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BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University baseball alumnus Cory Rhodes got the phone call every
boy growing up playing baseball hopes to get. Last Friday the Pittsburgh Pirates,
of Major League Baseball called Rhodes to inform him they were going to sign him to
a professional contract.
In two words, Rhodes described his reaction to getting the call on Friday.
Thursday morning Rhodes signed his contract with the Pirates and has been assigned
to the Jamestown Jammers, the Class A Short Season Affiliate of the Pirates. He will
fly to Jamestown, N.Y. to join his new teammates in Jamestown. The Jammers' season
ends on September 1.
The Monday before, I got a call from the Pirates scout informing me they might sign
me, and then I finally got a call around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Rhodes continued. It
has still been a very surreal experience, from this weekend, coming to the Pirates
Complex in Bradenton, Fla., and getting everything done. Getting that first taste
of professional atmosphere is amazing.
Rhodes was the ace of the Tornado each of the last two seasons, earning second team
All-Conference Carolinas honors each year. During his senior campaign he led the league
with 96 strikeouts in 92 and two-thirds innings. He posted a 4.08 earned run average
while going 5-5 with a save to lead the Tornado to their second straight Conference
Carolinas Tournament runner-up finish.
Cory embodies what our program is all about, King Baseball Head Coach Blaine Brown said. He has worked so hard to get to where he is today. He has always played the
underdog role to his advantage. When someone would tell him he couldn't do something
or someone was better, he would go out to prove them wrong. He embraced competition,
and always wanted the ball. Cory also got it done in the classroom and off the field.
He was a true champion both on and off the field. I couldn't be happier for him to
see his dream get achieved. I have no doubt he will go in with that same attitude
and work ethic and be successful in pro ball.
About his time at King Rhodes said that Brown and pitching coach Luke Howard helped
him reach his dream of playing professional baseball.
Determination and the work ethic they helped instill in me to continue getting better
each and every day - that's what my main focus right now, getting ready for the next
month in Jamestown, Rhodes stated.
Rhodes' path to professional baseball hasn't always been easy, starting with his freshman
year when he tried out at the University of Central Florida and didn't make the team,
leading him to King. However, after not getting drafted in June, he didn't give hope,
just kept working towards his goal. Over the summer he has been pitching for the Haysville
Aviators in Kansas, helping them to a National Baseball Congress World Series appearance.
Out of high school, I didn't even play my freshman year, and then when I didn't get
drafted I was a little upset at first, Rhodes said. But, I was more determined to
get back to work instead of moping or waiting around. It was get ready to keep trying.
Rhodes becomes the first Tornado baseball player to sign with an MLB team since 2008
when Jace Smith signed with the Royals and Eric Allen signed with the Cubs.
I just want to thank God, my family, the coaching staff, and all my teammates at King
for believing in me and sending me messages over the last couple days, finished Rhodes.
I want to represent King in the best possible way.
King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King
College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees
and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences,
pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration,
education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and
travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and
a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King
University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of
any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University
is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact
the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road,
Richlands, VA 24641.