By Debby Abe
LAKEWOOD, WASH. – Raiders pitcher Elliot Morris is heading off to his field of dreams. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drafted the right-handed pitcher Friday morning in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft.
“I’m so happy to be picked. It’s the perfect team,” Morris said in a telephone interview, minutes after learning the Angels drafted him. “It’s awesome.”
Morris’s pick marks the first time Pierce College has seen a Major League Baseball team draft a player directly from the college, PierceCollege District Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson said. Morris was the 127th pick overall, higher up than his projected ranking of number 224.
Morris’s eye-popping 94-mph fastball caught the attention of nearly every major league scout in the Northwest, Stevenson said. The 21-year-old stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 205 lbs.
“It’s very numbing at this point. We’re just extremelyexcited for Elliot and the future potential he has as a professional athlete,” Stevenson said. “It’s a great day at Pierce College and for Raider Athletics.”
Morris played for the Raiders the past two seasons, helping lead the team to back-to-backWest Division Titles in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in 2012 and 2013, and the conference championship in 2012.
A 2010 graduate of Federal Way High School, Morris is in his third year at Pierce. Morris red-shirted his freshman year, following successful Tommy John surgery on his elbow. He will graduate from Pierce with his associate degree next Friday.
In the just-completed season, Morris notched 4 wins and 3 losses. He pitched 66 1/3 innings, recording 95 strikeouts and a 1.76 earned run average, Stevenson said.
Morris said he was watching the live broadcast of the first-year player draft at home in Federal Way when he heard the Angels announce his name.
“I ran to my mom and we hugged. She was watching, too,” Morris said with a smile in his voice. “My mom started crying. I was just super-excited.”
The news was a relief, considering the draft started Thursday. “You’re just watching, watching and waiting,” Morris said. “It’s so great.”
Besides being a standout athlete, Morris is a soft spoken, humble and “very kind young man” who always has an encouraging word for his teammates, Stevenson said.
“There is no ego with this kid at all,” Stevenson said. “He was an incredible student athlete and a remarkable representative for us and the college and the local community.”