By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – West Chester University has established itself as one of the premier baseball programs in Division II. Winners of a National Championship in 2012, the Golden Rams have also produced their fair share of MLB draft picks in recent years.
The latest name added to that list is junior right-hander Joe Gunkel, who was taken over the weekend by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2013 Draft.
“It was quite a thrill seeing my name roll across the screen,” Gunkel tells KYW Newsradio. “Looking forward to the opportunity.”
Gunkel was a key piece of that 2012 West Chester team that won it all – he threw a complete game shutout in the championship game against Delta State and was named MVP of the tournament. In 2013, Gunkel went 7-4 for the Golden Rams, putting together a 2.44 ERA in 11 starts. After he signs, he expects to be sent down to the Gulf Coast League.
“I think I’m going down into the minor leagues as a starter,” Gunkel says. “Trying to master my craft there and just see what happens. Just happy to get the opportunity and whatever they allow me to do I’ll be fine with.”
The Hershey, Pennsylvania, native says his time with the Golden Rams helped prepare him for pro ball.
“I had a great time at West Chester,” Gunkel says. “You see a lot of good competition in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, there’s a lot of good baseball teams. Just the opportunity to play at that level, I think that playing on that very frequent basis, and all the travelling that you do, gets you ready for (minor league baseball).”
Gunkel finished his career 7th all-time in wins at West Chester with 21.
He is set become the 4th former Golden Ram currently playing minor league baseball, joining INF Joe Wendle (Indians), C Bob Stumpo (Phillies) and LHP Frank Gailey (A’s).
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.