Southwest’s Travis receives draft call from Milwaukee

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SUMMIT – Jesse Travis got the call he had been dreaming about Saturday evening, when the Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in the 35th Round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

Former Southwest catcher Kyle Wheeler was chosen in the 26th round by the Oakland Athletics.

Travis, a 6-foot-7-inch right handed freshmen pitcher at SWCC is the 12th player from the region to be drafted since 2006. From 1985-2005 only six players from the area heard their name called in the professional baseball draft.

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“I’m excited,” said the soft spoken Travis. “This is a great opportunity and means just to be drafted.”

Only 18-years old, Travis can elect to return to SWCC or sign with the Brewers. He and his family will decide by the MLB Draft signing deadline, July 14.

“Right now I’m weighing my options,” added Travis. “I’m going to sit down with my family, my advisor, and the Brewers about all this and see where we end up.”

The North Pike alum worked out for the Brewers three times before being drafted. He also had interest from other teams as well.

“I didn’t pitch that much at North Pike,” said Travis. “At Southwest I threw more, and more teams started contacting me. It was surprising at first but they all said they liked me because of my fastball and my size.”

Wearing size-16 shoes and throwing a fastball as high as 92-mph, drew pro teams to SWCC to watch him.

“It’s a real blessing just to be drafted,” added Travis. “This is something you never think will happen until it actually does.”

He said Southwest head coach Lee Kuyrkendall and pitching coach Ken Jackson “gave me some great opportunities to be seen to get better. I learned a lot from them.

“Milwaukee is a good team,” Travis said “and I’m really happy to be headed that way. Mr. Scott Nichols (a Brewers scout) gave me a lot of advice and really helped me out.”

Kuyrkendall said, “We knew there was a chance Jesse could get drafted as a freshman. He showed improvement and had some good starts for us. His velocity continues to climb (88-94 mph) and he is still very young to have such great size already.”

“He will put himself in a good position for the future,”

Wheeler, who played for the Bears in 2009-11, is a graduate of Loranger (LA) High School. He set the Southwest single-season RBI record with 47 during his freshman year in Summit. He followed his successful two years at Southwest with two equally successful ones with the Belhaven University Blazers.

Speaking Saturday afternoon, Wheeler said he “couldn’t be happier” upon being drafted by the A’s. “(Oakland) is a good organization for me to move up in,” he said. “I just couldn’t be more excited.”