Colton Harlow’s life-long dream came true on Wednesday, and he was able to share the moment with his family.
Harlow was drafted in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. The 2014 Stonewall Jackson graduate and 2018 JMU graduate said that he with his parents at their house listening to the MLB Draft broadcast on the internet, when he received a text from one of his teammates from the Peninsula Pilots. Harlow played for the Pilots, a Coastal Plains League team, last summer.
“I looked at (the text) and it was a message from one of my (Peninsula) teammates and it said Colt in all capital letters with a couple exclamation marks,” Harlow said in a phone interview Wednesday. “And I was like what is that for? And then I heard ‘Rockies select Colton Harlow.’ And then mom and dad and I, all just went crazy and had a big group hug in the middle of the living room. And just really shared that special moment that I’ve been working for pretty much my whole life.”
The 5-foot-10 left-handed pitcher said he wasn’t really too nervous as he listened to the MLB Draft throughout the day. He said around 11 a.m. he got a phone call from someone from the Rockies organization telling him that the Rockies planned to draft him later in the day.
Harlow said that the same person from the Rockies called him minutes after the team drafted him to give him some details about what happens next. Harlow said that he will either be going to Arizona or Idaho on Sunday to begin his professional career.
The Rockies have a team in the Rookie League in Grand Junction, Arizona (Grand Junction Rockies) and a team in the Class A Short Season League in Boise, Idaho (Boise Hawks). Harlow said he should know within the next day which team he will be playing for.
Harlow said it feels good to know his dream of becoming a professional baseball player is finally coming true.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Harlow said. “Basically my whole life, even when I was little, even when I was in high school, people would ask me what do you want to do later in life? What do you want to be? And I would always say I want to be a professional baseball player. And people would just kind of laugh at that and think that it was kind of an unreal goal to reach. And so basically I just kind of used that as motivation to push me through any kind of hardships that I came across. I just worked my butt off and just tried to prove those people wrong. And it’s just a great feeling now that I can say that I did that.”
He was a three-year starting pitcher for JMU, after being a reliever his freshman season. This past season Harlow was JMU’s ace on the mound and threw a team-high 75.1 innings for the Dukes. He had a 4-5 record, and finished with a 4.30 ERA and 59 strikeouts with 14 appearances and 13 starts.
JMU coach Marlin Ikenberry said in an interview earlier this season that he feels Harlow has what it takes to be successful at the pro level.
“As athletic as he is and with his stuff, I think he would be a short reliever out of the pen at the next level,” Ikenberry said in March. “I just think with left-handed pitching and athletic, with his arm and his breaking ball, I think he’d be an asset to any Major League Baseball program.”
Harlow said he’s willing to do whatever the Rockies ask him to do, whether it be as a starter or a reliever.
He said he’s always thought that he might go to the Rockies because of something that he was told had happened earlier in his life.
“When I was real young my parents were at my grandmother’s house, and I don’t how real it is, but they actually had a Ouija board out and they were messing around with it,” Harlow said. “And they said, Will Colton ever become a professional baseball player?’ And the Ouija board spelled out ‘Rockies.’ So we’re kind of freaking out about that. I’ve always kind of had in the back of my mind that maybe I would go to the Rockies, but I was like that’s kind of unrealistic. But sure enough that’s how it played out.”
Harlow said he is very thankful to have so much support over the years from his family, friends, the local community and JMU.
The last local athlete to be drafted in the MLB draft was Handley graduate Michael Campbell, who was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 20th round in 2006. Current Strasburg High School head baseball coach Joe Bauserman was the last player from Shenandoah County to be drafted in the MLB Draft. He was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth round in 2004.
Harlow said he hopes his success will inspire others in the community.
“Hopefully it gives more people hope to pursue their dreams, no matter what it is and how big they are,” he said.