Pitcher Bradley Wallace went undrafted following his senior year at Woodlawn High School.
Wallace earned MVP honors after the Bears won the 2A state title, even still the then-17-year-old right-hander was not among the 1525 players taken in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft.
It’s amazing the difference four years at a Division I program can make.
On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays took Wallace, who just finished his senior season at Arkansas State, in the 10th round with the 307th-overall pick.
“I’m very proud of him,” Woodlawn baseball coach Tommy Richardson said. “He could have got drafted after his junior year, but he wanted to play his senior season.
“That, to me, showed a commitment to a program and to an education. That’s just the kind of kid Bradley Wallace is. He grew up in a great family. Keith and Cindi did a wonderful job with him.
“He’s a fine young man.”
Richardson said he thinks Wallace’s jump from being undrafted out of high school to being picked on the second day of the 40-round draft says a lot about Wallace and the Arkansas State program.
“Scouts will tell you they used to scout a lot of high school games,” Richardson said. “You don’t see that much anymore. They’re starting to look for guys who can be in the big leagues in two to three years.
“I think he can be one of those guys. For one thing, he’s always had a healthy arm. You don’t see that much for someone who pitched in high school and college, for them to have never had any arm problems.”
According to his A-State bio, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Wallace was tabbed as one of the top-100 seniors in the class of 2014 prior to the season by Perfect Game USA.
Wallace finished the year with a 4-5 record in 15 starts with a 4.37 ERA. He led the team with 78 1/3 innings pitched and had the lowest WHIP (1.48) among Red Wolves’ starting pitchers. He was second on the team with 69 strikeouts, while opposing batters hit .280 against him.
Wallace, who was named a preseason high school Under-Armour All-American prior to his senior season, finished his A-State career with a 12-8 mark and a 5.23 ERA in 201 1/3 innings pitched.
“It speaks well for the program they got at Arkansas State,” Richardson said, “and it speaks well for Bradley Wallace. It’s always nice when your hard work pays off.
“I’m very proud of him.”