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MLB Draft wait ends for more locals

Baseball: De Pinto drafted by White Sox on second day, as Emmons, Chapjian and Keener taken on third day.

June 09, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Joe De Pinto went out of his way to make sure that he saw his name scroll across the computer screen and was there to receive the phone call from whichever Major League Baseball team decided to take him.

Despite all his best laid plans, on Tuesday, De Pinto found himself at "Jersey Mike's" sandwich shop in La Cañada Flintridge when his dad called to tell him that the Chicago White Sox had drafted the St. Francis High graduate 651st overall in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"It was a dream for so long," De Pinto said.

Electing to follow the draft from his mom's office, as he said he does not get cell phone reception at his house, De Pinto decided to take a break for lunch and less than five minutes later his dad called. And seconds later, a scout from the White Sox called, as well.

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"At first, I was at lunch, but when I got back and saw my name on the screen," De Pinto said, "that's when it really started to set in."

While De Pinto's wait ended on the second day of the draft, three locals were taken on Wednesday — the third and final day — as Crescenta Valley High graduate Dustin Emmons, Hoover High and Glendale Community College product Sako Chapjian and Glendale Angeleno Jonathan Keener were all selected.

Emmons was drafted for the third time, as he was taken by the New York Mets in the 38th round with the 1,152nd pick, Chapjian was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 45th round with the 1,376th selection and Keener was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 32nd round with the 980th pick overall.

Drafted out of Crescenta Valley High by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, Emmons, a right-handed pitcher out of UC Riverside, was taken last season by the Florida Marlins in the 40th round before moving up two rounds with the Mets.

"We're excited for Dustin," said Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, who skippered Emmons for four seasons at the varsity level. "In a few days [after he signs his contract], he'll be a professional baseball player. That's the coolest thing."

While Torres was keeping an eye on the draft, Emmons was not. On Tuesday, he was busy helping his mom get ready for a graduation party, as he's set to receive his bachelor's degree in sociology on Saturday and on Wednesday he was putting his cell phone in his workout bag as he was headed to the gym before a scout from the Mets gave him a call.

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