This was the birthday present Tyree Thompson had longed for.
Thompson, who graduated from Edna Karr two weeks ago, became the first player from his high school chosen in the Major League Baseball draft.
Thompson, a right-handed pitcher who turns 19 on Sunday, was chosen in the 26th round by the Texas Rangers. “That’s the best birthday present ever,” he said. “It feels good. I accomplished something. I got to where I wanted to be, but I know I have more to accomplish than just getting there.”
Thompson was in a store when he got the phone call.
“I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting it at the time,” he said.
Thompson put up jaw-dropping numbers in four years for the Cougars. He struck out at least 100 batters all four years, finishing his career with 421 strikeouts and 38 wins. He was 7-3 as a senior with a 2.41 ERA. He also threw two perfect games and six no-hitters.
Thompson was a two-sport star at Karr, doubling as a guard on the basketball team. He signed to play both sports at Northwestern State; now he has a decision to make.
“My mom and I will talk about it and see what we are going to do,” Thompson said.
Thompson was one of several players from the New Orleans area selected Saturday, the final day of the draft.
Three Tulane players were chosen Saturday, giving the Green Wave five players in this year’s draft after catcher Jake Rogers and shortstop Stephen Alemais were chosen Friday.
Relief pitcher Trevor Simms was selected in the 32nd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Hurst, Texas, native just completed his lone season with the Green Wave after transferring from West Virginia. Simms went 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 16 games with one start in 2016, striking out 22 and walking 11.
Tulane pitcher Emerson Gibbs, a Jesuit alum, was picked in the 33rd round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Gibbs spent the second half of his senior year as the Friday starter for Tulane. In his career, the right-handed pitcher went 13-10 with a 3.48 ERA and two saves in 60 games, including 32 starts.
He was named to the American Athletic Conference first team after going 6-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 games with 88 strikeouts.
The final Tulane player drafted was Alex Massey, picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 36th round. Massey was a mainstay in the pitching rotation since arriving on campus in 2012. The right-handed pitcher went 18-13 with a 4.16 ERA in 58 games with 41 starts, totaling 253.1 innings and 226 strikeouts.
Two other players who played high school baseball in the greater New Orleans were chosen.
Former Grace King star Trent Giambrone, who played at Delta State, was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 25th round. Handsome Monica, who played at St. Paul’s before going on to Northwest Florida State, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 33rd round.