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Chambliss ready to roll with Rockies
Colorado takes former SEHS star in 17th round
Austin Chambliss was taken in the 17th round of the first-year player draft by the Colorado Rockies. - photo by File photo

Austin Chambliss was still waiting on the call from the Colorado Rockies on Friday afternoon, though he already knew he was their pick.

The Rockies took the former South Effingham High School baseball star with the 522nd overall pick in the 17th round of the First-Year Player Draft. He found out while tracking the draft online.

“My heart was racing,” he said of seeing his name pop up on the draft tracker. “It’s just everything I’ve been working for. The opportunity’s going to be great.”

Chambliss pitched last season for Middle Georgia College after transferring from Georgia Southern University.

At South Effingham, he pitched and played center field, helping guide the Mustangs to back-to-back state semifinals appearances.

“I’m excited for him,” said Mustangs coach Tony Kirkland.

Chambliss, a right-hander, throws in the low 90s and also boasts a “devastating” curveball, Kirkland said.

“It’s probably the best breaking ball I’ve seen in a long time,” the coach said.

Last year, former South Effingham star Josh Reddick was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round.

“I think the 17th is our round,” Kirkland said.

Yet the Rockies hadn’t even called Chambliss before the draft. The Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres had been in touch with the 6-foot-3 hurler. Those teams didn’t project what round they might choose Chambliss.

“They just said it was looking good,” he said.

The competition MGC faced also helped, Chambliss said.

He pitched this past season mostly in relief and doesn’t know what the Rockies will want him to do.

“I’d do anything they like, I guess,” he said.

Chambliss said he was relaxed in the days leading up to the draft. But seeing his name on the screen was different.

“I didn’t know what to really look for,” he said. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s just crazy.”

He saw what Reddick, now playing for the Red Sox Single-A franchise in Greenville, S.C., went through last year, so he has an idea of what to expect. Colorado’s Rookie League team is in Casper, Wyo., and the Casper Rockies begin play June 19.

“I think I’m ready,” Chambliss said. “I think I’m more than ready.”