By ERIC WITTMERSHAUS
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cal third baseman Mitch Delfino, who starred at Cloverdale High, on Wednesday became the second Golden Bear with Sonoma County ties selected in this year’s Major League Baseball amateur draft.
Delfino, the 628th overall pick, was chosen in the 20th round by the San Francisco Giants, the team he grew up cheering for.
“I grew up a Giants fan, and everybody in my family was a Giants fan,” Delfino said.
Delfino said that when the Giants’ area scout called to tell him the team would be selecting him with its next pick, he was relaxing with several of his Cal teammates. Among those teammates was Chadd Krist of Petaluma, who was drafted in the ninth round on Tuesday by the Chicago Cubs.
“I was with some of my teammates from Cal, Chadd being one of them. We were all hanging out, and I got the call from the Giants scout.”
Delfino and Krist may be better suited for the ups and downs of minor-league life than most young prospects. Both played in last year’s College World Series just months after being told the school would be eliminating their sport at the end of the season. The story had a happy ending, of course. Money was found to continue fielding a team, and the Golden Bears went on an improbable run to the eight-team College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Still, having his program cut, then restored, and heading to Omaha was a roller-coaster ride no one on last year’s Cal’s team will ever forget.
“Last year helped prepare me for life in general, dealing with adversity and fighting through it and coming out unscathed,” Delfino said. “I’m not sure that I could endure anything that would even compare with what I went through last year, whether that be in the minor leagues or the rest of my life.”
Delfino batted a team best. 355 with 11 doubles, five home runs, 38 RBI and a .394 average with runners in scoring position in 2012, his junior year, according to the Bears’ website. He was named honorable mention all Pac-12.
He now has until mid-July to sign a contract with the Giants. He also has the option of returning to play his senior year at Cal, and then re-entering the draft next year.
“Their scouts making the arrangements are talking to my adviser, and we’re trying to work something out,” he said.
Also selected Wednesday was Sonoma State pitcher Joshua Nervis. The Oakland native, who pitched two years for the Seawolves, was chosen in the 38th round by the Cleveland Indians.
Nervis, who went 3-4 with a 4.39 ERA and 70 strikeouts, is the 40th player in the school’s history to be drafted, and the first by Cleveland.
Eric Wittmershaus is The Press Democrat’s online sports editor. You can reach him at 521-5433 or eric [dot] wittmershaus [at] pressdemocrat [dot] com.