The call Gunnar Hoglund was hoping for came late Monday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates were on the line, wondering if Hoglund would be willing to forgo his scholarship to Mississippi and sign with them.
After some negotiation, Hoglund agreed to terms with the club and became a professional baseball player. He was selected 36th overall in the Compensation Round A of the Major League Baseball draft. The approximate pick value for that slot is $2 million.
Hoglund said he will fly to Pittsburgh soon to finalize the deal and then report to rookie camp in Bradenton in a few weeks.
"It was a crazy process," Hoglund said. "They called to see if they could get something worked out and then we agreed to the deal. It was a long night."
Hoglund said he was at home with family members watching the draft and waiting to hear his name called.
"That was right in the range that we thought it would be," he said.
He is the first player from Fivay to be drafted. That he went with the 36th pick was not a surprise.
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, he drew the attention of scouts by his junior year despite being on a Fivay team that won only seven games. A pitcher/first baseman, he had 86 strikeouts in 50 ⅓ innings and a 1.11 earned run average as a junior.
An impressive summer league season that included playing in the Perfect Game National Showcase and the East Coast Pro Showcase, he segued into a dominant senior season with the Falcons. He was 7-0 with a 0.27 ERA. Most impressive, he had 105 strikeouts and two walks in 52 ⅓ innings. Those walks came in the last game of the season.
He also hit .385 with four home runs.
He will be used as a pitcher in the Pirates organization. His fastball has been clocked in the 89-95 mph range.
"What a great, great kid," said Hernando coach Tim Sims, whose team was in the same district as Hoglund. "People are going to remember him for a long time around here."
Hoglund also played basketball at Fivay, but his focus has always been baseball. He is one of those players who has been above average since youth league. Now he has a chance to see if he has what it takes to make the majors.
"It's always something that I wanted to do," Hoglund said. "Ever since Little League and now I have a chance to do it. It's a dream come true."