They used their first pick on a college right-hander with an impressive cut fastball and created some buzz Friday by selecting a catcher from The Citadel in the fifth round whose great, great, great uncle happens to be Shoeless Joe Jackson.But the Texas Rangers most interesting pick over the first two days of the First-Year Player Draft might have come in the second round late Thursday night. With the 62nd overall pick, the Rangers went with right-hander Akeem Bostick out of West Florence High in South Carolina.Bostick, who intends to sign with the Rangers in the next week, is 6-foot-4 and certainly could become a starter in the big leagues down the road. But his path from a small town in South Carolina to a second-round pick is unique.Think Blind Side.Bostick grew up in a rough area of West Florence, S.C., but got close to a family of one of his youth-league teammates, Avery Hart. Bostick and Hart started playing together when they were 5 years old, and went on to play on a travel team started by Averys dad, Randy. Unlike the Blind Side, Bostick had a close relationship with his mom, Linda, but she was working two jobs and couldnt take him to many practices or games. So, the Harts began driving Bostick to baseball functions and he eventually started living with Hart family. Randy, his wife, Julie known as Momma J brothers Avery and Brayton, sister Danielle and another brother, Austin, who died in 2010, all welcomed Bostick with open arms.It was working out so well and his mom liked the fact that we were taking care of him like he was one of our own that he started living with us when he turned 11, except for school days, Randy Hart said. He kind of became part of our family.Said Bostick: Theyre like my second family. I can come over here if I need to stay the night or whatever. The door is always open.Hart, who served as Bosticks youth-league coach, remembers a time when Bostick almost walked away from baseball at age 13. At the time, Bostick had lost interest in the sport and took a much-needed break.He eventually came back to it, and showed his true potential between his sophomore and junior seasons. Bostick, who was also a standout football and basketball player, grew about six inches that summer and his fastball went from the 79-80 mph range to 90 mph.It was exponential growth after that, Randy Hart said.Bostick went on to have impressive seasons his final two years in high school. This season, he went 10-0 with a 0.62 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 56 innings. He also batted .316 with four home runs and 15 RBIs.The Rangers loved his loose arm and downhill throwing motion, which made him the choice late Thursday night. Of course, it was quite a scene at the Hart house when Akeem Bostick was announced on TV.I was holding back tears and shaking, Randy Hart said. We had a big hug for a good 60 seconds. I couldnt have been happier.Neither could have Bostick. He said he will forgo a scholarship to Georgia Southern to begin his professional baseball career, which will surely add a few more chapters to his story.In the long run, Ive always wanted to be a baseball player ever since I was a little guy, Bostick said. I was shocked when I got drafted. I really didnt have an instant reaction, but everybody around me went crazy. I was like, Is this a dream? Nah, this is real life.Local updateThe fourth round proved to be a big round for area players with four being taken.• LHP Cody Dickson, a Mansfield Summit product who played at Sam Houston State, was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 119th overall pick.• RHP Andrew Mitchell from TCU went to the Chicago White Sox with the 123rd overall pick.• RHP Austin Kubitza, a Colleyville Heritage product who played at Rice, went 126th overall to the Detroit Tigers.• 1B Brian Ragira, an Arlington Martin product who played at Stanford, went 132nd overall to the San Francisco Giants.Other area players drafted include:• RHP Casey Shane from Burleson Centennial, went 171st overall to the Cleveland Indians.• RHP Jacob Rhame, a Denton Guyer graduate who went to Oklahoma before transferring to Grayson County College, was chosen 184th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.• 3B Cody Gunter, a 2012 graduate of Flower Mound who played at Grayson County College, was taken 196th overall by the Washington Nationals.• LHP Kyle Bartsch, a 2009 graduate of L.D. Bell who played at South Alabama, went 204th overall to the Kansas City Royals.• SS Aaron Blanton, a 2011 graduate of Arlington High who played at Richland College, was taken with the 262nd overall pick by the Miami Marlins.• OF Henry Yates, a senior left fielder from Texas Wesleyan, was taken in the ninth round, 272th overall, by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison