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Jun, 2017

Six former PONY players selected in first round of 2017 Major League Baseball Draft

PONY Baseball is proud to announce that six players from affiliate leagues were drafted in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft earlier this week. 

2nd overall - Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Stevenson Ranch, CA (Notre Dame HS/William S. Hart PONY Baseball):
Already being prophesied as baseball's next "great one," Greene wowed Major League scouts and anyone who ever witnessed him play with his fastball that topped out at 102 mph, effortless fielding ability and ability to hit to all fields. The USA Baseball National Team hurler finished a sensational high school career earlier this spring in which in four years and 121.1 innings on the mound, Greene recorded a 1.62 ERA, 145 strikeouts to just 31 walks and a .183 opponent's batting average.

9th overall - Milwaukee Brewers: Keston Hiura, 2B, Valencia, CA (UC Irvine/William S. Hart PONY Baseball): 
- A Division I preseason All-American by numerous publications, Hiura proved to be worth the hype for UC Irvine this season, as he led the nation with a .442 BA and a .567 on-base percentage. He also finished among the country's leaders in walks, doubles and slugging percentage. Hiura was named the Big West Conference's Player of the Year, despite his team failing to reach a Regional. Hiura also was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist for the nation's player of the year.

18th overall - Detroit Tigers: Alex Faedo, RHP, Tampa, FL (Univ. of Florida/Town N' Country PONY Baseball):
- Another preseason All-American and veteran leader for the University of Florida, Faedo has put together a sensational junior campaign, while leading his team to an SEC Tournament championship and an appearance in the College World Series. The fireballer has put up 135 strikeouts to just 36 walks in 109.1 innings pitched. In 17 starts, Faedo has gone 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA and a team-high six shutouts, while owning hitters with a .221 BAA. He was also named to the All-SEC Second Team in May for his efforts. This past weekend, Faedo came up huge in critical spots for Florida. On Saturday, he recorded nine strikeouts in four shutout innings for the Gators, as his squad defeated Wake Forest 2-1 in Game One of the NCAA Super Regional. On Monday, he came in to close the final two innings and held the Demon Deacons scoreless, only allowed a walk and a hit, while striking out three to advance Florida to the College World Series after a 3-0 victory. Watch Faedo this Sunday when Florida takes on TCU in Omaha, Nebraska at 7 p.m. ET/US. Faedo also was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist for the nation's player of the year.

19th overall - San Francisco Giants: Heliot Ramos, OF, Maunabo, PR (Leadership Christian Academy/Boy's Baseball of Puerto Rico PONY):
- Ramos burst onto the scene last summer when he recorded a triple, single and monster home run at the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field (Watch the home run HERE), but fans who attended the Pony League World Series in 2014 knew about him years ago. During that tournament, Ramos was named the Wilson Sporting Goods Batting Champion for being the player with the best batting average. In that World Series, Ramos hit .667 (13-for-20) with two home runs, four doubles, nine RBI, seven runs scored & four stolen bases. 

28th overall - Toronto Blue Jays: Nate Pearson, RHP, Oldsmar, FL (College of Central Florida/Wellswood Sports Association PONY): 
- Pearson dominated the Junior College circuit this season for the Patriots by tossing 81.0 innings in 13 starts, recording 118 strikeouts to just 23 walks and owning a sensational 1.56 ERA. For his efforts, he was named to the FCSAA All-State Second Team and All-Mid-Florida Conference First Team, respectively. Pearson also was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist for the nation's player of the year.

32nd overall - Cincinnati Reds: Jeter Downs, SS, Miami, FL (Monsignor Edward Pace HS/Tamiami Youth Baseball Association)
- The Colombian-born Downs, who, yes, was named after New York Yankee great Derek Jeter put together a sensational senior campaign for Monsignor Edward Pace High School, batting .412, while hitting 12 home runs with 37 RBI and 37 stolen bases. 

PONY sends its congratulations to these six ball players and their families, as well as any other former PONY player who was drafted.

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