Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, June 2, 1999

P R O F E S S I O N A L _ B A S E B A L L

Waipahu’s Williams
anxious to fulfill
his dream

The Waipahu pitcher was
selected early in today's
baseball draft

Williams is picked 39th overall,
the highest ever for a Hawaii prep player

Hamilton picked No. 1

By Pat Bigold


Webmaster's note: This is a first edition story that ran before Williams was picked. The final edition story ran in the News section and is linked above.

For the Waipahu High right-handed pitcher destined to be Hawaii's top overall pick in baseball's amateur draft today, the hours leading up to the draft were almost unbearable.

"I might not even go to sleep tonight," said Jerome Williams yesterday afternoon.

For Shane Victorino, a speedy outfielder from St. Anthony (Maui) whose name has caught fire with scouts the past several weeks, the world was still spinning.

"This is such a new experience for me and my family," said Victorino. "The scouts only started coming around last month."

Williams has been under the (speed) gun since preseason because of his 93 mph fastball, but Victorino's stock rose dramatically in May.

"He's going to do very well," said one mainland draft insider of Victorino.

"I went from having one scout at my games to having eight and then 12," said Victorino, whose speed and overall athleticism were expected to get him drafted by the sixth round. "There were at least 15 teams that stopped by in less than a month. I was absolutely surprised."

Victorino, who has signed a letter with Hawaii, swings the bat well, but the real key to his newfound notoriety is speed.

He won three sprint titles at the recent state track and field meet on Maui. He took the 100 meters in 10.80 seconds, the 200 in 21.54 seconds and the 400 in 49.97 seconds. A Track and Field News editor said last weekend that all of those times rank among the top 75 in the country this year for boys' outdoor prep spring track.

"At one point, I wanted to quit track, but both my parents said that would be stupid because speed is a plus in the draft," said Victorino. "I'm glad I didn't quit."

Williams finished his senior year with a 0.30 earned run average and 116 strikeouts in 65 innings.

"We played each other in an all-star game at Hans L'Orange (Monday) and he was on fire," said Victorino.

Victorino said that St. Louis shortstop Jandin Thornton-Murray, who is expected to be the third local draft pick, batted behind him. He said Williams got Thornton-Murray to ground out.

"I guess I'm just wondering what club will take me. Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore. I'm just thinking about that right now," Williams said.

For Williams, whose father taught him to pitch by having him throw a wet tennis ball at a hand-drawn target on a playground wall, being drafted at all is a childhood dream come true.

"It's what he's always wanted," said his 25-year-old brother, Glenn Jr.

Besides Thornton-Murray, Kamehameha infielder/outfielder Paki Lum could also go in the top 10 rounds. But sources say Lum, who has secured a scholarship with USC, could drop lower.

Hawaii left-hander Dusty Bergman is expected to be the first Rainbow taken, followed by left-hander Randon Ho. Pitcher/first baseman Jamie Aloy, right-hander Corey Miller and catcher/first baseman Lars Hansen are other UH players in the mix.

St. Louis's slugging outfielder Chad Santos and Mid-Pacific shortstop Rex Rundgren could go in the late rounds.


Summer draft, regular phase
Mike Campbell (7th overall), Seattle (signed).
1996: Mark Johnson, (19th overall), Houston (signed).
1985: David Masters (24th overall), Chicago Cubs (signed).
1986: Mike Fetters, (27th overall), California (signed).

Summer draft, secondary phase
Carlos Diaz (15th overall), Seattle (signed).

Winter draft, regular phase
Keith Komeiji (8th overall), Seattle (signed).
1983: Dan Sheeley (21st overall), Philadelphia (DNS).
1982: Derek Tatsuno (25th overall), Milwaukee (signed).

Winter draft, secondary phase
Lenn Sakata (10th overall), Milwaukee (signed).


Hamilton picked first

NEW YORK -- High school outfielder Josh Hamilton was taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the first pick in today's baseball draft.

Hamilton, from Athens Drive High School in North Carolina, became the first high school player selected first since the Seattle Mariners chose Alex Rodriguez with the top pick in 1993.

Hamilton, 6-foot-4, is an outstanding hitter projected to be a right fielder, even though he has a 94 mph fastball. He hit .514 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs this season, and is also regarded as a sound defensive player.

Associated Press

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