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Baseball: Flacco to Phillies; other SJ players selected

Tom Flacco was surprised and honored.

Flacco, an Eastern High School senior, was selected by the Phillies in the 32d round of the first-year player draft on Saturday.

"I didn't even know they were following me," Flacco said. "It's a great honor.

"I got so many texts of congratulations. It put it in perspective."

Flacco, who has a football scholarship offer from Western Michigan, said he was likely to "play football" in the future but didn't want to rule out signing with the Phillies until he had more discussions with the organization.

Flacco said he had hoped to be drafted Friday, between the third and 10th round, and wasn't paying attention to the selection process when his name was called.

"I was at a barbeque and my brother (Brian) told me," Flacco said.

Flacco, a speedy left-hander swinger, batted .506 with eight doubles, six triples and 30 RBIs as a shortstop for Eastern (19-10), which won its second consecutive South Jersey Group 4 title.

Flacco is the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

The Phillies selected another South Jersey player in the 36th round in Moorestown centerfielder Tom Gamble, the son of the Eagles' executive of the same name and the grandson of the late Harry Gamble, the former Eagles' general manager.

Gamble played one year for Moorestown after moving to the town from northern California as his father left the San Francisco 49ers to join the Eagles' organization.

St. Augustine left-hander Zach Warren, a Tulane recruit, was selected by the Pirates in the 22d round.

"It's awesome," Warren said. "I worked out for their area scout the day before the draft so I had an idea they might take me."

Warren was uncertain whether he would sign with the Pirates although most high school players with scholarship offers tend to stick with college when they are drafted in the lower rounds.

"The dream is to play pro ball," Warren said. "If it happens now, it happens now. If now is not the time, now is not the time."

Lower Cape May right-hander Josh Pennington was drafted by the Red Sox in the 29th round and said he was "100 percent" committed to signing.

Pennington was projected as a much higher selection before the season but ruptured a ligament in his right elbow in April.

He said he will undergo Tommy John surgery later this month.
Pennington said was excited to join a professional organization and continue his rehabilitation in that environment.

"It's a dream come true," said Pennington, whose fastball was touching 94 mph before his injury.

Delsea right-hander Bryan Dobzanski, a Louisville recruit, was selected by the Cardinals in the 29th round and Bishop Eustace left-hander Devin Smeltzer, a Florida Gulf Coast recruit, was selelected by the Padres in the 33d round.

As lower-round picks with scholarship offers, both are likely to attend college with an eye toward moving higher in the draft when they are eligible again after their third collegiate season.

"That's the plan," Dobzanski said.

Holy Cross catcher David Noworyta, son of Phillies assistant player personnel director Steve Noworyta, was selected in the 37th round by the Royals.

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