CLINTON — The Seattle Mariners organization drafted 40 players in the beginning of last month, many of which drifted in different directions — some went to High-A Modesto, many went to the Arizona League and a few opted to pursue a collegiate career.
Keegan McGovern and Zach Scott – drafted in the ninth and 32nd round, respectively – have made their way to Clinton, eager to prove their professional worth while the LumberKings push for a Midwest League playoff berth in the second half of the season.
McGovern and Scott already interact like old friends and have plans of living together in town while in pursuit of a childhood dream.
Not to mention the duo connects on the diamond, too, as Scott scored McGovern with a double in Tuesday night's 5-3 victory over Kane County.
McGovern makes early impact
Keegan McGovern was at lunch with friends when his phone screen buzzed with a notification from the MLB app:
Seattle has drafted Georgia OF Keegan McGovern in the ninth round of the MLB first-year player draft.
“I looked down at my phone and told my friends ‘I think I just got drafted’ and as soon as that happened, I had a couple calls from the Mariners,” McGovern said.
McGovern, a left-handed hitting outfielder from the University of Georgia, made an early impression at Ashford University Field, clearing the fence for his first professional home run on June 24 in just his 27th at-bat.
The 22-year-old said it was a memory he will cherish for the rest of his life.
“That was really awesome … for a second, I didn’t know if it was going to go out or not,” McGovern said. “I smiled the whole time rounding the bases then seeing everyone happy for me as I came in was a moment I’ll remember forever.”
McGovern continues to produce in the middle of Clinton’s lineup, sporting a .308/.590/.364 line heading into Tuesday night’s action.
With Clinton expected to be McGovern’s home for the remainder of the season, he has a simple goal.
“I’m just a guy that likes to put in work and do whatever the team needs to win,” McGovern said. “I’m looking to put in the work and get this team a ring at the end of the year.”
Scott follows in dad’s footsteps
Zach Scott has already been on two teams during his young pro career, beginning with a brief stint in the California League with Modesto before packing for the Midwest.
But he’s used to it by now.
His father, Dick, entered the Oakland Athletics system as a player in 1989 and became a manager just two years later. Ultimately, he worked his way through the coaching ranks to serve as the bench coach for the New York Mets for two seasons and currently is the Miami Marlins’ Director of Player Development.
“I grew up in the lifestyle,” Scott said. “Ever since I was born, it was baseball. I grew up in locker rooms and around Minor League baseball fields.”
Scott has hit for average through his first seven games with Clinton, posting an impressive .308 mark (8-for-26) thus far.
While Scott admitted the past month has been a whirlwind, he says he is beginning to feel comfortable in Clinton.
“I’ve already been able to learn from Denny [Hocking] and the staff here,” Scott said. “I can already tell that they have helped me out… things are moving really fast but I am starting to feel settled now.
Scott transferred to Saint Leo (Florida) from Colorado Christian at the beginning of last season and immediately found his stride, hitting .312 with eight home runs.
“It was a great experience,” Scott said of his junior season. “They really helped me transition into becoming another level of a baseball player.”
The LumberKings return to action for Fourth of July action at 6:30 Wednesday evening at Ashford University Field, where Clinton will take on Kane County.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story indicated that Keegan McGovern left University of Georgia as a junior but he actually completed his senior season as a Bulldog. Also, the original version suggested that Zach Scott was drafted in the 52nd round, when it was actually the 32nd. The Clinton Herald sincerely regrets the errors.