06/10/04 — MOC'S Hurba gets drafted by Texas

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MOC'S Hurba gets drafted by Texas

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on June 10, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Craig Hurba is still trying to make himself believe it.

The catcher for Mount Olive College ended a long struggle to achieve a dream Tuesday when the Texas Rangers drafted the New York native in the 38th round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Hurba, a recent MOC graduate and native of Maryland, New York, met with scout John Castleberry Wednesday night at Raleigh-Durham Airport to sign his contract. Hurba said he expects to be with the Rangers' Rookie League team in Arizona.

Texas has drafted players from this area before. Former Eastern Wayne and East Carolina standout Sam Narron was drafted two seasons ago and is now pitching for Class AA Frisco in the Texas League.

Hurba, who has worked out for several major league teams in the past three years, said he was not expecting to get drafted.

"I'd gotten used to being let down for the last five years with baseball," he said. "I didn't really ecpect it. I was hoping,but I really didn't believe it would happen."

On Wedesday, Hurba was watching the draft when he received a call from the Boston Red Sox. Hurba was told Boston would be drafting him in the next few rounds.

Fifteen minutes later, Castelberry called for the Rangers, giving Hurba the same message.

"Five minutes later, Castelberry called back," Hurba said. "He asked me if I was watching the draft, and I told him yes. He said, 'Well, your name's on there.' "

Hurba had an outstanding season at Mount Olive, hitting .408 with 20 doubles, 16 home runs and 75 RBI. He started nearly all of the Trojans' games at catcher or designated hitter and led the CVAC catchers in nearly every offensve category.

Hurba was a Division II all-region selection.

"I was a little surprised they drafted him, becasue he's a fifth-year guy," said Mount Olive coach Carl Lancaster. "Usually teams will just sign fifth-year guys after the draft is over instead of using up a pick. I guess they didn't want to see him get away."

Hurba saw that as evidence of Texas' faith in him.

"I'm 22 and a fifth-year senior," he said. "They have put a little bit of stock in me. I have some value to that organization."

"It;s been a lifelong dream," he said, "My goal has always been to play professional baseball, and I have finally made it. It's been a long, tough road for me, and everyone that knows me.

"It's a new beginning, a new dream an a bigger goal -- top make the majors. I'll work as hard as I can to get there."