• Mt. Juliet pitcher opts for Vandy over MLB

    By Jared Felkins -

    Though recent Mt. Juliet High School graduate Ethan Smith wasn’t selected in the Major League Baseball Draft that started Monday and ended Wednesday, the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher still has big things on the horizon.

    “Ethan entertained a few offers Sunday and Monday night but has elected to attend Vanderbilt,” his dad, David Smith, said Wednesday. “He will arrive at campus later this month. The entire draft was a great experience for him, from all the team visits to the pre-draft workout. He’s looking forward to Vanderbilt, and since he is a sophomore-eligible draft guy, he can do this all again in two years.”

    The Vanderbilt signee was projected as a pick in the first two rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft.

    “We don’t know exactly where, we heard he’s projected in the top two rounds,” Mt. Juliet coach Mark Purvis said last week of Smith, who topped out at 95 mph and was regularly at 90-93 this past season as he went 8-0 with an 0.90 earned-run average and 80 strikeouts in around 50 innings.

    Smith signed with the Commodores in November. He was in Atlanta for a pre-draft workout that involved multiple teams last Thursday, Purvis said.

    Purvis said Smith is healthy now after a late-season biceps strain sustained when he caught his spikes during a May 1 start at Lebanon’s Brent Foster Field. Purvis said Smith didn’t look right during a District 9-AAA tournament game against Station Camp and pulled him after about 60 pitches as the Golden Bears had a big lead.

    But after the Bears won the district championship, Smith couldn’t make an expected start in the May 14 Region 5-AAA opener against Rossview, which shut out top-ranked Mt. Juliet and eventually won the state championship.

    “He would have been OK if we had gotten to Friday (May 18 sectional),” Purvis said. “He just couldn’t go Monday.”

    Wilson Central Hall of Famer James Adkins was taken in the 13th round out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies but went to play for the University of Tennessee, from where he was take in the supplemental first round by the Los Angeles Dodgers following his junior season and signed.

    Cumberland pitcher Chris Smith, who was personally scouted by Dodger legend Tommy Lasorda at Woody Hunt Stadium, was taken seventh overall in 2001 by the Baltimore Orioles. But the left-hander’s career was immediately derailed by injuries and never really got started. No Cumberland players were selected in this year’s draft. 

    Democrat sports editor Andy Reed contributed to this report.

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