Smithville pitcher Jared Johnson finally received the call he had been waiting on.
Johnson, the Seminoles’ ace who was committed to Mississippi State, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round with the 427th overall pick.
He said he’s eager to turn pro.
“They called me this morning and told me that they really wanted to take me, and I got chills,” Johnson said. “Whenever you get that call, you can’t think straight, and it’s like ‘Holy cow, it’s actually happening.’
“I have to give all the glory to God because he helped me make good jumps in my career and to be able to make the right decisions.”
Johnson posted a 9-0 record as a senior with the Seminoles, with a 0.68 ERA and 100 strikeouts on the mound in 61 1/3 innings pitched.
He was originally projected to go on Day 2 and had received high interest from the Kansas City Royals, who ended up going in a different direction.
“That didn’t happen for me, and I wasn’t meant to be a Royal,” Johnson said. “This is Braves Country around here, and it’s so awesome to go from being a Seminole to a Brave.”
A Braves fan growing up, Johnson said he had a former elementary school teacher who told him he would play for the organization one day.
“I called her after I got drafted,” Johnson said. “She remembered telling me that, and now 10-12 years later, it’s happening.”
Johnson is the first Seminole and the first player from Monroe County to be taken in the MLB draft since Amory’s Mitch Moreland in 2007.
“My family and community has been super supportive and always said they were proud for me, no matter which direction I went,” he said. “I have had texts and messages on social media from everyone, even people from rival schools congratulating me. All that love and positive feeling is great to have.”
Johnson said he had already spoken to MSU and told them he was likely to go pro.
“It’s special to even have that opportunity because that’s a baseball haven,” he said. “I’m definitely ready to start my pro career.”