Delta State University senior first baseman and Cincinnati, Ohio native Zack Shannon found out Wednesday that he will get the chance to continue his playing career.
Shannon was selected as the 459th overall pick in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday.
“It’s very exciting to get my opportunity to play pro ball,” Shannon said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed off.”
The 21-year-old concluded his career with one of the best seasons in Mississippi Collegiate history this year by becoming the first player in the state to eclipse the 30-home run mark in a season with 31. He scored 73 runs with 82 hits, 14 doubles and two triples and set a school record in RBIs with 93. He finished with a .955 slugging percentage, a .504 on-base percentage and a .406 batting average in 53 games.
In Shannon’s two-year career at Delta State University, he finished with 50 home runs, 181 RBIs, 177 hits and a .420 career batting average in just 110 career games. Shannon also had a .853 career slugging percentage, which is a Gulf South Conference record. He is first on the school’s all-time career list in batting average, second in home runs and sixth in RBIs.
“It’s certainly a great opportunity for him,” Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said. “It’s a great compliment for him. It’s a great compliment for our program, and I'm proud of what he accomplished at Delta State and this opportunity was well earned. We’re all happy and excited for him to get this chance and play at the next level and further his career. My encouragement to him has just been to take this opportunity, maximize it and put everything he can in to it. I look forward to seeing the results he’ll get from it.”
Kinnison said Shannon’s progress wasn’t just on the field.
“His growth as a person has been positive,” Kinnison said. “I’ve seen him improve in many areas in his academic performance, time management and since of priorities. I think all of that has really improved and off the field he’s kept up with that demands the playing collegiately creates. On the field, I think he’s continued to mature as a hitter and continued to learn to compete under pressure and learn to perform under pressure. I feel good about where I see him right now.”
Shannon said being at Delta State and in Cleveland has helped him grow as a person.
“Being down here has helped me mature a lot playing for coach (Kinnison) and the environment down here has helped me very much,” Shannon said.