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Baseball: Providence’s Sam Travis taken by Red Sox in wave of area draft picks

Indiana's Sam Travis. | Supplied photo

Indiana's Sam Travis. | Supplied photo

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Updated: July 9, 2014 6:36AM



Sam Travis developed into one of the most productive hitters in college baseball at Indiana. Fenway Park, with the famed Green Monster in left field, is regarded as one of the most hitter-friendly professional ballparks.

Sounds like a match made in baseball heaven. At least that’s what Travis and the Boston Red Sox are hoping.

The 2011 Providence graduate and former SouthtownStar Player of the Year was chosen Thursday in the second round by the Red Sox in the Major League Baseball draft.

“I grew up watching baseball on TV and getting an opportunity to play in one of the most historic ballparks is really exciting,” said Travis, an Orland Park resident. “When my name got called, it was a surreal experience. I’m ready to go and start moving on with my baseball career.”

Travis put up monster numbers during his three-year career at Indiana. The 6-foot, 200-pound first baseman hit .347, with 16 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 58 RBI this season.

Travis, who swings right-handed, was one of many local players to have their boyhood dreams realized during three-day draft.

For the third time in five years, St. Rita grad Mark Payton was drafted, this time in the seventh round by the Yankees out of powerhouse Texas. The Twins chose the 2009 SouthtownStar Player of the Year in the 31st round out of St. Rita in 2010 and the Indians selected the outfielder in the 16th round last year.

Along with hitting .326 with 15 doubles, five triples, two homers, 32 runs and 38 RBI, Payton has put together a Big 12 Conference record 101-game on-base streak through Saturday. The Longhorns have advanced to the College World Series.

“Obviously, my focus in on the University of Texas and winning the series,” Payton said by phone Friday.

Not only did Lemont have two players selected Saturday — Jake Latz (11th round) and Mike Papierski (16th) — both were chosen by the same team, the Blue Jays. Coincidentally, both Latz, a left-handed pitcher, and Papierski, a switch-hitting catcher, have committed to LSU.

“It’s definitely a great moment for me,” Latz said. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life. It’s a great feeling and I’m excited to see what happens next.”

Past and present pitchers from Providence heard their names called Saturday. Left-hander Matt Trowbridge was selected in the 13th round by the Orioles out of Central Michigan. Jake Godfrey, who helped the Celtics to the sectional championship on the same day, was picked by the Braves in the 21st round.

Another left-handed pitcher, St. Rita grad Joey Filomeno, was chosen by the Rangers in the 15th round out of Louisville.

Joliet Township graduate Mike Hollenbeck, a catcher, was chosen in the 23rd round by the White Sox out of Illinois State. Another catcher, Kevin Reiher, an Eisenhower grad, was picked by the Braves in the 24th round out of Prairie State.

Pitcher Jake Butler was selected in the 29th round by the Tigers out of the University of St. Francis.

Two pitchers were chosen in the 33rd round — Lincoln-Way Central’s Brad Bass by the Cubs and St. Laurence grad Zach Lewis by the Pirates out of Logan.

Morgan Park outfielder James Davison was picked by the White Sox in the 39th round.

Mike Clark and Steve Millar contributed to this story.



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