Sam Johns, recently drafted by the Washington Nationals, played at the University of Evansville for five years after graduating Civic Memorial in 2009.
Sam Johns is living out his childhood dreams in Florida.
No, the 2009 Civic Memorial graduate isn’t on vacation to Disney World; he’s fulfilling a lifelong aspiration and riding a wave of excitement in the weeks since being drafted by the Washington Nationals.
“This is the pinnacle, but not the end, of a lot of hard work that it took to get to this point,” said Johns, a recent graduate of the University of Evansville in southern Indiana. “This has been a dream of mine since I was kid, but it’s just the beginning.”
Currently at spring training in Viera, Fla., Johns was the 934th overall draft pick by the Nationals.
“I was at home in Bethalto with family when we saw that I had been picked,” he added. “I can’t really say that I was surprised because my draft had been a work in progress for several years.”
After training, Johns said he will likely end up playing for the Auburn Doubledays, a minor-league team in Auburn, N.Y.
Through five seasons with the UE baseball program, he’s worked his way up the college baseball ladder, landing him the chance he now prepares for.
It’s safe to say he’s come a long way since his time with the Eagles playing for CM coach Gary Bruening. But Johns’ major league dreams began in the River Bend.
“One of the first times I saw Sam Johns throw a pitch was in the high school gym at the start of his freshman year,” Bruening said. “I knew right then and there that if he worked at it he could go far, and he’s impressed me every time I’ve seen him play since.”
During his successful prep career, he helped tie a school record for wins in a single-season, going 9-2 with a 1.93 ERA. He also set single-season and career records for strikeouts at CM before moving across the state four years ago to play for Purple Aces coach Wes Carrol.
Johns finished up his college career with 15 saves; tying him for the fifth-most in UE’s history. He also recorded 11 of his 15 career saves this season, tying him for the top mark in the Missouri Valley Conference and for the fourth-most in a single season by an Aces’ pitcher.
He made 70 career appearances on the mound for the Purple Aces and finished this season with 25 strikeouts in his 30.2 innings of relief.
Alongside a lengthy list of personal accolades, Johns was part of two Evansville shutouts this season and three over his career, as well as being the seventh Aces’ player to be drafted under Carol.