Despite being drafted by Sox, Lucky sticking with college

By on June 13, 2018
Cocalico shortstop Nick Lucky makes a throw during the Eagles’ L-L League playoff game at Ephrata on May 12. This past week, Lucky was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Photo by Travis Boyd

Cocalico shortstop Nick Lucky makes a throw during the Eagles’ L-L League playoff game at Ephrata on May 12. This past week, Lucky was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Photo by Travis Boyd

Last Wednesday afternoon, Nick Lucky got the phone call he’s been waiting for ever since he picked up a baseball bat in his early childhood and fell in love with the sport.

On the other line was a representative of the Boston Red Sox, informing the Cocalico senior that his organization had just selected Lucky in the 14th round (430th overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.

“You always dream about it as a kid, and for it to actually happen is just a great feeling,” Lucky said of being drafted. “I was in the car when it happened and that’s when I got the call. Then after the guy hung up with me my phone just started blowing up with calls and texts and everything….It was just an exciting feeling and an honor to have my name called.”

Lucky, a left-handed hitting shortstop who batted .667 this past season with four homers and 23 RBI while leading the Eagles to their first post-season appearance in 12 seasons, is the first Cocalico player drafted since Eric Ackerman, who was selected by the Kansas City Royals out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2002.

Lucky said he had an inkling he could get drafted out of high school following a successful pre-draft workout he had in front of scouts the weekend before the draft.

“I did very well,” he said of the workout. “(The Red Sox) told me that they’d keep in touch but they never said what round or pick they were looking at so I really had no idea what was going to happen. I didn’t know if I was going to go in the seventh round or the 30th round, but it was just nice to go.”

Cocalico Coach Mike Bertolino said Lucky’s selection was well deserved.

“Obviously it’s such an amazing accomplishment for him,” Bertolino said. “I think it’s a testament to how hard he works on a daily basis. When you mix that kind of work ethic with the kind of athleticism he possesses, it’s one of those things you always think of in the back of your head. This might happen, this could really happen but you never believe it until you see it. So to see that come across the computer screen was a pretty surreal experience.”

“I know that is something he’s been working so hard for,” he continued. “It’s the work people don’t see. It’s the late-night runs, the weight lifting…it’s all the things that people don’t see on the field and that to me is really a testament to him and his family. He really did earn that opportunity, and it’s really cool as a coach to hang out with the guy for four years and coach him and see him rewarded with exactly what he wants.”

While it was his dream-come-true to get drafted and eventually have the opportunity to play in the Big Leagues, the 18-year-old Lucky had a huge decision to make since he was already committed to Coastal Carolina University.

Under Coach Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina has become one of the top Division One college baseball programs in the country, and in fact captured the NCAA championship just two years ago.

If Lucky chose to sign with the Red Sox, he would begin his pro career immediately and forfeit his college eligibility. If he’d make the decision to go to Coastal Carolina, the Red Sox would lose his rights and Lucky wouldn’t be eligible to get drafted again until after his junior season of college.

Admittedly it was a tough choice. But in the end, after talking it over with his family, Lucky made his decision.

“I’m going to college,” he said. “I just think how great of a program Coastal is, going there and playing for three or four years will just prepare me even more than I am right now to hopefully get another chance (to get drafted) once again after my three or four years at Coastal. The coaches there have been developing great baseball players ever since Coach Gilmore has been there. I just think that will be my best move to go there and hopefully develop as a player and hopefully that eventually leads to me being called higher (in the draft).”

Bertolino added, “I know college is something he’s had his eye on for a long time, and you know you are in a good spot when no matter what you pick you are right. He earned that. Obviously I’m going to support him know matter what he decided.”

Incidentally, four players off this year’s Coastal Carolina team were drafted last week, including shortstop Seth Lancaster, who went in the eighth round to the Phillies.

Lucky hopes his path leads to the same conclusion.

“Hopefully after three or four years, I’ll have the opportunity to pursue what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a young kid,” he said.

He said while he is undecided what he will study, he’s leaning toward Homeland Security “or something with business.”

Until he leaves for college sometime in early July, he’ll play shortstop for the Ephrata legion team, which he helped win a State title last summer.


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