JOHNSTOWN - For the first time since 2006, an area baseball player was selected in the Major League Baseball draft.
Broadalbin-Perth graduate Matt Gage, who lives in Johnstown, was taken in the 10th round with the 298th pick by the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
"It's exciting. It's a childhood dream come true," Gage said. "It's a lot of fun that's for sure. I've always wanted to play in the major leagues since my dad first put a ball in my hand when I was just two years old. It's an overwhelming feeling but I'm really excited that the Giants liked me and have given me a chance to start my professional career."
Broadalbin-Perth graduate Matt Gage throws to the plate last summer while playing for the Chatham Angelers of the Cape Cod League. Gage was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 10th round of the Major League Baseball draft Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Chatham Anglers)
Gage is the first area player since Johnstown graduate Derick Himpsl to be selected in the MLB draft. Himpsl was taken in the 50th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2006.
"I was just hoping I was picked today. That was a big thing," Gage said. "I knew coming into today that a lot of teams liked me, but when I saw some of the players getting drafted I started to get nervous."
Gage, a 2011 B-P grad, went 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 16 starts with four complete games this season as a junior at Siena. He broke his own program single-season record with 90 strikeouts and stands second in school history with 212 strikeouts for his career.
Despite his success this season, Gage was nervous as he followed the draft.
"I wanted to go little bit earlier, but it is what it is, and I'm happy the Giants liked me enough to take me in the 10th round," Gage said. "It's overwhelming."
Gage, a 6-4, 240-pound left-handed pitcher, becomes the 14th Siena player to be selected in the MLB draft since 1996. Ira Tilton (fifth round - Philadelphia 1996), Jim Howard (sixth round - Baltimore 1983) and Todd Donovan (eighth round - San Diego 1999) are the only players in Siena history to be drafted higher than Gage.
"As of right now, I plan on starting my professional career," Gage said when asked if he plans to return to Siena for his senior season. "It's been a lifelong childhood dream to get the chance to play professional baseball. To able to do that after three years, instead of four years, is amazing."
If Gage does reach an agreement with the Giants, he would become the 42nd former Saint to sign a professional baseball contract and one of six former Saints currently under contract with a Major League organization.
Four Siena players - Billy Harrell (Indians, Red Sox), Gary Holle (Rangers), Tim Christman (Rockies) and John Lannan (Nationals, Phillies, Mets) - previously reached the major leagues.
"The Giants are a great organization," Gage said. "They have a proven track record of drafting guys who make it to the big leagues. Siena prepared me for this opportunity and [Siena] coach [Tony] Rossi really helped me throughout the process. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of the Siena College family and be able to start my career on a high note after all that we accomplished as a team this spring."
This season for Siena, Gage pitched a 10-inning, 130-pitch performance allowing just one earned run in his Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament start as the Saints went on to capture the program's fifth conference title and first since 1999. In the NCAA Tournament on May 6, Gage went toe-to-toe with TCU ace Brandon Finnegan, who was drafted 17th overall in the first round by the Kansas City Royals. Gage matched Finnegan pitch for pitch, going the first nine innings allowing just six hits and one earned run while striking out five as the Saints narrowly missed upsetting the eventual regional champions with a 2-1 loss in 11 innings. Gage was later named to the all-Fort Worth Regional Tournament Team.
During his sophomore season in 2013, Gage was named a first-team All-MAAC selection and following the season pitched with the Chatham Anglers where he was named an all-star in the Cape Cod League. He also played for the Pittfield Suns of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in 2012 and the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in 2012.
Gage is looking forward to the next step in his baseball journey.
"My goal for the future is learning from the organization. They have a lot of high hopes for me," Gage said. "I hope that I can come in and learn from the guys in the organization. Being able to be coached by professional coaches will definitely help. I hope I learn fast and get to the big leagues fast."
The draft began Thursday with the first and second rounds, and continued Friday with the third through 10th rounds. It will conclude today with rounds 11 to 40.