Van Pope plans to go pro

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
June 11, 2004
Van Pope may opt not to continue his college baseball career at Ole Miss next season in favor of joining the ranks of professional baseball.
The Meridian Community College third baseman was drafted by the Atlanta Braves with the 161st pick overall in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft on Monday
Pope said in a phone interview on Thursday that he is in negotiations with the Braves, and he may sign with the Atlanta ballclub next week.
Pope, who helped lead the Eagles to back-to-back trips to the Junior College World Series, ended his MCC career with a .410 batting average, 31 home runs and 107 RBIs in two seasons.
He also made spot appearances on the pitcher's mound, compiling a 3-3 record and seven saves in 21 appearances.
Pope signed a letter of intent earlier this year to play baseball for Ole Miss next season.
MCC is also waiting to see if one of the team's incoming freshman will opt to forgo college for a chance at professional baseball.
Grenada native Terrell Young was drafted in the 10th round 288th overall by the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
Amateur players do not have to sign with the teams that select them. If they remain unsigned by next year's draft, they can re-enter the draft.

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