As far as the last day of high school goes, it’ll be hard to top Ty Damron’s final send-off from Krum.
It was certain he was going to get his diploma on Saturday afternoon. What was unknown was whether or not he’ll be going to college immediately afterwards.
A phone call on the way to graduation solved that dilemma. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Damron with the 394th pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The left-handed pitcher originally signed to play for Tim Tadlock at Texas Tech, but Damron confirmed on Saturday that he has agreed to terms with the Dodgers. The two parties have agreed on a signing bonus of $300,000, Damron said.
“It was great, actually,” Damron said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Damron joins Stephen F. Austin standout and Denton alumnus Hunter Dozier and Grayson College pitcher and Guyer alumnus Jacob Rhame as the other local players drafted in this year’s draft. Dozier was drafted eighth overall to the Kansas City Royals, while Rhame was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round.
Before the family headed to Denton Bible Church for Krum’s graduation, Damron’s father saw his son’s name come across the board online. Then Damron’s girlfriend heard the news on the radio.
Damron (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) was the District 9-3A Pitcher of the Year and dazzled in Krum’s run to the Class 3A regional quarterfinals. In the opening round of the playoffs against Celina, Damron tossed a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts. Against Princeton in the regional quarterfinals, Damron struck out 15 batters and threw a one-hitter in the Bobcats’ only win in the best-of-three series.
“He was very consistent at the end of the year,” Krum head coach Ray Miller said. “His command was good and his velocity was good. He was just tough to hit late in the year.”
On the year, Damron went 8-2 with an ERA of 1.00, recording 138 strikeouts while allowing 40 walks.
Damron said he received interest from the Royals, the New York Mets, the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox in the days leading up to the draft.
Throughout the season, Miller said the lefty consistently threw pitches from 87 to 89 mph. Damron has been clocked in the lower 90-mph range earlier in the season.
“I think potential is one of the biggest factors there,” Miller said of Damron. “I think he has the potential to get bigger and stronger and increase that velocity.”
Saturday’s draft selection was something a younger Damron never envisioned.
When Damron was in elementary school, Damron said he didn’t like baseball. His friend, Zack Hughes, talked Damron into attending a team tryout, and it turned out Damron wasn’t too bad at the sport he disdained.
“To be honest, I was never expecting to ever play baseball,” Damron said.
Throughout the week, Damron was expecting to get drafted but didn’t know where he’d be selected. Then when the call came around 12:45 p.m., he knew. Damron said Texas Tech assistant baseball coach J-Bob Thomas called to congratulate him on the selection.
Krum valedictorian and future Oklahoma State high jump athlete Julia Schmaltz announced Damron’s selection during her speech at graduation.
Damron stood as his body got chills and the church filled with the applause, the same applause he earned throughout the season and the applause he hopes to hear in the big leagues one day.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com.