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ECCC's Carlos Leal Selected in MLB Draft
 June 11, 2012

ECCC Diamond Warrior Leal Has Tough Decision to Make

After two standout seasons at East Central Community College in Decatur, catcher Carlos Leal has a tough decision to make regarding his baseball career.

Leal, who late last fall signed a letter of intent with Delta State University in Cleveland, was drafted May 6 in the 33rd round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Although he has not decided which path he will take, Leal was obviously excited about the prospect of playing major league baseball.

“It means a lot to me,” said the Puerto Rico native regarding his opportunity to play in the big leagues. “Getting drafted and getting a chance to play professional baseball is great and I am very excited.”

ECCC head baseball coach Neal Holliman said Leal is well deserving of the attention he has received, especially from major league baseball.

“He’s just one of those guys that you cannot say enough about,” said Holliman of the 6’, 190-pound product of Colegio San Ignacio High School in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. “Carlos was a phenomenal leader; his work ethic was off the charts. He was also a good student in the classroom. You don’t get a chance to coach guys like that every day.”

Leal’s hard work obviously paid off for the Diamond Warriors’ team captain as he was the only catcher named on the All-Region 23 team and was a unanimous selection for first team MACJC All-State honors following the 2012 campaign.

He batted .321 with three home runs, six doubles and 27 RBIs. But he was most impressive on defense, where he compiled a .929 fielding percentage behind the plate and almost completely silenced opponents’ running games. In recognition of his success behind the plate, Leal was a co-recipient of most valuable defensive player honors.

“He just shut down the running game,” Holliman said. “He did not throw out many guys…because no one would run on him. Out of respect, they wouldn’t even try. His percentage was unbelievable.”

But it’s more than just “stats” that makes Leal a standout student-athlete.

“It’s really nice when your best players are your best people with the best work ethic,” said Holliman. “You see guys who get drafted because they are great athletes but don’t have the best work ethic…Carlos has it all…he’s Grade A…and deserves everything that comes to him.”

Leal also had praise for his former head coach and the ECCC baseball program.

“Coach Holliman helped me a lot on and off the field and he was always there for me,” said Leal. “I really enjoyed playing for him, and I am very thankful for the opportunity that Coach Holliman and ECCC gave me to study and play baseball.”

Leal is the fourth player in four years drafted from the Diamond Warrior program.

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