LAWRENCE — Elvis Peralta had a dream.
The Lawrence product had a dream to play pro baseball, eventually in the major leagues.
But that’s not the dream worth noting, a day after he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 26th round of the MLB Draft on Wednesday.
The gifted hitter (.352, 9 HR, 52 RBI) and fielder (shortstop), coming off a first-team All-Conference USA season with Marshall University, had a dream he’ll never forget on Monday.
“I dreamed I was drafted by the Oakland A’s,” said Peralta. “It was crazy. It felt so real, like it really happened. I probably should’ve gone right to the store and purchased an A’s cap.”
Peralta, 22, was in Boston on Wednesday when the call came.
“I was just nervous, so I went to Boston to walk around,” said Peralta. “When I got the call it was the happiest day of my life.”
Peralta has been building for this day for most of his life. He not only had a great career at Lawrence High (hit .435 as senior), he became an All-American with Crowder (Jr.) College in Neosho, Missouri winning the Most Outstanding Hitter award at the JUCO World Series.
Unfortunately, not all of his classes transferred to Marshall and he was forced to sit out a year.
It was the toughest, yet maybe the most important year of his life.
“I learned that I would never take baseball for granted again,” recalled Peralta. “Baseball is a gift. It killed me to sit out. So I said the rest of my career, I would treat each day with baseball as a special one.”
He also learned about the importance of having a degree.
“It all hit me,” said Peralta. “No one in my family ever graduated from college. That’s the one thing I guarantee I will do. I will graduate.”
He has about a year of credits left, which he can start dealing with in the fall, when this season ends.
For now, he’ll head to Marshall University in Huntington, W.V., where he will meet with the A’s scout that drafted him and negotiate a pro contract, which will include paying for school.
He attended Lawrence High’s state tourney game with Central Catholic yesterday to see his brother, Lancers senior Kelber Peralta. He received a lot of hugs and congratulations.
“I’m so excited I can’t help myself,” said Elvis. “I’ve put in a lot of work. It was for this opportunity. I just want to keep getting better, playing my game.”
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.