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N. STONINGTON — For Tom Gavitt the numbers 19 and 582 will now hold quite a bit of significance in his life.
On Saturday, at his home in North Stonington, the 21-year-old watched the live feed of the Major League Baseball draft with family and friends.
And there it was on the computer screen — 19th round, pick 582, the Oakland A’s logo, Gavitt, Tom, Bryant U (RI)”
He had been drafted by a major league team.
“It’s unreal. I was speechless. Everyone has been calling and texting me. It’s really cool. I had a down year last year and did not live up to my expectations,” Gavitt said. “We were watching the live feed and I had a feeling they were going to grab me.”
Gavitt hit a paltry .167 last season with three doubles, a homer and 12 RBIs at Bryant University in Smithfield. This season Gavitt, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 195, hit .320 as a catcher and first baseman. He doubled eight times, tripled four times, hit six homers and drove in 29 runs.
The Bulldogs put together a 42-16 record winning the Northeast Conference tournament title at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. Bryant qualified for the Baton Rouge regional in the NCAA tournament where they were eliminated in two games. They lost to Houston 3-2 and Southeastern Louisiana 2-1. Both games went 10 innings. He was 1 for 4 in the Houston game.
Gavitt, an All-State performer at Wheeler High, had a suspicion Oakland would draft him. “We talked throughout the year. They showed the most interest. Their area scout would talk to me and come to a lot of my games,” Gavitt said.
The 21-year-old Gavitt said he will be heading to the Oakland team in the Arizona League, an all-rookie league. The A’s team is based in Phoenix. He expects to be in Arizona within a week.
“I had a good year powerwise, but they think I have to fill out more, get some weight on me,” Gavitt said. “With that weight should come some power. I just hope to produce and advance up their farm system.”
Gavitt expects the A’s to use him as a catcher.
“I have a pretty good arm and have been a good thrower,” Gavitt said. “I can always improve on my understanding of the game and just catching defensive wise.”
Gavitt gives a lot of credit for his success to his parents Mary and Glenn.
“They’ve always told me to keep my head on my shoulders and be humble,” Gavitt said. “After the year I had last year I would have laughed if you had told me Oakland would take me in the 19th round.”
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