Four local baseball players who went on to play in college had their names called in the 2018 MLB Draft, fulfilling lifelong dreams of playing professional baseball.
Buchanan grads Conner Loeprich (20th round, Pittsburgh Pirates) and Korby Batesole (26th round, Boston Red Sox) along with Clovis North 2013 grads Jack Labosky (22nd round, Tampa Bay Rays) and Braden Frankfort (32nd round, San Francisco Giants) were picked on the Day 3 of the MLB Draft.
For Batesole, who played shortstop for his dad at Fresno State for four years, the opportunity to play professional baseball has been a dream come true.
“Just like any kid who laces up the cleats, you always dream of playing in college and getting drafted and eventually making it to the show,” said Batesole, who graduated from Buchanan in 2014. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to chase this dream this far, but hopefully there is more.”
Current Clovis High assistant coach Chris Patrick coached both Labosky and Frankfort during their careers at Clovis North, where the Broncos won the 2013 D-I Valley championship in their junior season.
“I’m very proud of these boys taking advantage of getting an opportunity to play at the next level and turn that in to a chance for a professional career,” said Patrick, who played for Fresno State from 2001-04 and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. “Their work ethic is what stood out very early on. [They’re] great blue collar kids who got to practice early and wanted to stay late to get better.”
Here is a breakdown of all four players:
Korby Batesole, Fresno State
Batesole was a three-year starting shortstop at Buchanan under Tom Donald from 2011-14 and reached the 2014 D-I Valley championship game where they lost to Clovis 3-2 in his senior season.
A four-year Fresno State Bulldog who earned Second-Team All-Mountain West honors as a senior, Batesole played in 211 career games as a Diamond ‘Dog, 10th-most in program history. Armed with a good glove and strong arm, Batesole made 193 career starts, 173 at shortstop, while hitting .283 from the plate.
In 667 official at-bats, Batesole collected 189 hits, 23 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, drove in 78 RBIs and scored 91 runs. As a junior in 2017, Batesole hit .310 from the plate playing in all 59 games while making 57 starts. As a senior, he continued his strong offense; posting a .318 average in 52 games, collecting 63 hits and recording 20 multi-hit games.
Fresno State coach Mike Batesole, Korby’s father, is excited about his son’s future in the Red Sox organization: “It was right about where we thought [he would land] and now he has an opportunity. The big thing is he is going to have an opportunity as the Red Sox did not [select] a college shortstop before him, so he will get a chance. It’s special to see Korby being given this opportunity.”
Jack Labosky, Duke University
Labosky was a member of the 2013 Clovis North Valley championship team his junior season when he was a Cal-Hi Sports All-State selection and was the TRAC Co-Player of the Year after batting .437 with three home runs, in addition to an 11-0 record, a 0.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts. As a senior, he was one of seven finalists for the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Baseball Player of the Year award. As a senior, hit .376 while posting a 10-2 record and 1.45 ERA on the mound
He continued to be a two-way standout at Duke and in his senior season went 3-0 with 10 saves and a 0.71 ERA. At the plate, he hit seven home runs and 40 RBI, earning Third Team All-American honors from Baseball America. Labosky holds the program’s career saves record with 18 and is the 20th Blue Devil to take the mound in 70 or more career games.
For his career, the 6-foot-3, 215 pound third baseman hit .266 with 139 RBI, 50 doubles and 21 home runs at the plate and collected 18 saves, eight wins, a 103/25 strikeout-to-walk rate and a 2.50 ERA.
Braden Frankfort, Fresno Pacific University
Frankfort played three years of varsity baseball at Clovis North and earned 2013 First Team All-TRAC in 2013 and was a two-time honorable mention All-State selection. After Clovis North, he spent his first two years at Santa Clara University before transferring to Fresno Pacific University.
As a senior, Frankfort was one of three Sunbirds to start all 46 games this spring, serving as the team’s DH and primary backstop. He led the Sunbirds with a .347 average while hitting 10 doubles, a pair of triples and six home runs. Frankfort was named as an All-PacWest Second Team selection in 2018. Defensively, Frankfort has been one of the premier catchers in the West Region over the last two seasons, erasing 21 would-be base stealers while committing just 12 errors in 420 chances.
“I’m very proud of Braden and excited that he is moving on to professional baseball,” Fresno Pacific head coach Oscar Hirschkorn said. “He has worked extremely hard for this moment, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Conner Loeprich, Saint Mary’s
Loeprich was a three-year varsity pitcher at Buchanan High School and pitched the Bears to a CIF Central Section Division I Championship in 2015, throwing a three-hit 15-1 win over Clovis. The right-hander also pitched Buchanan to the outright Tri-River Athletic Conference title in 2015 with a two-hit shutout of Clovis North. He went 9-0 with a 1.22 ERA his senior year after going 10-3 with a 0.95 his junior season.
Loeprich, a 6-foot-3 junior from Saint Mary’s, finished the season with a 2-1 record and a 4.78 ERA in 32 innings to go along with a 32/12 strikeout-to-walk rate. As a junior, he led the team in wins with six with a 4.15 ERA and a 36 to 10 strikeout-to-walk rate in 52 innings.