NOVI – Leaving the field for the final time as a prepster, in the wake of his West Bloomfield team’s 2-0 loss to Brighton in the Division 1 regional baseball finals Saturday, Lakers senior ace pitcher Dazon Cole got some news to raise his spirits and maybe cushion the blow from getting knocked out of the state tournament, if only a little.
Cole, West Bloomfield’s fire-throwing right-hander, was informed by his waiting family that the Atlanta Braves had just selected him in the 29th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
“It’s such a blessing,” said Cole of being drafted into the pros. “My uncle and my entire family are the ones that have gotten me to this point so to be able to share this with them is special, too. I’m very thankful for this experience.”
Judging by his immediate reaction to being told he was an MLB draftee, the new notch on his belt, though an impressive feat, has done nothing to lessen his hunger on the diamond.
“Being drafted is awesome, but there is a lot more work to be done,” he said. “Now, it’s time for me to go out and do it and make my family and my hometown proud.”
Clocked as high as the mid-90s with his fastball, Cole has been hounded by college and pro scouts for the last three years, especially this past campaign, where at least of handful of representatives from MLB clubs attended every single one of his outings on the mound.
Although he doesn’t possess prototypical size for a pitcher (5-foot-11), he more than makes up for it with his composure, determination and vicious performance attacking the radar gun.
Blasting onto the scene two years ago as a sophomore at Pontiac, Cole transferred to West Bloomfield in 2013 after Pontiac discontinued its’ baseball program.
“Dazon is a special kid, a special talent,” West Bloomfield head coach Eric Pierce said. “His arm strength and work ethic are out of this world and then you add to it, he’s probably the most humble kid I’ve ever met, you have the total package. He’s a great player and a great person and he’s brought so much to our program this year. Those things can’t be overstated. The fact that the big league organizations have come calling shows you he’s the real deal.”
The Braves are no strangers to tapping the prep pitching well in Oakland County. Last spring, they drafted North Farmington righty Sterling Sharp, currently pitching in college at Eastern Michigan University.
Back in the fall, Cole signed a National Letter of Intent to play his college ball in the Mid-American Conference as well, inking with Central Michigan.
On Saturday, Cole recorded the win on the hill in the regional semifinals, a 4-3 Lakers' victory in which he was gunned throwing as high as 94 miles per hour.
When he wasn't pitching the past few seasons, he was also an all-league shortstop.