Faith Baptist Christian Academy baseball player Chavez Young signed with the Toronto Blue Jays last week.
Young was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 39th round of the 2016 MLB Draft in June.
“It means a great deal. He is very deserving. … He has put in a lot of hard work to get to the point where he can begin his professional career,” Crusaders baseball coach Gene Reynolds Jr. said. “Obviously for us, whether they get to play in college or get a chance to really experience their dream of being drafted and signed, it is a very special time for us as well.”
The coach said Young had an outstanding year leading up to the draft.
According to stats posted on maxpreps.com, Young played in 31 games, had 40 hits, scored 36 runs, made 26 RBIs, and hit 11 doubles, seven triples and two home runs.
Reynolds said Young also shined at the 2016 Perfect Game High School Showdown in Cartersville.
“He was voted MVP of that tournament,” Reynolds said. “There were a lot of scouts there. That was the tournament that elevated his stock and put him on the map.”
Reynolds said Young had 12 doubles, five triples and three home runs in the tournament.
Long County Recreation Department Director Henry Strickland said Young spent many hours practicing at the ballfield.
“The first time I met him, he was actually working out. … I saw him warming up, and he was throwing the ball the length of a football field like I have never seen before,” Strickland said. “I started watching him work out and getting to know him a little bit. I’ve never seen anybody working out that hard. … He took baseball pretty seriously. He is a great young man and has a great personality. … As time went on, it was pretty obvious to the trained baseball eye that he was the best player in this part of the state.”
Young is the second person from Long County to become a part of the Blue Jays organization. The first was native Dustin McGowan.
“He was only in Ludowici for two years and Dustin McGowan was here all of his life, but it is still a big thing when you have somebody from the community that makes it,” Strickland said. “You watch these kids from T-ball all the way through high school, and it’s such a fine line to make it to that level. This is a small town in South Georgia and to get something like that, it creates all kinds of possibilities for the kids.”
Strickland added that Young helped coach the 8-year-old Long County baseball team.
“He was always at their games and cheering them on, and it wound up being a good relationship for the kids,” Strickland said. “We went to the state tournament last week, just as he was getting ready to sign with the Blue Jays. … He was at the hotel with the kids on Wednesday, and he signed a bunch of baseball caps for the kids. … Then, after he signed, he FaceTimed with the kids and it was a pretty big deal.”
Reynolds said Young has a meticulous work ethic.
“I told him that his journey is just now beginning,” Reynolds said. “Things will be tough and when you get to this stage it really shows if you really love the game. It becomes a grind doing it every single day. Early in the morning. Games in the afternoon, especially in the minor leagues. Traveling on the buses. It is not the prestige of arriving in the big leagues and flying first class. But luckily he loves the game and his makeup and his character are his top attributes, and I think that is going to carry him through.”
Young was unavailable for comment before press time.