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Hiser, Miner chosen in MLB draft

June 09, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

P.J. Hiser and David Miner each experienced the most exciting moments of their lives on Tuesday.

It was a telephone ringing.

That may sound mundane, but it signified the calls of a lifetime for Hiser and Miner. They were notification that they each had been selected during the second day of the annual major-league draft. Hiser was selected in the 29th round by the Cleveland Indians while Miner lasted until the 48th round, in which he was taken by the San Diego Padres.

It gave a feeling of accomplishment for the two South Hagerstown High products.

"This feels real good," Hiser said. "This is definitely a good feeling proving that all the hard work was worth it."

"This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me," said Miner outside the spring athletic banquet at South Hagerstown.

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For Hiser, the call from the Indians was the cap to a huge season and an offer to keep it going.

"I'm definitely going to go, no matter where they send me," Hiser said. "I just want to get my foot in the door."

Hiser came into his own this season, earning All-American and Big East Player of the Year honors as an outfielder and a pitcher at the University of Pittsburgh. He was drafted as an outfielder.

Hiser broke Pittsburgh's school record for home runs (21) and RBI (67) in a single season and ranked 15th in each category nationally. He was among Pitt's single-season leaders in runs scored (57) and hits (70). He was sixth in the NCAA in slugging percentage (.758).

On the mound, he finished with a 5-1 record and a 4.40 earned run average with one save. He had 49 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.

Hiser was selected in the 2001 draft in the 42nd round by the San Francisco Giants but bypassed the offer to go to Hagerstown Community College then Pittsburgh to improve his game and his draft standing.

It paid off with the call from the Indians, which came from a familiar voice.

"I got notified by the scout who followed me, Bob Mayer," Hiser said. "His son, Jim, was my roommate at college. It was kind of neat."

Hiser didn't know any of the details of his contract or the Indians' plans for him. He said he was expecting a phone call from Mayer on Tuesday night to get his instructions.

Meanwhile, Miner's instructions could have him taking the scenic route to get to San Diego, but he's ready to try anything to play for the Padres.

"I'm really happy about this," Miner said. "I'm getting the chance to go to a young program and work with a young team."

San Diego selected Miner as an outfielder, but he spent most of the season pitching or playing shortstop for South Hagerstown. It might force Miner to meet the Padres halfway - like in Kansas - before he heads to the minors.

Miner is scheduled to visit Barton County College, a junior college in Kansas, where he has an offer for a full scholarship for basketball. Miner said he also plans to play baseball.

"They would like me to go and play in a junior college for a year and then come out to them," Miner said. "That's what I will probably do."

If Miner goes to junior college, the Padres would retain his signing rights for one year, after which he would be eligible to enter the 2005 draft.

Miner was arguably Washington County's top all-around athlete this school year. He played quarterback and safety for South's football team and became the county's all-time scorer in boys basketball while leading the Rebels to the Class 2A semifinals. He hit .450 for the Rebels, who finished 10-9.

Tuesday's phone call from the Padres made all of it worthwhile.

"The first day went by (without a call) and I got worried," Miner said. "But the second day hit and I got the call. I was all excited. My family was all happy for me because everything all finally paid off."

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