Photo courtesy of The News of Orange
HILLSBOROUGH–Local Orange High School graduate Marquis Riley just got a call from the Atlanta Braves.
Riley has spent the last year playing second base for the Joliet Illinois Slammers, a baseball team where players have no real shot to move to the next level.
But Riley caught the eye of some Atlanta Braves scouts and now he will be signing a minor league contract with the organization. Riley will now compete in the Braves’ spring training for a roster spot on one of the many minor league squads ranging from A, AA and AAA.
“It’s a good experience. I’ve been working hard trying to get here, and now I’ve got the opportunity, and hopefully now I can just make the most of it,” Riley says.
Agents say it is likely Riley will end up starting with the Rome Braves in Georgia.
While at Orange High School, Riley led the Panthers to state title in his senior season.
“Hardly anybody could strike him out. He had this thing where no matter what, [even if] he got two strikes on him, he was putting the ball in play. He rarely struck out in high school and college. His senior year, I don’t think he struck out at all. That’s pretty much unheard of,” Orange baseball coach Dean Dease says.
Riley says although he has been working hard to improve his game, he is a bit surprised at how soon he got the call up to the next level.
“It was something that I had kind of hoped would happen. I had kind of given up on it. I thought if I was going to get picked up, it would happen during the season, and I’d have to wait until next year,” Riley says.
But now that Riley has broken in the door, he hopes to continue to rise through the ranks and make it all the way to the major leagues someday.