Less than 48 hours after the University of Georgia’s heartbreaking loss to Duke in the NCAA baseball regional final, Michael Curry was sitting beside a few close friends from his living room in Athens, streaming a live broadcast of the MLB draft on his computer.
Curry, a 2015 Gainesville High graduate and junior right fielder for the Bulldogs, admitted angst after hearing names other than his own called within the first 10 rounds.
Early Wednesday, he got the call. It was San Diego.
Curry was taken by the Padres with the No. 471 overall pick in the 16th round. He is the second Gainesville alum picked by San Diego in the last five years. Michael Getty's, a second-round selection by the Padres in 2014, now plays Double-A in San Antonio.
“It’s definitely been a emotional roller coaster day for sure,” Curry said Wednesday, June 6. “It was a little stressful, not gonna lie. I had a few calls from some teams before the draft, asking some questions. And then I got a call from the scout. He said, ‘Hug your dad, kiss your mom. Congratulations, we’re gonna pick you in the 16th round.’
“This is definitely relieving. But this is only the start of the journey.”
It has been an eventful week for the Curry family in general. Days earlier, Curry's younger brother Joey won a North Carolina State 1A baseball championship for Murphy High, the school Michael attended before transferring to Gainesville.
Michael said the journey to get to this moment wasn’t from his efforts alone.
“It was a team effort by my whole support group — my parents, my little brother (Joey), my best friend Gaige (Cox) being by my side,” Curry said. “Everyone in my corner has made this dream come true.”
The junior was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2018 as he led the Bulldogs to the No. 8 national seed in the NCAA tournament and a 39-21 final record. Georgia hosted the Athens regional, won by Duke on Monday, June 4. Curry hit three home runs in four games at the regional, including two in a win against Troy.
Curry batted .322 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs during his third season in Athens, serving as a co-captain for a second straight season.
“My bat is what carried my career. No question,” said Curry, who was told by San Diego he could be used in the outfield or at first base. “My focus is my bat, and we’ll go from there.”
“He’s been a leader wherever he’s gone,” said Jeremy Kemp, Curry’s coach at Gainesville.
Kemp said Curry’s driven approach is paying off.
“He’s never satisfied,” Kemp said. “He’s always continuing to work to get better.”
And now, Curry will have that same opportunity to refine his craft at the next level. Curry confirmed he will be taking that next step in his career as a Padre.
“I knew this situation would come,” Curry said. “I think Georgia has prepared me to be a professional baseball player, and I’m ready to take that next step in my life and my career. I have to give credit to the University of Georgia and the coaching staff, and what they’ve done for me over the years.
“I’ve matured on and off the field. I’m ready. Everything has fallen into place,” Curry said. “I’m ready to be a San Diego Padre, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Daily News Editor Clark Leonard contributed to this report.