NORFOLK, Va. - With the Major League Baseball Draft beginning Sunday evening, Old Dominion baseball players hope to hear their names called, including outfielder Kyle Battle.
Battle knows that his life will rapidly change if he hears his name called in the draft, and after getting advice from advisers and former ODU teammates, he's ready to make the jump to the pro level.
"I kinda have an idea of what’s to come feel like I'm pretty prepared for it," Battle said. "I know the lifestyle is a grind if you want to make it to the big leagues, so I’m just ready to go through that."
Battle wants to make it to the Bigs and to hopefully one day experience what it's like to win a World Series trophy. Although, it was actually a Stanley Cup trophy that first took up space in Battle's mind as a child.
Baseball was the last sport Battle picked up. Ice hockey came first when he started skating at four years old, a few years before he gave baseball a try.
"Once sophomore year of high school hit it was kinda like, alright, let's wee out those other sports and really start focusing on baseball," Battle said. "I still miss hockey to this day. I watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it’s like wow that would be amazing to play in, but also I know a World Series championship, that would be my top dream ever."
While Battle's ditched his hockey stick for a bat, he views those days on the ice as being extremely beneficial to the way he developed as a baseball player.
"I think playing hockey actually helped with baseball because hockey’s a lot of rotational stuff," Battle said. "A lot of core strength and I think that translated over to baseball because when I was still playing hockey and baseball I was crushing balls. I was only what? 12, 13, but I was hitting balls a lot farther than a lot of 12, 13-year-olds."
Battle's older now, but his ability to hit bombs remains. He led the team in home runs this year with 18, a number that ranks 16th nationally, and after many successful seasons at ODU he's received good feedback from pro teams.
"A lot of interest. They all said I'm a great player, I had a great year, Battle said. "Regardless, I'm gonna be happy with any place I'm at if my name's called.”
Day two of the MLB Draft gets underway at 1 p.m. on Monday and the draft concludes on Tuesday.