Sports

MLB DRAFT

Central Catholic’s Steve Hajjar drafted by Brewers

Lowell, MA - 4/12/2018 - Central Catholic ace Steven Hajjar on the mound against Lowell. Lowell at Central Catholic baseball. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: Brendan Hall , Topic: 13schrdp, LOID: 8.4.1598465402.
FILE/BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF
Central Catholic senior Steve Hajjar was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

HAVERHILL — Steve Hajjar intends to honor his scholarship to play baseball at the University of Michigan this fall.

But the Central Catholic senior now has another option: pro ball.

On Wednesday afternoon, the 6-foot-4 lefthander from North Andover was picked in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, with the 635th overall selection, realizing one of his childhood dreams.

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Hajjar, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, received a call from a Brewers scout while en route to Central’s Super 8 first-round playoff game against Mansfield, an 8-3 victory.

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“I just got into Haverhill . . . [and the scout] told me that I was drafted in the 21st round and they know I am going to go to college but they just really liked what I did over the summer and this spring and they believe in me and they want to see me in three years,” said Hajjar, who started at first base against Mansfield.

“It was just an amazing gesture and I couldn’t stop smiling for about a half an hour. It was one of the best moments of my life”

In a 12-4 start for the fourth-ranked Raiders, Hajjar posted a 2-1 record with a 0.26 earned run average and 41 strikeouts. He allowed just 12 total hits and one walk through 27-plus innings of work, and also has a .350 batting average, .490 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.

Named the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 Player of the Year, Hajjar shut out Andover, 4-0, in his last start, on Saturday.

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“I just remember being a little kid and saying ‘I want to play in the MLB,’” said Hajjar.

“It is every little kids dream, and then today, even though I am not going to go right out of high school, I mean, it is an unreal accomplishment. I never thought I would be drafted out of high school. I just can’t believe it. It is hard to put into words.”

“I don’t want to sell myself short, you know? My goal is to be a first rounder in the next three years so that is what I want to do. And if that wasn’t going to happen out of high school, I am going to try and make it happen out of college. That’s the goal.”

Central coach Marc Pelletier has a no cell phone policy at the field, but “I had to let [Hajjar] talk to his dad after [he was drafted] behind the dugout. I was thrilled.

“It is so great. Think of yourself being 18 years old getting call from the GM of the Brewers.”

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Northeastern senior outfielder Charlie McConnell of Reading went to the Mariners in the 13th round, the 388th pick. The Belmont Hill grad hit .347 this season for the Huskies (36-21).

In the 18th round, Seattle selected Harvard senior righthander Noah Zavolas, who starred at Acton-Boxborough. The 6-1, 190-pound Zavolas threw a no-hitter at Yale on May 13. He was the 538th pick. Two picks later, Boston College infielder Jack Palomaki went to the Rays, and at No. 570, Tampa pick Harvard junior righthander Simon Rosenblum-Larson.
Four picks after Hajjar, at No. 639, Boston College righty Jacob Stevens was chosen the the Diamondbacks.

Northeastern senior infielder Max Burt (St. John’s Prep) went to the New York Yankees in the 28th round (847th pick) and UMass Lowell first baseman Russ Olive (Cushing Academy) of Chelmsford was the 870th selection (29th round) by the Rays.