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South County pitcher Evan Beal drafted by Royals in eighth round of MLB draft

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Monitoring the Major League Baseball first-year player draft online in his kitchen after school Tuesday, South County pitcher Evan Beal thought Baltimore might take him in the eighth round, uniting him with brother Jesse, a 14th-round pick of the Orioles in 2008.

That didn’t happen. The Kansas City Royals grabbed the first-team All-Met selection with the next selection, taking the 6-foot-5 right-hander 246th overall.

Beal, who has committed to the University of South Carolina, said the Royals had told him earlier Tuesday that they hoped to draft him sometime before the 10th round. So the selection was not so much a shock, but the finality of it was.

“They probably showed the most interest out of all the teams and we talked a little bit about what it would take [financially] and what round,” said Beal, who declined to offer specifics on the terms required to get him to turn down a college scholarship and sign professionally.

“It’s certainly a tough decision, but if they give me what I want, I’m not going to back out on what I told them I’d take,” Beal said. “It’s a great farm system and it’s a good opportunity, but so is South Carolina. But if the factors are right, I’ll probably end up playing pro ball.”

Baseball America has called the Kansas City organization “the deepest farm system in baseball.”

Royals scout Jim Farr, who kept in contact with Beal, used to be an assistant at the University of Maryland. He recruited Jesse Beal to College Park out of high school, but the elder Beal opted to sign with the Orioles instead.

No. 1 South County (26-0) was set to take on Mills Godwin at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a Virginia AAA quarterfinal. Beal, who struck out 12 in the Northern Region championship win over Lake Braddock on Friday, was not the scheduled starting pitcher and does not play another position.

Beal has gone 9-0 with two saves, striking out 89 batters in 65 innings this season. He has walked 35, thrown 13 wild pitches and hit nine batters. He struck out 12 and walked one in the region championship.

Five more Cavaliers taken

Among other players from the region, five more Virginia Cavaliers were selected on the draft’s second day and American University basketball player Stephen Lumpkins went in the 13th round to the Royals.

Lumpkins, taken in the 42nd round last year by Pittsburgh, is somewhat of an anomaly, playing basketball at a college that does not field a baseball team. The Royals’ Farr said Lumpkins was seen last month at a workout near his home in California and was invited to a predraft workout in Kansas City.

“He’s a little bit of a different situation because they don’t have a college program where you can scout him throughout the year and get a good feel for him,” Farr said.

By taking Lumpkins relatively early in the draft, it appears the Royals will want to sign him to a professional contract, possibly putting his senior year of basketball in doubt.

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