Connellsville senior drafted by Mariners in 35th-round
Hunter Lonigro was walking with a friend on Ocean City's boardwalk Wednesday when his phone rang with an unfamiliar number.
The voice on the other end told him, Congratulations, he had been selected in the 35th round. The caller was Pittsburgh-based Mariners scout Ross Vecchio, ready to inform the recent Connellsville graduate he had been picked on Day 3 of the MLB Draft.
Seattle drafted him No. 1,053 overall.
“We were so shocked, we stopped in our tracks,” Lonigro said. “We were like, is this real? This is awesome.”
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-handed pitcher, whose father is a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, didn't play high school baseball as a senior at Connellsville. He played football and basketball last school year, but chose to skip baseball.
However, Lonigro did work out for scouts and competed in a national baseball showcase.
“I traveled around with my dad for some workouts in front of some professionals and scouts,” said Lonigro, whose fastball can reach the upper 80s. “We've been to West Palm Beach. We've been to Phoenix, Ariz. … We've been in touch with a lot of scouts.”
Lonigro was the only high school athlete drafted from the WPIAL this year.
His father, Greg, is national crosschecker in the Diamondbacks' front office. The 1984 Geibel graduate and Connellsville native was a minor league infielder for the Reds, White Sox and Cubs.
Lonigro said his likely next step is to find a junior college “somewhere hot” where he can pitch but was thrilled to join his father as an MLB draftee.
“I was pumped,” he said. “I was really, really excited.”