The dream of becoming a professional baseball player became a reality for Elliot Morris Friday.
Just before lunchtime, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced they had selected the Federal Way High School graduate in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft. Morris is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound right handed power pitcher who recently finished his sophomore season at Pierce College in Lakewood.
“I’m so happy to be picked. It’s the perfect team,” Morris said in a telephone interview, minutes after learning the Angels drafted him. “It’s awesome.”
Morris was the third product from Washington selected during the three-day 2013 draft. Kentwood senior catcher Reese McGuire was taken 14th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Gonzaga junior left-hander Marco Gonzales was taken 19th by the St. Louis Cardinals and Camas High School grad Taylor Williams was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round after pitching at Kent State.
According to BaseballAmerica.com's pre-draft rankings, Morris was the No. 5 prospect from Washington and the No. 227th in the nation.
Morris said he was watching the live broadcast of the draft at home in Federal Way Friday, when he heard the Angels announce his name.
“I ran to my mom and we hugged. She was watching, too,” Morris said. “My mom started crying. I was just super-excited. You’re just watching, watching and waiting. It’s so great.”
The fact that Morris is even playing baseball was something that was in question after he graduated from Federal Way in 2010. Morris missed his freshman season at Pierce College after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2011. He tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) during the fall season.
Morris returned for his redshirt freshman year in 2012, but threw only 24 innings, easing his arm back into pitching.
But things really started clicking this spring for Morris, who anchored Piece's pitching staff. Morris finished the season with just a 4-3 record, but had a 1.76 earned-run average and led the NWAACC in strikeouts with 95 in just 66 1/3 innings.
Morris throws in the low-90s and has touched 96 mph and projects, most likely, as a reliever in pro baseball. He is committed to Lewis-Clark State, a powerhouse NAIA baseball program in Idaho, but will most likely sign with the Angels.
Pierce finished second in the NWAACC Tournament, losing to Everett Community College in the championship. It was the first time Pierce College has had a player drafted, Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson said.
“It’s very numbing at this point. We’re just extremely excited for Elliot and the future potential he has as a professional athlete,” Stevenson said. “It’s a great day at Pierce College and for Raider Athletics.”
During his senior season at Federal Way, Morris was the ace of the Eagles' pitching staff. Morris, along with Nick Tanielu, who led the Pac-12 in hitting this season playing at Washington State (.409), helped Federal Way into the state semifinals. Morris finished 7-2 on the mound for the Eagles.
He also hit .333 with a team-best 20 RBIs and five home runs at the plate. He also scored 13 runs, had two doubles and stole three bases.
“There is no ego with this kid at all,” Stevenson said. “He was an incredible student-athlete and a remarkable representative for us and the college and the local community.”