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No. 21 MLB Draft pick Ciuffo signs with Rays for slot value

  • Friday, June 21, 2013

Nick Ciuffo's signing with the Tampa Bay Rays will be made official as soon as he passes a team physical. PHOTO PROVIDED

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Nick Ciuffo, the No. 21 MLB Draft selection from Lexington High School, signed a professional contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, Friday morning. The decision will be made official after Ciuffo passes a physical.

According to the Rays team website, the 18-year-old catcher will receive a $1,974,700 bonus, matching the recommended slot value set by MLB for the pick.

After putting pen to paper, Ciuffo will not honor his commitment to play baseball at South Carolina and instead report to the Gulf Coast Rays, one of two Rays rookie league teams. Gulf Coast plays its home games in Port Charlotte, Fla. and started its regular season this past Friday. The minor league affiliate plays through late August. Barring any promotions, Ciuffo will battle for starts with fellow catcher Taylor Hawkins, who through his first two games is sporting a .375 batting average (3-for-8) with all his hits as doubles.


Ciuffo is undoubtedly the organization's priority, though. Hawkins struggled in 16 games last season with the Gulf Coast Rays, batting .182 with 24 strikeouts to just two walks.

“We like his (Ciuffo's) tools and the chance (for him to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues,” Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said in an article on the Rays website. “He's a high school kid that's going to start his journey and work his way through the minor leagues. He's got a plus arm, average defender and we like his bat and power. And he's a tough kid. We like the kid.”

Ciuffo started his high school career at Wando, playing the first two years in Mount Pleasant before transferring to Lexington. He is the state's Gatorade player of the year.

TRACK & FIELD

Bishop England track and field standout Griffie Loy added another honor to his laundry list of accolades last week, as he was named the state's Gatorade track athlete of the year.
His best discus throw of 196 feet six inches placed him No. 5 nationally. Loy is a repeat state champion in discus and shot put.

SOCCER

The South prevailed 2-1 over its northern foes in the North-South girls all-star soccer match this past Sunday at Blackbaud Stadium. Hannah Ross, of Wando, notched the game-winning goal. Warriors teammate Grace Gore assisted on the South's first goal. In the boys contest, the North handled the South 3-1. Academic Magnet's Jonathan Glenn scored the South's lone goal.

GOLF

Jamie Wilson tied the lowest day score of the Rice Planters Amateur tournament at Snee Farm Country Club tournament this past week with a final-round 67. The 15-year-old Mount Pleasant product finished in a tie for 14th place and just eight strokes off the winner.

Maverick Antcliff, a rising sophomore at Augusta State, won the tournament (68-70-66—204) in a playoff against Austin Cody (71-66-67—204).

Wilson (73-72-67—212) plays for defending 2A state champion Bishop England and earned a spot on the all-state team after placing fifth in the state tournament match. Last year, Wilson racked up wins at the Florence Boys Invitational, SCJA Tommy Cuthbert All-Stars, HJGT Myrtle Beach Challenge and SCJA Player's Championship. He has qualified for the Georgia-South Carolina Team Challenge and the Bobby Champan Invitational this fall.

RUGBY

Over the June 16-17 Father's Day weekend, USA Rugby held the South Regional All-Star Tournament at Life University in Marietta, Ga. Talent from boys and girls high school rugby teams representing South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Louisiana competed in pool play. The boys represented South Carolina's two all-star teams: Team Palmetto (blue) and Team Crescent (red). The School of the Arts fielded a girls team, as well.

It put several Lowcountry players on a national stage. These games are were also used by USA Rugby for qualifying to the USA Rugby High School All-Americans Stars and Stripes Team. Those player selections are expected to be announced soon.

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