April 25. Once it crossed his mind, all he tried to do was make it go away.
"Our athletic trainer was there. She kept giving me this look because she knew, too," said Drury, a 6-foot-2 right-hander. "I was just like, 'I'm not going to say anything. I'm just not going to think about it.' "
It paid off for the Bulls' ace as he earned his third no-hitter of his high school career in a 1-0 win that gave Wiregrass Ranch its first baseball district title in school history.
Now that he's led his Bulls to a program milestone, it could be time for one of his own.
The University of North Florida signee, whose fastball has been clocked in the 90s, could be selected in the MLB first-year player draft, which starts Thursday. Drury said he's already had conversations with his parents and Wiregrass Ranch coach Marshall McDougall — a former Florida State and Texas Rangers third baseman — about the decision he'll have to make if he's picked.
"Coach, he's been through it, so he was just telling us about it, what's going to happen, how we should handle it," Drury said. "I've had a lot of help through it."
Drury, whose younger brother Austin also pitches for the Bulls, finished his senior campaign with a 1.94 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. At the plate he had a .353 batting average, three home runs and 22 RBIs.
Drury has played baseball since he was 5 years old. So if he sees his name on the draft board, it'll be the realization of a dream that's been a long time coming.
"It's going to feel like everything I've worked for has paid off," he said.
Alonso's Faedo best bet for Hillsborough County
Alonso right-hander Alex Faedo has long been Hillsborough County's most touted 2014 prospect. And despite a senior season that was less of a head turner than his previous one, the Florida signee remains the only Hillsborough County player on Baseball America's top 500 list.
Faedo, who comes in at No. 403 and is ranked the 55th best player in the state, finished his final season at Alonso with a 0.53 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched and a 6-2 record. The Ravens missed the playoffs after a loss to class 8A runnerup Bloomingdale in the district semifinal.
Faedo's development as a standout pitcher came late, and the junior had a breakout year in 2013, a season which included a Saladino Tournament record-breaking 17-strikeout game, a no-hitter and an 8-2 record.
Where are they now?
Tyler Danish (Durant), RHP, Chicago White Sox: Danish, drafted in the second round last year after leading Durant to a Class 7A state runnerup finish, spent time with the rookie-level Bristol White Sox and single-A Kannapolis Intimidators before joining the advanced-A Winston-Salem Dash in May. The right-hander had a 0.71 ERA and 3-0 record this season with Kannapolis before moving up.
Christian Arroyo (Hernando), SS, San Francisco Giants: Arroyo became the first player from Hernando County drafted in the first round when he was picked 25th overall June 6, 2013. Since then, the 6-foot-1 shortstop spent a year at the rookie level before moving up to the single-A Augusta GreenJackets in 2014. Arroyo has 24 hits — including a home run — and 14 RBIs in 31 games with the GreenJackets. He has been on the disabled list since May 13.
Oscar Mercado (Gaither), SS, St. Louis Cardinals: Mercado, a second-round pick, finished his 2013 rookie-level season with a .209 batting average, 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. Mercado has yet to be assigned to a team in 2014, spending time in extended spring training.
Tucker Neuhaus (Wharton), SS, Milwaukee Brewers: Neuhaus, picked in the second round a year ago, had a .231 batting average and 45 hits, including 12 doubles, last season at the rookie level. Like Mercado, Neuhaus went through extended spring training and is not yet on a roster in 2014.