Smithfield: Sports

Purpose Driven pitcher drafted

Patrick Goetze is 6-foot-6, has mechanics that repeat like clockwork every pitch and is rarely caught out of position, routinely leaving the mound to cover first or back up a throw.

These are the tangible qualities that the Boston Red Sox saw when they selected him in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 8. But the Zebulon native is much more than these attributes. His struggles and ability to overcome adversity have led him to this point – which makes him proud.

“Being a drafted is probably one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me in my life,” Goetze said. “I’m really blessed and thank God for this opportunity. It’s very special to have a pro team come look at you and it’s an honor … it wasn’t easy for me to get that opportunity.”

While it’s difficult for most high school athletes to get looks from scouts, it was especially difficult for Goetze because he didn’t play for a public or private high school. The right-hander was home schooled throughout high school and was a member of the Home School Warriors baseball team.

The Warriors regularly play other home-schooled teams and defeated such teams as Millbrook, East Wake and Apex this past year.

But for Goetze to attract more attention, he needed to play as often as possible. So he reached out to Jay Stott, the founder of Purpose Driven baseball – a showcase team based out of Clayton.

“I feel like if I would have gone to a more traditional high school there probably would have been more interest from more teams,” Goetze explained. “But playing for coach Jay (Stott) with Purpose Driven and the Home School Warriors was an excellent opportunity for me and that helped a lot.”

Having a strenuous regiment as a pitcher can sometimes lead to complications. For Goetze, it led to an injury that required Tommy John surgery in March 2012 to repair his ulnar collateral ligament.

Though Goetze was hampered by injuries during his sophomore season and sidelined by the surgery, Warriors coach Warren Harvey said it was then that Goetze began to show his true character and became a leader.

“He is just a great kid and has kept everything in perspective,” Harvey said. “He dealt with adversity with injuries and through all of that, he didn’t allow it to keep him from pursuing his goals. Patrick never missed a practice or a game while he was injured and helped motivate his teammates. Seeing that and seeing his hard work along with his skills, I think, makes him a great prospect for any scout.”

Goetze was ecstatic to have his name called by the Red Sox, but he had committed to Louisburg College prior to the draft. With a decision still looming that has to be made by 5 p.m. July 12, Goetze said he is still weighing his options.

“The Red Sox want to work me out in early July, so right now I’m not sure,” he said. “I would love to go play at Louisburg or pursue my pro career. Neither one are opportunities that happen for everyone. At this point, it’s really just where the Lord leads me.”