On the third and final day of the Major League Baseball 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the Boston Red Sox selected pitcher Blaze Tart of the IMG Academy School in the 33rd round (1,008th overall) .
Tart, who’s from North Carolina, joined the IMG Academy Wood Bat League last summer and enrolled at IMG Academy for his senior year.
He took the diamond by storm.
The 6-foot-3, 193-pound Tart was 9-0 on the mound and helped the Panthers to a 29-1 season. Tart also had eye-popping statistics at the plate. He had a .435 batting average, four home runs and 31 RBIs.
“(Tart) was the guy I gave the ball to and said, ‘I want you to lead this staff,’” IMG Academy pitching coach Steve Frey said.
“He did everything that a pitching coach could ever ask of your No. 1 guy. I’m very proud of him.”
Overall, area schools were well represented in the 2009 amateur baseball draft. IMG Academy and Manatee Community College each had two players taken in the draft, while Lakewood Ranch and Cardinal Mooney had one apiece.
Fellow Panther John Ryan Murphy was the first area player drafted, taken in the second round (78th overall pick) by the New York Yankees.
Four more players were taken on the second day, led by Lakewood Ranch catcher Michael Ohlman in the 11th round.
Tart was the area’s only player drafted Thursday.