BOSTON — A Northeastern University pitcher and Walpole native was selected by the New York Yankees Monday in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Cam Schlittler, 21, grew up cheering for the Red Sox but said he is excited and grateful to change allegiances and join his hometown rival.
“My friends are making jokes, they’re not going to put on a Yankees jersey, but I know they will,” Schlittler told Boston 25 News Tuesday. “My cousin was wearing a Yankees hat last night, and it felt weird a little bit. Just not used to the family wearing Yankees clothes. So, it will definitely be funny at first.”
Schlittler has dreamed of playing professional baseball since he was in kindergarten, working hard and developing his arm through Little League, later as a star pitcher at Walpole High School and then at Northeastern, where the redshirt sophomore started 30 games and racked up 180 strikes in 182 innings, with a 2.62 earned run average and 14-9 record, according to the university.
“To put in that much work and have it finally pay off – it’s amazing,” Schlittler said from his family home moments after learning his friend and teammate, Sebastian Keane, had also been drafted to the Yankees.
“Roommates in college, roommates in New York!” Schlittler said, excited to share the accomplishment with his friend.
Schlittler credited his parents, John and Christine, as well as his brother and sister, with supporting and encouraging him along his baseball journey.
“It’s just a real proud moment for our family and for all the kids that he’s played with, the coaches. We’re so grateful for everything that they’ve all done for us,” said John Schlittler, who coached his son for years.
The elder Schlittler, who is Needham’s police chief, also joked about the extended family needing time to embrace the Yankees.
“It’s funny. When this process started, I remember talking to my brothers, and they said, ‘As long as it’s not the Yankees.’ And we laughed. And who knew?” John Schlittler said. “But when speaking with Cam, he always talked about the Yankees and what a great organization they are, and how well they treat their players.”
Northeastern University pitching coach Kevin Cobb said he is sad to see Schlittler leave the university but is proud of his success.
“We’re obviously excited for Cam. He’s worked really hard to get to this point. He’s done a lot for our program and won a lot of games,” Cobb said by phone Tuesday. “As much as it hurts me as a Red Sox fan, we’re really happy for him.”
Cobb said he promised Schlittler and Keane he would buy a Yankees shirt if they make it to Fenway to take on the Sox.
Schlittler said he hopes his story inspires other kids to chase their dreams.
“It didn’t really seem like it’d be real until it happened. And you never want to give up,” Schlittler said. “Keep working hard, and if you want that to be your dream, you can definitely make it happen.”
Schlittler expects to fly out and join his new team this weekend.
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