Kasey Kalich hoped to be a starting pitcher when he signed with Texas A&M.
But the Aggies had other ideas for the Victoria West graduate, who spent a year at Blinn College and pitched for the Victoria Generals of the Texas Collegiate League last summer.
“I was pushing to be a starter,” Kalich said. “But the closing role is what fit best for the team.”
Kalich, 21, excelled in the role and his performance led to Tuesday’s selection in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball amateur player draft by the Atlanta Braves.
“Everything worked out the way I wanted to,” Kalich said. “I had a good year. I played well in front of the right people and that’s what got me here.”
Kalich’s advisor had received inquiries from the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros before the Braves selected him with the 127th pick overall.
“It went by really fast,” Kalich said. “It’s so surreal. It’s been a childhood dream for me. I can’t stress enough to all the people who supported me and helped me get through this how grateful I am to them for what they’ve done for me – my parents, my family, my coaches and my teammates. It’s been an enjoyable ride and I’m ready to start the next chapter.”
Kalich made 28 appearances for the Aggies and finished with a 3-1 record and a team-high 12 saves. He had an ERA of 3.18 and had 51 strikeouts in 34 innings.
“It’s completely different,” Kalich said of the closing role. “Basically going out of the pen, you have to have every pitch working. Being a closer, you have to have more confidence than anyone else. You have to go in and throw a lot of strikes and work to get outs anyway you can for the rest of the game.”
Kalich’s final appearance for the Aggies came in the NCAA regional when they rallied for an 11-10 win over West Virginia on a walk-off grand slam.
Kalich pitched 2.1 innings and was the winning pitcher.
“That was a crazy game,” he said. “It was fun to be a part of.”
Kalich wasn’t the first player from Victoria drafted by the Braves.
Victoria High graduates Ronnie Gant and Kevin Coffman were selected in the 1983 draft.
Kalich plans to sign with the Braves and is anxious to begin his professional career.
“I’m ready to start the next chapter,” he said. “I’m ready to get the stick in gear and keep working.”