EAGLE, Idaho — Heading into Sunday's start of the MLB Draft, Gonzaga ace Gabriel Hughes was expected to be drafted in the late first to early second round, but his name was called much earlier than mock drafts predicted.
"I mean I was just elated! There's really no other way to say it. I was just so happy because this is my lifelong dream come true, so I'm really excited," Hughes said.
"Seeing Gabe at 10, I started crying. I was so happy for him," said Hughes' teammate at Gonzaga William Kempner. "I screamed, I was genuinely shocked, but also coach (Brandon) Harmon called it. He said Gabe at 10 to the Rockies. He said it first. That was like two months ago."
Hughes became the highest drafted Gonzaga baseball player of all time, surpassing Marco Gonzales, who was taken 19th overall in the 2013 draft.
Hughes says he has nothing but the utmost respect for Gonzales.
"I've looked up to him for the last three years. He's been an incredible resource for me. But, I'm just more excited for the future now because I won't be the last," Hughes said. "I won't be the last guy taken in the first round from Gonzaga. I'm excited to see the next guy that comes along and the next guy after him because the program is on the rise and I'm excited to see who comes after me."
He wasn't the only Zag taken in this years draft. Fellow pitchers Trystan Vrieling, William Kempner, and Brody Jessee joined Hughes in hearing their names called.
The group of teammates pushed each other to reach their full potential.
"I wouldn't be here today without them pushing me, challenging me and competing with me to be better every single day. So, I'm unbelievably happy for all three of them and I'm really looking forward to facing them sometime in the next couple of years," said Hughes.
Now, Hughes's professional career begins, starting with an introductory press conference next week in Denver.
"It just feels like it's so far away, but it's going to come up so quick," said Hughes. "So, I'm excited. I'm excited to get down there and excited to become a part of the organization."
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