In his eighth season of professional baseball, Catonsville native Adam Kolarek finally got the call that he was being promoted to the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team.
Kolarek, a 2007 graduate of Catonsville High, was pitching in the Triple-A International League for the Durham Bulls in Indianapolis when he got the news late Tuesday.
He will join the team Wednesday night in Pittsburgh when they play the Pirates.
Kolarek has pitched 31 innings in 33 games for the Bulls this season with a 1.36 earned run average and two saves.
He has 29 strikeouts, while walking 13 (one intentional) and allowing 26 hits, giving him a WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) of 1.15.
He allowed only five earned runs and did not give up a home run.
Kolarek, 28, who was drafted in the 11th round out of the University of Maryland by the New York Mets organization in 2010, has played for nine different minor league teams.
Catonsville High baseball coach Rich Hambor read a text from a fellow teacher about his promotion at 4 a.m. this morning and was elated.
“I’m really, really proud,” Hambor said. “I think it shows how much hard work can pay off. If you take a look at his progressions, he was really one step at a time. He would get to a different level, dominate it, get to the next level and figure it out and dominate it and it’s paid off for him.”
Kolarek, who made his debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones Single-A squad in 2010, could be pitching in front of family and friends this weekend at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when the Baltimore Orioles host the Rays in a three-game homestand June 30 through July 2.
“I’m really excited for him to get this chance,” Hambor said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people coming out to say Hi and congratulate him and, If I know Adam, he’s excited and he’s going to be ecstatic, but I also know he wants to make it count and I’m sure he will.”
Kolarek's parents, Frank and Dorothy, were on their way to Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon to watch them play the Rays after getting the call Tuesday night.
“He called us last night and he didn’t pitch and we usually talk after he pitches,” Frank Kolarek said. “When he called us last night it was kind of a surprise. He called us right away and it was a phone call like no other phone call.”
Frank Kolarek played in the Oakland Athletics organization from 1976-1979, but never got called up to the Major League squad during the regular season.
"I was never called up during the regular year and my only glimpse was in spring training and all that means is you get a nice pair of shower shoes,” Kolarek said. “I couldn’t be happier. Whatever happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to Adam. He’s earned this.”