Pascagoula baseball standout living out dream of being drafted
Willie Joe Garry Jr. has a lot to think about this summer. On the one hand, the Pascagoula center fielder has already signed with Pearl River Community College and then on the other he has until July 6th to decide whether or not he would rather sign with the Minnesota Twins.
But for now, the ninth round MLB draft selection is just trying to process the fact that he was a 9th round MLB draft selection.
“I was shook. Whenever it happened I didn’t even know how to react, and I still don’t even know how to react. It still feels like a dream like I haven’t woken up yet.”
On day two of the 2018 MLB first year player draft, Willie Joe Garry Jr. had that dream come true as a ninth round pick of the Minnesota Twins. “My dad, he almost blew a gasket as soon as they called my name. And I was standing there just looking at the screen, I was shocked. Even though we kind of knew it was coming they gave us the call, I still didn’t think it was going to happen the way it did. Me getting drafted, that’s like a dream come true. That’s what I’ve been dreaming of since I was six years old.”
The 247th overall selection out of Pascagoula High School, Garry Jr. wasn’t always a highly touted prospect. The speedy center fielder had to work at his craft really hard and it finally started to pay off during summer ball in between his junior and senior seasons. “One through nine in the lineup were all committed to Alabama, SEC teams, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, teams like that. And then you go down to my name and my name says uncommitted, so a lot of people didn’t show much like respect to my name until after that tournament. And then I did pretty good playing against those higher level players, higher level pitchers.”
Garry Jr. carried that momentum into his final year with the Panthers where he increased his batting average from .254 all the way up to .432. “I’m going to tell you what he’s had to work for it. It’s not something that was just given to him. He had to get out there, put the work in, keep improving each year and look where it’s got him.”
“It’s just a lot of work. It doesn’t come easy at all, and then when you get to like this point, you just look back and like wow, I just went through all of this and now I’m where I wanted to be. Like what I’ve been dreaming of being my whole life.”
But now, his whole life revolves around these next few weeks and whether or not he’ll go the JUCO route or chase the dream. “It’s a lot of talking to my agent and my parents. We’ve talked about it a little bit, we’re going to talk about it a lot more.”
“I think you have to go where your heart is because I think that’s where you’re going to do your best. If you make a decision based on just other things, if your heart is not in it I don’t think you’re going to do as well. So you need to make a decision that where your heart takes you.”
“God put me on the Twins.”
Garry Jr. says following the interview he was off to Biloxi to buy a Twins hat and jersey.