MYRTLE BEACH - This was supposed to be a relaxing weekend for Zach Godley.
Fresh off winning a second consecutive Class A baseball title with Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Godley was headed to the Grand Strand for the South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star Game. In between attending various functions and spending time on the beach with family members, he and Red Raider teammate Don Sandifer are scheduled to pitch for the South 4-A/1-A team in one of two games scheduled for 1 p.m. today and Saturday.
With one text message received Thursday, Godley’s weekend plans were changed with the biggest, most shocking news of his life. The New York Mets used the eighth to last pick in the 50th and final round of this year’s Major League Draft to select the hard-throwing right-hander.
“It was a good surprise,” said Godley’s mom, Kelly, who’s also in Myrtle Beach. “Now he has a decision to make.
“This doesn’t happen to real people. This happens to other people. That’s something he and his daddy have to talk about.”
Scouts from the Mets, who selected the former Red Raider, Spartanburg Methodist College and University of South Carolina standout Mookie Wilson in the second round of the 1977 MLB draft, and crosstown rival New York Yankees kept a close eye on the 19-year-old Godley throughout his senior year. In just his second season on the mound at B-E, Godley finished 9-3 with a 2.24 earned run average and struck out 109 batters while walking just 22 batters.
For the second straight year, Godley was the victorious pitcher in the deciding game in the Best-of-Three Class A finals. He struck out nine batters, including the last seven retired, and allowed just three hits in the 7-1 win over Chesterfield.
Despite working out for the Mets in Greenville two weeks ago and the Yankees in Bamberg last week, Godley had not heard from either team in the days leading to the draft.
With the 1,514th overall pick, the Mets made Godley the first B-E player selected in the MLB draft since 2000 when Clint Collins was taken by the Cincinnati Reds. Godley and his family now have until Aug. 31 to make a decision on whether to sign with the Mets or head to SMC where he would be eligible for the MLB draft each of his two years there.
“When you’re 19, you really don’t know what you want to do,” Kelly Godley said. “His daddy and I told him you’ve got to do what you love and everyone doesn’t get this opportunity to do what you love. With (Zach) getting handed an opportunity to work … you love to play baseball and you’re getting paid to do that, you need to weigh all the good with the bad, you need to just sit down and think about it. This is a gift from God and it just doesn’t happen to everybody and he’s been real fortunate that things have worked out the way they have.”
“We’re real proud of Zack. Zack’s got good work ethics and whatever he does, we’ll support him and whatever decision he makes, we’ll support him in it.”
“My advice would be, he’s got to sit down and talk with him and see what they want to do and how much they think of him,” Bamberg-Ehrhardt head coach David Horton said. “Anything less than a college education plus your monetary value, whatever they think that is, I wouldn’t consider anything else. I think the college education would start the whole deal.”
Horton added Godley could take a similar path of former Red Raider Mookie Wilson. He spent two years at Spartanburg Methodist College before heading to the University of South Carolina.
Rather than sign a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drafted him in the fourth round in 1976, Wilson stayed at USC where he improved his draft stock and was signed by the Mets out of the second round.
Spartanburg Methodist baseball coach Tim Wallace expects to see Godley in a Pioneers’ jersey this fall given the likelihood he will not receive a lucrative contract and would be afforded the opportunity to vastly improving his draft status with SMC.
“He just gets more experience on the mound,” Wallace said. “He’s only thrown for a couple of years. I think he’ll develop a little more consistency. Obviously, he should develop more arm strength just because a lot of factors. He’s going to grow some and he’s going to have a pitching coach looking over his shoulder. Coach Horton does a great job over there, but there’s a big change that happens physically when you’re 18-19 years old. So, just some stuff that’s naturally going to kick in and you couple it with the experience you get. We play a tough schedule and there’s some expectations at our place. I just think that helps the kids get better.”
“In my mind, that’s a ‘no decision’, but I see it every year. I’m sure Zach’s excited and I’m sure he’s thrilled, but when you sit and think about it, then I think his best decision is go to school.”
Godley is currently a member of the Carolina Cyclones travel team, a decision encouraged by both the Mets and Wallace.