Having a chance to fulfill a lifetime dream is something the lefty said he couldn’t pass up.
“It is a big opportunity,” St. John said. “I can do it again if it does not work out this time. I can go to junior college and I can enter again after one or two years. It is my dream to play in the big leagues. It is a dream come true and an opportunity that I wouldn’t pass up for anything. I have worked very hard to get this opportunity and I think that it has paid off. We are going to see how it works out and see if this is it.”
The pitcher signed a scholarship to play baseball at Southern Union in January. Since signing, Auburn has showed interest in St. John. The pitcher was impressive in their game against St. Clair County in which an Auburn scout was there. St. John insists that he will pitch on the college level if he feels like he could be a higher draft pick in the future.
“I have signed with (Southern Union),” St. John said. “Auburn has come in late, they talked to me and offered me. Money is a big thing too, if you don’t get enough you still can go to college and do what you want to do. It is like going from 16 to 25 when you are entering the draft. You have to grow up real fast; you may not like it, you just have to see how it is. I am willing to try that. It is a really good opportunity for me and my family to be a part of that.”
This season St. John recorded 107 strikes and had an ERA of 1.12 off the mound. St.John led Pell City to the second round of the AHSAA 6A playoffs.
“My coaches did an outstanding job of helping me get ready for games and throwing programs,” St. John said. “I have a trainer during the fall, Mr. Bobby Watson. He helps me a lot; he was Mr. Todd’s (Jones) trainer when he was in the big leagues. Mr. Todd has helped me a lot with advice about the small things that help your game out. Coach (Andrew) Tarver, coach (Eammon) Kelly, and coach Skipper (Jones) give me advice all the time. They teach me how to do the right things and knowing what to do at the right time. They help me come up with the game plans and executing them. Executing is a big thing in baseball. If you execute you have a lot better chance of winning, if you get beat you have shake the hands of the other guys and say ‘Heck you beat me today.’ My support system is awesome. My family, my friends help me day in and day out. They give me advice about life; they help me have a life outside of baseball. If I do bad they will still be there for me and if I do good they will be there for me.”
Pell City head coach Andrew Tarver said once St. John began to consistently pitch at a high-level, things began to pick for him recruiting wise.
“Locke couldn’t be considered a late bloomer, because he is only 17 years old,” Tarver said. “He just now started to throw consistently where we thought he would at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. His last four starts, he was throwing consistently 87-88 (mph) and he hit 89 every once in a while. That is where we expected Locke to be and obviously word got out. We sent some emails out, we talked to scouts at the Hoover Tournament and the ball began rolling then. They saw the velocity be more consistent than every once in a while.”
Tarver said he has heard St. John could be a middle round in the next month’s draft.
“It doesn’t hurt you to see what you draft status may be,” Tarver said. “I’ve talked to a few guys and they said any where between the 18th and the 30th round is probably a good position for him the way he graded out on the scales. It is not going to hurt him or help him. He has the decision if he wants to go or go play in college and get a college education.”
This season the pitcher threw a 13 strike out no-hitter against area foe Gadsden City in early April. The senior said his most memorable game of his career occurred when he they traveled to take on archrival Oxford.
“It was pretty awesome at Oxford when you have their student section on your side and screaming in your face,” St. John said. “I threw a seven-inning shutout against them and beat them 3-0. That was pretty amazing. That gives me chills every time I think about it, because Oxford is our I-20 rival. It is not much better baseball than seeing 6A Oxford and Pell City play each other.”
St. John knows that none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the support of his family and the influential coaches.
“I want to thank my family and my friends for staying and sticking with me,” St. John said. “I love every one of them. I want to thank my coaches, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. My summer coaches taught me one little thing and that’s how to throw a curve ball. My support system is awesome and I want to thank them. Hopefully, they will be behind for the rest of my life.”