The hints Greg Jacknewitz believed he may have been getting late in the season proved to be real after all.
In the 22nd round of the MLB draft June 14, Jacknewitz heard his name called by the San Francisco Giants with the 666th overall selection.
The 2013 Watterson High School graduate, who grew up in Delaware, recently completed his college career as a pitcher for Xavier University.
“The last couple weeks they’ve had a scout who’s been following me and showing some interest, but it kind of happened really quick,” Jacknewitz said. “I’m just really excited to keep playing and pursuing my dream of playing professional baseball.”
Jacknewitz helped the Watterson boys basketball team win the Division II state title as a senior in 2013 but showed well before that he could have a long future in baseball.
A 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander, Jacknewitz mixed a fastball in the range of 88-90 mph and a curveball to put together a productive career with the Eagles and Musketeers.
“(Jack was) a competitor in high school who won an awful lot of huge games on the mound,” Eagles coach Scott Manahan said. “I saw him pitch for Xavier two years in a row in deciding-series games of NCAA regionals. The Watterson baseball program and school are very happy for him.”
Jacknewitz went 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings as a junior for the Eagles in 2012 and then was 5-4 with a 2.22 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 60 innings as a senior when he made first-team all-district and Watterson was a Division II district runner-up.
He pitched in seven games for Xavier in 2014, going 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA, and then was 4-5 with a 3.07 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings in 20 appearances, including four starts, in 2015.
Jacknewitz won one game in 2016.
This season, he went 4-4 with a 5.03 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 68 innings, but his ERA was inflated when he gave up 10 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings during an 11-7 loss to Indiana on May 7.
Jacknewitz pitched four innings as the Musketeers lost 8-7 on June 4 in an NCAA Division I regional final at Louisville, a year after he started Xavier’s 14-5 loss to UC Santa Barbara in a regional championship game.
Xavier went 34-27 this season and won its second consecutive Big East tournament championship.
“Every week we’d have a game plan for the team we were facing, and I felt like that was one of the best things to help me,” Jacknewitz said. “The Giants are a top-class organization and I’m excited they’re giving me an opportunity. I’ll go to their team facility in Arizona, have a physical and then report to one of their minor league teams. (June 14) went by really fast.”