Former Denham Springs High School pitcher Mac Sceroler has yet to compete in a professional baseball game, but he's already accomplished a goal he set for himself last season.
And he can thank the Cincinnati Reds for helping him reach it.
The Reds picked the Southeastern Louisiana hurler in the 5th round of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday with the 137th pick.
"I'm just so happy," Sceroler said. "I'm kind of relieved, too since I got drafted last year in the 36th round (by the Philadelphia Phillies), you know my goal was to come back and increase my draft stock and potentially get fifth-round money. Being that I did that, it's a good feeling. Any time you set goals for yourself and then you achieve them, it's a good feeling inside. I'm definitely ready to get to work."
And it's not about the money for Sceroler.
"I just want an opportunity to go play professional baseball," he said. "You know, play baseball as long as somebody tells me I can. That's what I'm doing."
Sceroler said his draft day began early Tuesday, and he received the draft call while at the home Ben McDonald, his uncle and former LSU and Major League Baseball pitcher.
"Ever since I woke up this (Tuesday) morning, I had been getting phone calls from numerous scouts -- a bunch of teams -- and all of them were saying they had me in their top five rounds, so that would either be three, four (or) five," Sceroler said. "Being that the third round passed and the fourth round passed and I hadn't heard anything, I started getting ready for the fifth round."
It didn't take long for Sceroler to hear his name called once the second round got rolling as the Reds picked him up with the second pick in the 5th round.
"It was like halfway through the first pick (of the 5th round), the Reds called, and we came to a deal with the money, and then they said, 'Alright, we're going to take you,'" Sceroler said. "I said, 'Sounds good.' I started watching. It was a dream come true seeing my name up there."
Sceroler is the highest-drafted pitcher in Southeastern coach Matt Riser's four-year tenure.
"This is about what round we expected for him to go in, so we had all expectations of losing him and him forgoing his senior year and starting his professional career," Riser said. "You know, sometimes some people might look at it as a kind of a double-edged sword because you're losing him for his senior year, but we got three really, really good years out of him and wouldn't take that away from him. If he wasn't getting this opportunity, he doesn't have the year that he had for us, which in turn, honestly, we don't do what we do as a club if he doesn't have the year he does."
Sceroler's also gotten help from McDonald, a former No. 1 overall draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles, who is serving as his adviser.
"He helped me out a lot throughout this whole process," Sceroler said. "He's already been through all this, so he knew what to expect coming into it.
"Whenever they called, Ben knew exactly what to do, knew exactly what to say when it comes to negotiating, and we came up with the best deal for me and my family, so we took it," Sceroler said.
Scerloer, a junior, went 9-2 with a 3.81 ERA this season for the Lions, compiling 110 strikeouts in 101.2 innings. He gave up 84 hits and 45 runs and pitched two complete games.
"He entrusted us to put him in a role, put him in a spot," Riser said. "He trusted himself, more importantly, and was confident in himself to come back and perform at the level he knew he could perform at to help his draft stock go up and make the major league draft or Major League Baseball best for him for his future career. When you have that type of confidence, you're going to have a lot of success in what you do."
During his time at Southeastern, Sceroler was a part of two teams that advanced to NCAA regionals at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge. He took a loss against Rice last season and didn't factor in the decision in a 12-6 win over the Owls this season.
"If you want to make it to The Show, you're going to have to pitch in front of thousands of people on a big stage," Sceroler said. "And I feel playing in the regional both last year and this year helped me perform on a big stage, even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted. But it was still nice getting the national exposure."
Scerloer is the eighth pitcher to be drafted in Riser's tenure -- something he credited to the efforts of pitching coach Daniel Latham.
"What he's done with these guys that come in as an 80-84 (miles per hour) right-hander and leave here as 89 to 93, topping out at 95 right-hander that can really pitch with four true pitches ...," Riser said. "We're helping those guys prepare and be ready for what the future holds and get them through the minor leagues and have the best opportunity to play in the big leagues."
As a sophomore, Sceroler earned All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana with a 10-4 record and 2.25 ERA while notching 93 strikeouts. But he said pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer for the Hyannis (Mass.) Harbor Hawks helped prepare him for his junior season and beyond.
Sceroler said he'll report to Arizona for a physical and then report to rookie league ball in Billings, Mont.
"I learned so much up in the Cape Cod League, not only about baseball itself, but about how to handle the mental game of baseball and how to handle adversity, so I brought all that back to school this year," Sceroler said. "And you know, I feel like I really upped my game from last year to this year, so I feel like I'm ready from a physical standpoint to a mental standpoint for pro ball. I'm ready to get this journey started."