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Conway selected by Braves

June 12, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

SMITHSBURG -- Professional baseball made the telephone call Josh Conway had been hoping for during his senior-week vacation to Ocean City, Md.

Conway's telephone conversation was with the Atlanta Braves, who made him a 42nd-round selection on the final day of the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday.

It wasn't the marquee draft pick like Stephen Strasburg's, but Conway's name will be forever the 1,258th to be selected in the 2009 draft.

"I'm happy and excited just to be drafted," said the Smithsburg graduate. "There are so many guys that get drafted you just have to be excited to be a part of it."

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Conway, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound pitcher/outfielder, was selected by the Braves as an outfielder. He had recently visited Turner Field, home of the Braves, for a workout in front of Atlanta scouts.

He hit .500 for Smithsburg this season, with seven doubles, five home runs, 19 RBIs, 29 runs scored and 16 stolen bases in 17 games. On the mound, Conway went 4-0 with a 1.00 earned run average and struck out 52 in 35 innings.

Now, Conway must decide by Aug. 15 whether he'll accept the Braves' offer, but history has shown that players drafted in later rounds who are graduating from high school, like Conway's situation, usually end up heading to college.

In Conway's case, that means he'll be bound for Coastal Carolina if he chooses that route.

"Knowing the round and the history makes the decision easier," said Conway, who also said he was just a little disappointed at his draft position but accepts it with enthusiasm.

Smithsburg coach Trey Cobb looked at the selection with a silver lining.

"Even 42nd, it's still an honor to be drafted," said Cobb. "He went through an experience being considered. If he goes to college, we'll see what he has become in three years. He has the intangibles, is a leader by example and played the game right."

Conway said if there is not signature on a contract's dotted line, he would begin a summer semester class at Coastal Carolina on July 11.

Players who are drafted but don't sign a professional contract can't be drafted again until their junior year in college.

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