The 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-handed pitcher, who became the first Ingomar High School baseball player to be drafted, was the 218th player taken in Major League Baseball’s draft.
“I had a good feeling that I’d be drafted,” said Hodges, who posted a 13-2 record with a 1.41 earned run average and 160 strikeouts this spring for the Falcons. “I’ve talked with the Marlins since my high school season started. The Orioles and Rays were also calling me every day.”
Hodges, who signed a scholarship with Northeast Mississippi Community College, has retained an agent from Platinum Sports and Entertainment Management in St. Charles, Mo., and plans to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball.
“Not many kids have this opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to do the best I can and hopefully make it to the big leagues.”
Hodges nearly missed his call from the Marlins on Wednesday morning.
“I was waiting for a call and realized my phone was dead,” he said. “Then I remembered I’d left my charger at a friend’s house.”
Hodges quickly went to his brother’s home to borrow a phone charger and check the MLB Web site to see if he’d been drafted.
“When we turned his computer on the volume wasn’t working,” he said. “We re-started it and just as the volume went on I heard my name called.
“I didn’t believe it until I heard them say it a second time.”
Ten minutes later, Hodges got the call from the Marlins on his then-charging phone.
Ingomar head coach Andy Wilbanks was excited to hear the news about his pupil, whose arsenal features a 94 mph fastball along with a curve, change-up and slider.
“Getting drafted was one of his goals,” he said. “I’m proud for him and happy he’s going to have this opportunity.”
Hodges, who pitched and played shortstop, batted .506 with 16 home runs in leading his team to the Class 1A state semifinals.
“We could have played him at any position,” Wilbanks said. “You can’t replace a player like that.”