Quinnipiac’s Gress Headed To Braves
By Zach Smart
Randy Gress needed to get away from it all. He needed to fend off the inevitable waves of anxiety that swarmed his stomach like wild mosquitoes. After watching the Tampa Bay Devil Rays select Vanderbilt’s David Price with the first pick, along with the laundry-list of other first, second, and third round selections in the 2007 MLB draft, the Quinnipiac University infielder decided that he had had enough.
Gress got the keys to his jeep and cruised up to his grandparents’ beach house in Westbrook, Conn., where he relaxed and did his best to avoid the tension of finding out when and if he would be drafted.
Suddenly, however, Gress received a phone call from teammate and now-Baltimore Oriole Pat Egan. At first, Gress thought he was in the midst of a practical joke. After asking Egan all the exact details, however, he soon realized he wasn’t. His childhood dream had just come to reality. He had been selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round.
“I was about to pick up the phone and call home to see what round the draft was in and Pat called me,” said Gress.
“I can’t even explain how I feel right now. It’s a dream come true. It’s something I’ve worked hard for, and it really is a great feeling. I really can’t wait to get started.”
Gress, a power hitter who helped steer the Bobcats to the Northeast Conference regular season crown and the highest single-season win total (29 victories) in the program’s rich history, had being weighing his pro stock before the 2007 season kicked off. Following the season, Gress said he received positive feedback from a bevy of teams. Bobcats coach Dan Gooley had said since the end of Gress’ junior season (when he hit .292 with a team-high 11 home runs), that he felt Gress had some pro potential.
The Shelton product proved Gooley right his senior year. Gress batted a robust .297, clubbing 12 homers while registering 45 RBI. Gress also sported a slugging percentage of .586 and scored a team-high 47 runs, en route to being named Akadema/NEC Player of the Week on the final day of the regular season.
Gress was chosen with the 558th pick of the MLB draft. He’s slated to report to Atlanta’s rookie camp this week, which will take place at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
As Gress vaulted into the upper-tier of the nation’s scholastic baseball players, he rounded out a quartet of Quinnipiac seniors that have taken their athletic careers to the next level this season.
Reid Cashman of the men’s hockey team signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in May. Following this, Adam Gonzalez of the basketball team inked a professional contract with Carolina of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN), Puerto Rico’s professional league. The aforementioned Egan, who the Baltimore Orioles owned the rights of after drafting him twice in the past, signed a minor league deal with the club in late May.
Now it’s Gress’ turn.
“I didn’t think it would be this early,” admitted Gress. “Everything is so up in the air (with the draft), there’s always a chance it might not happen at all.”