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MLB teams draft two Hartselle graduates

Two former Hartselle Tigers had their names called this past week in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft. 

Jake Rice, a 2016 graduate, and Christian Edwards, a 2017 graduate, saw their childhood dreams fulfilled when they were chosen in this year’s draft. 

Rice, who played for Presbyterian before finishing his college career at Kennesaw State, was taken in the ninth round on the draft’s second day. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him with the 258th overall pick. 

Edwards, who played at Jacksonville State, was selected with the 335th overall pick in the 11th round on the draft’s third day. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox. 

Rice was the Friday night starter for the Owls this season. He led the team with nine wins and led the conference with a school-record 1.97 ERA. He was recently named to the ABCA/Rawlings Southeast All-Region team. 

Rice played for the Tigers his junior and senior seasons. He pitched 33 innings in 2016 with 34 strikeouts.  

He originally signed with Tennessee Tech before moving on to Gulf Coast Community College for two seasons. After a 25-22 record at Gulf Coast, he transferred to Presbyterian, where he compiled a 1-4 record with 42 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched. His lone victory for the Blue Hose came over the University of Alabama. 

Edwards saw action as both a starter and reliever during his career at Jacksonville State. He was the team’s closer as a sophomore in 2019, earning seven saves in just over 30 innings of work. 

After a pandemic shortened 2020 season, Edwards stepped into a starter’s role in 2021. He finished 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 11 starts for the Gamecocks. He had a 3.07 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  

“It is a blessing to be drafted by the Chicago White Sox,” said Edwards. “The White Sox have a tremendous organization, and I can’t wait to get started.” 

Edwards will leave for Birmingham this week and go into quarantine for 10 days. After quarantine, he will start his pro career by working out in Birmingham. 

Edwards moved to Hartselle for his sophomore season. He played shortstop for the Tigers as a sophomore and junior. He saw action as a pitcher during his senior season. 

Rice and Edwards join the growing list of Tigers drafted by MLB teams. Garrett Wade, a 2018 graduate, was drafted in the 38th round by the Tampa Bay Rays but chose to play for Auburn instead. Chad Girodo, a 2009 graduate, was selected in the ninth round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2013 draft. Will Rankin, a 2007 graduate, was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 17th round of the 2011 draft. Steve Woodard, a 1994 graduate, was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth round of the 1994 draft.