By the end of the 2012 season, baseball head coach Eric Madsen had labeled the season as one that is hard to dream of. His reasoning for this train of thought came from the Wolverines 32-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation this season. It stemmed from the teams overall .350 batting average and a perfect conference record.
If it was hard for Madsen to dream up this season, it may have become harder last Wednesday, possibly even harder for Goose Kallunki following the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. Wednesdays draft showed the San Diego Padres picking Kallunki in the 27th round.
“I couldn’t have even dreamt up the season I had,” said Kallunki. “It’s pretty crazy.”
Kallunki spent the early part of last week in Arizona participating in mini-camps held by the Padres and on Wednesday morning he flew to Eugene, Org. to continue with more camps. Kallunki will most likely be playing with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League.
This isn’t the first time that Utah Valley has seen a baseball athlete sign a professional contract. Since 2006, UVU has had four different players sign onto a professional team. Now that number stands at six as pitcher Taylor Mangum signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2012 season along with Kallunki.
A shot at the pros is not the only thing on Kallunki’s resume. The senior ended the season with 18 home runs and hitting at a .419 average, he also led the nation with 86 RBI’s. His offensive performance on the field has secured his spot on the Louisville Slugger All-American first team list as well as being named the District VIII Player of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association.
If the two honors weren’t enough, Kallunki will now await the results of arguably one of the most prestigious awards in college baseball, the Dick Howser Trophy. The trophy, which is regarded as the Heisman of college baseball, is in its 26th awarding year and Goose is one of three finalists to receive the award.
“It’s an absolute honor,” Kallunki said of his recognition. “It is one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.”
Kallunki was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes award until the organization narrowed the results down to the final three where Kallunki fell short. Although Kallunki feels honored for even the recognition of the award, falling short was the least of his worries at this point in his career.
Kallunki has been given a shot that few could ever come close to taking. He will undoubtedly face greater challenges and grander problems as he starts his career as a professional baseball player, but according to himself, he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s all really cool,” Kallunki said. “I am just sitting here ready to prove myself and see how long I can play this game for.”