By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2014 season was an outstanding one for the St. Joseph’s Hawks baseball team as they won a program record 35 games, including two in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The good news continued to roll in for two key members of that team as catcher Brian O’Keefe and right-hander Jordan Carter were selected in last week’s MLB Draft.
O’Keefe was selected in the 7th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Words can’t even describe how excited and happy I am,” O’Keefe tells KYW Newsradio. “It has been a dream of mine since I was three years old to play professional baseball. For everything to be coming true at this point, it’s just unbelievable.”
Listen To Podcast With Brian O’Keefe:
O’Keefe, who hails from Albany, New York, had a monster junior season in 2014. He hit .350 with a .423 OBP. He was tied for second in the A-10 with 7 home runs, knocked in 43 and scored a program single-season, record-tying 58 runs. The right-handed hitter says he had an idea that the Cardinals were interested in him leading up to the draft, and he says he was pulling for St. Louis to select him.
“It’s a funny story,” O’Keefe says. “When we were out in St. Louis for the A-10 Tournament, we got a chance to go over and watch a (Cardinals) game and I sent a picture to my mom and dad and I said, ‘This is where I want to play and this is where I want to live.’ And sure enough I got the call in the 7th round that I was a St. Louis Cardinal and I was smiling from ear to ear.”
O’Keefe is the highest St. Joe’s player taken in the MLB Draft since Jamie Moyer was selected in the 6th round by the Chicago Cubs back in 1984. Not a bad name to have included with yours in a conversation.
“It’s certainly special and it’s an honor and something I don’t take lightly,” O’Keefe says.
The man O’Keefe spent much of the season catching, Jordan Carter, was taken in the 22nd round by the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s something I never really could imagine,” Carter tells KYW Newsradio. “But it’s great and I’m really enjoying this moment.”
Carter, a graduate of Methacton High School in Montgomery County, went 10-4 this season in 14 starts with 3 complete games and a 2.45 ERA. In 95.2 innings, he struck out 81 batters and walked just 14. He says it all really came together for him as a senior.
“It was a little bit of everything,” Carter says. “Last year, our ace, Kyle Mullen, graduated. He was just tremendous for St. Joe’s for four years really. We kind of needed someone to step in there and fill his shoes and I felt that, as a senior, it was my job. It was my job to come in here and really take control of the staff and lead by example. That and just throwing three pitches for a strike this year – change-up, slider and fastball. It’s something I’ve been trying to do for four years and finally being able to throw any pitch at anytime really led to my success this year.”
Listen To Podcast With Jordan Carter:
The first stops for O’Keefe and Carter in the minor leagues are still yet to be officially determined.
This is the first time multiple Hawks were taken in the MLB Draft since 2011 when pitcher Ryan Kemp was taken in the 14th round by the Reds and fellow hurler A.J. Holland went in the 16th round to Atlanta.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.