The Bishop Hendricken baseball program is no stranger to success. More and more, success is also happening beyond the confines of their field on Warwick Avenue.
For the third consecutive year, two Hendricken graduates heard their names called in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Tom Pannone was selected in the ninth round by the Cleveland Indians out of the College of Southern Nevada, while Jeff Roy was picked in the 18th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of the University of Rhode Island.
Pannone and Roy, who patrolled the same outfield for the Hawks in 2010, join the growing list of Hendricken draftees. Pannone was also drafted last year out of high school, while another former Hawk outfielder, Evan Marzilli, was drafted in the eighth round out of South Carolina. In 2011, Dan Gamache was drafted in the sixth round by Pittsburgh out of Auburn University, while Chris Costantino was selected in the 43rd round out of the junior college ranks.
At their alma mater, the feeling was excitement for the latest draftees.
“They’ve both been tremendous parts of our success, so I’m really happy for them,” Hendricken head coach Ed Holloway said.
Pannone has been in this situation before. Last year, he had a commitment to the University of Miami when the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 33rd round. He ultimately opted for the junior-college ranks and the College of Southern Nevada, a powerhouse most famous for the season Major League star Bryce Harper spent there in 2010.
The move to a junior college kept his options open – players who attend four-year colleges cannot be drafted until after their junior seasons, while junior-college players are eligible for the draft at any point.
The Indians liked what they saw from Pannone’s spring in Nevada and they made their move with the 261st pick.
Pannone was listed in the draft as a left-handed pitcher. He was a two-way star for Hendricken last year and the Cubs drafted him as an outfielder. At Southern Nevada, he also played both ways, but did his best work on the mound. The 6’1, 195-pounder went 6-2 with a 1.84 ERA and a team-best 78 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched.
“Tommy had a great career,” Holloway said. “He finished it off great with a great performance at McCoy. He’s a great kid.”
Roy, a junior at the University of Rhode Island and the 2012 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, was selected by the Pirates with the 539th pick. The 5’9, 175-pound outfielder hit .285 this season with a .392 on-base percentage. He was 30-for-30 in stolen bases.
In his A-10 Player of the Year season last year, he led the team in hitting with a .356 batting average. He slugged .487 and had a .443 on-base percentage. He stole 22 bases and hit .421 in conference games.
Roy is the second Hendricken product to be drafted by the Pirates in three years, joining Gamache. Roy is expected to sign with the Pirates, according to several reports.
“Jeff is one of the hardest workers we’ve had,” Holloway said. “He gave us everything he had every single day at practice, every single game. He never took a day off. It’s good to see that he got the opportunity to play pro ball.”
Pannone and Roy were two of three Rhode Island natives selected in the draft. The other is Lincoln High School senior Nick Zammarelli, who was selected by the Red Sox with the 833rd pick. Three players were also drafted out of Bryant University – Kevin Brown, Joseph Michaud and Pete Kelich.
As for the Hawks, they’ll be hoping the draft streak continues, although Holloway wouldn’t mind seeing a few of his former players end up in pinstripes.
“I’m just joking, but I always say I’m a Yankee fan, I wish one of these guys would get drafted by the Yankees,” Holloway said.