The moment Ben Waldrip first stepped on the diamond at Medford High, he caught the attention of Mike Nestor.
“Ben was a large, tall gifted athlete who was still coming into his own and really didn’t develop as a pure first baseman and hitter until his sophomore and junior year,” said Nestor, then an assistant coach with the Mustangs, and now the head coach.
“He worked tirelessly at his hands and at his hitting. His attitude and work ethic were by far superior.”
That relentless drive and hard work paid off has paid off for Waldrip. A 6-foot-6, 245-pound first baseman at Jacksonville State, he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 10th round (318th overall) of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft on Tuesday, one of five players with local ties to be selected.
Waldrip, who hit .330 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs this season, was previously selected by the Atlanta Braves (42nd round, 2010) and the Kansas City Royals (40th round, 2011).
Waldrip, the MVP of the Greater Boston League as a senior, started his collegiate career at Saint Anselm in the Northeast-10 fore a season at Cypress Junior College.
Malden Catholic grad Dario Pizzano, the Ivy League's Player of the Year as a junior at Columbia, went to the Seattle Mariners in the 15th round (461st pick overall).
This season, starting all 44 games in left field, the 5-9, 200-pound left-handed hitter batted .360 with four homers and 36 RBIs. The Globe's Player of the Year in 2009 for coach Steve Frecker at Malden Catholic, Pizzano was a .364 career hitter at Columbia.
“He’s a great worker and a great person,” Columbia coach Brett Boretti said. “He’s really made himself into a really strong hitter and has worked on all facets of his game, and he’s been our best hitter for a few years since he’s been here.
“He’s real consistent at the bat and gotten the most out of his ability and he’s very excited about opportunity that lies ahead.”
Boston College senior shortstop Anthony Melchionda (Thayer Academy/Braintree) was chosen by the world champion St. Louis Cardinals in the 14th round (450th overall). At BC, he was a .310 hitter this season with 35 RBIs and led the Eagles with 39 runs scored.
He ranks sixth all-time in career hits (205) for the Eagles.
At Thayer Academy, Melchionda was named MVP of the Independent School League (ISL) as a senior.
Tewksbury High grad Scott Oberg, a senior right-hander at the University of Connecticut, went to the Colorado Rockies in the 15th round (468th overall) after posting a 5-0 mark (with a 0.99 ERA) out of the bullpen for the Huskies. The 6-2, 205-pound Oberg has a 14-2 career record in Storrs.
He was a two-time Globe All-Scholastic in 2007 and 2008, and was also named the MVP of the Merrimack Valley League both seasons.
"I was thrilled when I heard my name called," Oberg told the Globe's Ryan MacInnis. "[The Rockies] had called a couple of times throughout the draft, so I had a good feeling they were going to take me. ... I've been waiting for this day my whole life."
A number of others received calls on Wednesday, headlined by Southern New Hampshire junior southpaw Tim Flight of Portsmouth, R.I., taken with the 547th pick (17th round) by the Yankees. Flight (9-1, 1.30 ERA) was the ABCA Division 2 Pitcher of the Year.
* LHP Nate Koneski (Holy Cross/Dennis-Yarmouth HS); Mariners, 21st round (581)
* RHP Steve Perakslis (University of Maine/Abington HS); Cubs, 21st (644)
* RHP Travis Dean (Kennesaw State/Worcester Academy/Newton South); Rangers, 22nd (696)
* Tucker Healey (Ithaca/Needham); Athletics, 23rd (709)
* LHP Andrew Leenhouts (Northeastern/Franklin HS); Giants, 23rd (718)
* OF Rhett Wiseman (Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, Mansfield); Cubs, 25th
* 1B Chris Shaw (Lexington HS); Mets, 26th (800)
* RHP Dennis Torres (UMass-Amherst, Central Catholic); Orioles, 28th (852)
* OF Michael Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt/St. John's Prep); Mariners, 30th (911)
* LHP Brent Suter (Harvard); Mariners, 31st (965)
* LHP Andrew Ferreira (Harvard/Bishop Hendricken/Rehoboth); Twins, 32d (970)
* 1B/C Jon Leroux (Northeastern/Auburn); Mets, 32d (980)
* LHP Chris Pickering (Rhode Island); Giants, 32d (988)
* RHP Pat Delano (Braintree HS); Red Sox, 35th (1081)
* C Jacob Kapstein (Tiverton, R.I.); Tigers, 35th (1084)
They join University of Memphis pitcher Dan Langfield of Somerset, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round (109th overall).
Langfield compiled a 7-6 record with a 2.79 earned run average in 93.2 innings this season. He wrapped up his career with 252 strikeouts, ranking third all-time in program history.
"Couldn't be happier where I ended up playing college for the U of Memphis. Now moving on to the Cinci Reds! Can't wait! #gotigersgo #Reds"
Langfield, a member of Somerset's Division 2 state championship team in 2006, was an Eastern Athletic League all-star as a senior in 2009 when he struck out 118 in 57.1 innings with a 5-2 mark and 0.85 ERA.
He is following in the footsteps of his father, Paul, who pitched at Providence College before brief stints in the minors with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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