Three ballplayers who started in local youth leagues and went on to become teammates at St. Mary’s High were selected for pro teams this week.
Ty Kelly and Kyle Jensen, both 2006 graduates of St. Mary’s, and Kevin Childs, a 2005 St. Mary’s graduate, were among the college players selected during the Major League Baseball draft. All three got their start in Tracy Little League and all three played on the Rams’ 2005 team that won the San Joaquin Athletic Association championship back when the SJAA had 10 teams, including Tracy and West High schools.
While the MLB is a big step, Jensen said that he’s prepared himself by staying active in top summer leagues.
“Just the opportunity to play at the next level is exciting,” Jensen said. “It’s always been a dream.”
Jensen, a junior outfielder at St. Mary’s College of Moraga, was the 368th draft pick, chosen by the Florida Marlins in the 12th round. Jensen hadn’t signed with the Marlins as of Friday afternoon, and said he and the team are still in contract negotiations.
At St. Mary’s High, he pitched and played first base, and was the SJAA’s pitcher of the year in 2005. The Gaels at St. Mary’s College saw that his speed and throwing arm gave him potential as an outfielder.
This is Jensen’s second year on the All-West Coast Conference team after he batted .286 for the year with 15 home runs, 13 doubles, three triples and 40 runs batted-in. Highlights for the year included a walk-off grand-slam against University of Nevada, Reno, on March 24, and the next week he went 3-for-3, all home runs, against Nevada.
He batted .333 overall at St. Mary’s College, and his 28 home runs for the Gaels is second-best in the school’s history, six shy of a school record. He is one of four Gaels to be picked on the second day of the MLB draft.
Kelly, a junior infielder at University of California, Davis, was one of two Aggie players picked on the second day of the draft. The Baltimore Orioles chose him in the 13th round, and he was the 386th pick overall. He has twice received Big West Conference All-Conference honors, as a second-team infielder last year and as an honorable mention this year.
His father, Patrick Kelly, said Ty, who is a junior at Davis, has signed with the Orioles and will join the team as he finishes his senior year. His numbers for his year include a .307 batting average with 66 base hits, including 20 doubles and 40 RBIs. In his sophomore year, Kelly led the conference in batting with a .397 average and had 94 base hits.
Kevin Childs, who pitched for St. Mary’s and gradated in 2005, is a junior at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. The Los Angeles Dodgers picked him in the 36th round, the 1,087th draft pick
Childs is a right-handed pitcher who served as a reliever for the Wildcats, pitching in 8 1/3 innings in nine games where he struck out 10 batters and had a 2.16 earned-run average.
He attended Williams Middle School as a youth and then went to San Joaquin Delta College before he transferred to Culver-Stockton.