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Braves draft Patapsco shortstop Vecchioni


Patapsco shortstop Jerry Vecchioni was selected in the seventh round of the major-league draft by the Atlanta Braves yesterday.

That was a surprise. Vecchioni said that he only had expected to go "somewhere in the top 10" rounds.

What was a shock is that Calvert Hall pitcher Andy Bair was not drafted, despite statements by his father Wayne last night that he had been picked in the eighth round by the Chicago White Sox.

Reggie Lewis, an area scout for the White Sox, said the club had not selected the 6-foot-6, 235-pound left-hander, who had been projected to go in the top three rounds. Lewis said the White Sox considered picking Bair in the eighth round but could not agree on contract terms.

Last year's All-Metro Player of the Year, Bair went 9-0 with an 0.11 ERA this year, striking out 104. He has a fastball clocked in the 90s, has not lost in 29 games over four seasons and has thrown five no-hitters, including a perfect game.

Bair already has signed to play at the University of Miami. "If he doesn't turn pro, it's not the end of the world," Wayne Bair said. "Miami's a great program."

Vecchioni, meanwhile, said a summer of hard work paid off yesterday after he had received little fanfare his three previous seasons with the Patriots.

"We still can't believe it. Noboby can believe it," said his father, Jerry Sr., who got word of his son's selection by Dayton Moore, an area scout for the Braves. "You have all these kids around the state, in the country and from other countries involved, along with the colleges. To go as high as he did, it's just a shock."

Strong showings last summer in club ball earned Vecchioni some notice prior to this season. He was named the No. 1 shortstop on the East Coast and No. 17 among all middle infielders in the country by Team One, an Ohio-based organization that ranks high school baseball players nationally.

This spring, Vecchioni batted .525 with 22 RBIs, 20 runs scored and four home runs.

Vecchioni, who signed in November to attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, may have to rethink those plans.

"I planned on still going to college even though I knew I might get drafted. But I didn't count on being taken this high," he said. "You have to consider the offers that come with this round."

NOTE: Lewis said the White Sox drafted two Towson State right-handers: Derek Hasselhoff (Chesapeake) in the 17th round and Mike Vota in the 18th round.

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