MOC duo drafted
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 13, 2009 11:11 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Ready for the next challenge.
That's how head coach Carl Lancaster described the two most recent draft picks from Mount Olive College.
Pitcher B.J. Dail was selected on the second day of the draft in the 17th round by the Chicago Cubs. Third baseman Rich Racobaldo had to wait until the third day of selections to hear his name called by the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Rich is a kid that is at his best in big games," said Lancaster. "He has a lot of talent and is a pure athlete. B.J. has another level when he's on the mound, and that is why he has a realistic chance."
Dail, a transfer from the University of North Carolina, made a big impact on Trojan pitching coach Aaron Akin in his one-year stint in Mount Olive. The hard-throwing junior compiled a 7-0 record over the course of 11 appearances.
"Between the chalk lines, he is the best pitcher I have coached," said Akin. "He has four different pitches and he can locate them all."
Over the last three seasons Mount Olive has produced nine major league draft picks. None have been as highly regarded by pro scouts as Dail.
"It's easy to see what the pro guys like about his game," said Akin. "He throws as hard as any guy we've had and he can dominate the game by getting his curve ball and changeup over the plate."
Racobaldo did not garner the same kind of fanfare as Dail, but his athletic build and strong work ethic proved to be critical in the Trojans; run to the Division II College World Series title in 2008.
"When Rich was playing at Louisburg, I happened to catch a tournament game of his," said Lancaster. "He had a huge game, and he continued that with us. He is just a great big game player."
During the 2009 season, Racobaldo carried a .417 batting average, hit 15 home runs and drove in 64 runs. Racobaldo played shortstop, third base and outfield during his time at MOC.
His versatility and propensity for being a clutch hitter drew a long look from several pro scouts.
"Rich actually filled out a lot of recruiting stuff for different teams," said Lancaster. "His selection coming so late was basically a reflection of his senior status. Teams were not going to use a pick on a guy that they knew had no college eligibility left."
Having players selected by MLB clubs in each of the last three drafts has helped Mount Olive in terms of recruiting. The Trojans can point to Racobaldo and Dail as role models when they look for the next crop of college talent.
"Having guys get an opportunity to play in the pros just gives us an icebreaker when we talk to kids," said Lancaster. "We used to have a lot of one-way conversations with kids. Now those kids are starting to take notice."
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