June 7 was a big day for two former Harlem High School baseball players.
In the 30th round of the Major League first-year player draft, Derek Beasley, who completed his final season at USC Aiken, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics. Three draft picks later, Josh Wirsu, who finished his junior year at Georgia Southern, was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals.
The left-handed Beasley, a 2010 Harlem graduate, spent four years with the Division II Pacers,
compiling a 29-13 mark while striking out 292 and walking just 107.
After getting interest after his junior year at USC Aiken, he wasn’t sure what would happen. He was at home when he got a text from A’s scout Neil Avant in the 28th round.
“He asked me if I was ready to go and I said definitely,” Beasley said. “He said ‘are you ready to prove me right?’ I said yes sir, I won’t let you down and he called me two rounds later and I was in. I saw my buddy Wirsu went three picks later and that’s a dream come true, holy cow!”
Wirsu spent two years at Gordon College, advancing to the Junior College World Series as a freshman. The right-hander spent his junior year with Georgia
Southern posting a 9-3 record with a 2.44 earned-run-average with 92 strikeouts as the Eagles advanced to the NCAA Division I postseason.
Like Beasley, he wasn’t sure what would happen as the day went on.
“As it got deeper and deeper into the draft it was like it might not happen,” Wirsu said. “When he called me my heart started racing. Something that you’ve expected or hoping for
happens and it’s like - it hits you like a surprise. When you dream of it as a little kid – I always wanted to be a pro ball player, I wanted to be a major leaguer – and then a team gives you that opportunity. You want to cry, laugh, and scream all at the same time.”
Like Beasley, he was ecstatic when he heard about his old teammate.
“His (Beasley) name got called while I’m on
the phone with the Cardinals and my head coach and I’m like, Oh my God, that’s my best friend,” Wirsu