Two members of Walters State’s 2018 No. 1-ranked JUCO World Series runner-up team were drafted Thursday night as pitcher Landon Knack and outfielder Tyler Gentry will play at the professional level.
For the WSCC baseball program, this is nothing new, but with all collegiate sports shut down since March, the selections of Knack and Gentry was something to celebrate for Senators coach Dave Shelton.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for both Landon and Tyler to be drafted this year,” Shelton said. “Having two former players selected in the top three rounds of the draft is a proud moment for everyone in the Senator Family.”
Knack, who finished his college career at East Tennessee State University after three years (including a redshirt season) at Walters State, was picked at No. 60 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gentry, who spent two seasons at the University of Alabama after his single year as a Senator, was selected in the third round at No. 76 overall by the Kansas City Royals.
“I know it is a dream come true for them both and I look forward to following both during their pro career and cannot wait to see them in a big league uniform,” Shelton said. “It is so thrilling to see the hard work that they have put in paying off for them both, and they are a great example for all of our current and future players that they can reach their goals and dreams also.”
In 2018, Knack finished with a 13-0 pitching record with three complete games and 16 starts, finishing with a 3.01 E.R.A.
He was just as good with his bat, hitting .343 in 99 at-bats with eight doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 37 RBIs.
In 2017, Knack finished with a 1.50 ERA in three pitching appearances and batted .276 with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs.
“I’m forever thankful for my time at Walters State,” Knack said. “It toughened me up and taught me what it takes to be a winner. Yesterday, hearing my name called was a dream come true and I’m excited to have taken my first step toward the ultimate goal of making the big leagues.”
Knack was 4-0 this past season with the Bucs with a 1.08 E.R.A. He led the nation with 51 strikeouts. He is the third highest drafted ETSU baseball player in the school’s history.
In Gentry’s single season at WSCC, he batted .379 with 11 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs and 72 RBIs.
“My time at Walters was one of the best years of my life,” Gentry said. “It helped me develop into the player and person I am today and ultimately helped me achieve my dream of being drafted.”
At Alabama, Gentry was an everyday right fielder for the past two seasons, batting .335 with 18 doubles, 17 home runs and 63 RBIs.
Gentry led the Crimson Tide in every offensive statistic in 2019. He is the second highest Alabama outfielder drafted in team history.
Both men were key contributors on a top-ranked Senators squad that finished as the runner-up in the 2018 JUCO World Series, falling 10-7 to Chipola in the final game.