From this year’s graduating class, 2 players have advanced on to collegiate play:
- Caelen Ball (1B), of the Austin Texans, has accepted an offer to play for the University of Houston at Victoria, TX
- Micah Davis (RHP), of the Houston HCYA Eagles, has accepted an offer to play for Rice University, TX
This bring the total HWSA Alumni tally to 156 players who have gone on to play college ball. An impressive total, isn’t it? Check out the full list here…
And our alumni haven’t stopped there. We know of 7 HWSA alumni who went on to the Minor leagues:
- Matt Merrill (RHP), c/o ’17, of the Tulsa NOAH Jaguars, was drafted out of high school by the Houston Astros in the 37th round, and played on two of their minor league teams at Rookie level from 2017-2018. The NAIA reinstated his amateur status in 2019, and he pitched in the 2019 and 2020 seasons for the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Just a few months ago, Matt was signed by the Tulsa Drillers, a AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, so his story isn’t over yet! Go Matt we’re praying and cheering for you!
- Patrick Goetze (RHP), c/o ’13, of the Raleigh WCHS Warriors, was drafted in 2013 by the Boston Red Sox in the 36th round, and played in their minors system up to A+ from 2013-2017
- Jake Smith (RHP), c/o ’08, of the Augusta GA CSRA Crusaders, played at Darton State College, GA and Campbell University, NC. He was drafted in 2011 by the San Francisco Giants in the 48th round, – after serving as the groundskeeper for the Giants’ A affiliate Augusta Green Jackets, where he attended a tryout. Jake played in their minors system from 2012-2016 through AA before being claimed by the San Diego Padres (see below)
- Kevin Winn (SS), c/o ’05, of the Middle Tennessee (Nashville) Monarchs, was drafted in 2009 by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round, and played in their minors system up to A that year
- Joel Hartman (1B/3B/OF), c/o ’02, of the Bradenton FL Manatee HEAT, after playing at Southeastern College, FL and Palm Beach Atlantic University, FL, played for several independent minor league teams (Texarkana TX, Corpus Christi TX, Bay Area CA, Washington, White Sands NM, Roswell NM) from 2008-2011
- Matthew Betsill (3B/1B/SS), c/o ’02, of the Atlanta South Christian Knights, was drafted out of Furman University, SC in 2005 by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round, and played in their minors system up to A+ from 2005-2007
- Dennis Winn (2B/SS/3B), c/o ’02, of the Middle Tennessee (Nashville) Monarchs, and older brother of Kevin Winn, was drafted out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 48th round, and after playing in college at Western Kentucky University and Louisiana Tech University, played in the Phillies’ minors system up to A from 2007-2008
To our knowledge, there is only one HWSA alumnus who has made it to an MLB roster. Jake Smith, eight years after competing as a senior for the Augusta Crusaders in the 2008 HWSA tournament, was waived in July 2016 by the San Francisco Giants AA team in Richmond (after 4½ years in their system). He was probably wondering if his baseball career was coming to an end, short of his ultimate goal of making it to the majors. Providentially, the San Diego Padres weren’t about to let an arm of his talent clear waivers; they claimed him and soon elevated him to their MLB roster for the remainder of the 2016 season.
Making 4 appearances from the Padres’ bullpen that season, Smith allowed just 2 runs, 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 3. His career MLB ERA is a very respectable 4.50 (as is his minors ERA at 3.23). It was a short stint in the Majors, as San Diego sent him to AAA in 2017, but in that short time, Smith validated the Padres’ belief in him and proved he could compete at the MLB level.
Hats off, Jake, for making your dream come true, and for showing everyone affiliated with the HWSA tournament that with talent and lots of hard work, it’s possible for homeschool ballplayers to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Please contact us if you have contact information for any of these players. We would love to write up their stories on the HWSA website so our community can hear about their baseball journey.