Augusta Christian School graduate Jordan Belcher might be a major league baseball player one day, but for now, he might not be ready to take Horace Greeley's advice to "Go west, young man."
Belcher was selected Wednesday by the Cincinnati Reds in the 41st round of the first-year player draft.
Depending on how much money the Reds put on the table, Belcher could sign a professional contract.
Belcher will likely head east, however, and play for the USC Aiken baseball team in an attempt to earn a better offer when he's again eligible for the draft in two years. "If I went in the top 20 rounds, I'd probably sign. I don't know how much they can possibly offer me in the 41st round," Belcher said. "I wanted to go higher, but I guess getting drafted is all that counts."
Belcher was the only area high school player selected in the draft. In 2002, Greenbrier's Robert Davis and Philip Tapley were picked by the San Francisco Giants, but rather than sign professional contracts, both chose to join the Manatee Community College squad.
The college route seems to suit Belcher as well. He has signed a letterofintent to attend USC Aiken on a baseball scholarship, and Belcher thinks he can improve his standing in the major league draft while playing for the Pacers.
"I'm thinking I'll go to college," he said. "If I can increase my speed, get a little stronger and hit the ball a little farther, I don't see why I wouldn't go up."
Belcher, who played center field and pitcher for Augusta Christian, is a four-time selection to the Georgia Independent School Association all-state baseball team. He also was an all-state basketball player at AC, but his talents really shined on the diamond in 2003.
As a senior, Belcher hit .579 with 18 home runs and 46 RBIs. Those numbers were the best of any local high school baseball player this past season, and comparedto the top individual statistics ever produced at the prep level in Columbia County.
"Every time he stepped to the plate, he had the possibility of hitting a home run," AC baseball coach Craig Johnson said. "Jordan definitely has some gifts, but he's worked hard, especially with baseball."
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