Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 7, 2014

Red Sox draft Shepherd

Lawrence County product, Kentucky junior taken in 13th round

LEXINGTON — Just six years ago, Chandler Shepherd was a high school freshman who led Lawrence County past Greenup County with an incredible pitching effort in the state tournament in Lexington.

Shepherd retained the state’s attention throughout his Bulldogs career, setting a scoreless innings streak record on the mound and pounding home runs at the plate despite sitting out an entire season from pitching due to Tommy John surgery.

Now, he’s got the nation’s eyes on him. Red Sox Nation, that is.

Boston drafted the Kentucky junior right-hander in the 13th round of the major league baseball draft on Saturday. He was the 404th overall pick.

Shepherd was also drafted out of high school, taken in the 41st round by the Chicago White Sox in 2011. He elected to stick with his commitment to the Wildcats, though.

He currently has an option to return to Kentucky for his senior season if he so chooses.

Travis Feltner, Shepherd’s high school coach, spoke with Shepherd on Saturday after hearing the news.

“I just told him how proud I am of him and I thanked him for allowing me to be a part of his life,” Feltner said. “He has always been an extremely driven, motivated young man. Everybody around here always knew he was a rare breed.”

In three seasons as a Wildcat, Shepherd went 13-6 in 60 games. He amassed 19 starts, recording a 3.45 earned run average in 188 innings. He struck out 128 batters, walking just 57, and saved two games — one of the saves came in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Shepherd also enjoyed successful summers, one in the Perfect Game Collegiate League and another in the esteemed Cape Cod League. He was an All-Star in both.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder opened his junior season as the Wildcats’ Saturday starter. He zoomed out to a sterling 5-0 record before sustaining a forearm laceration that sidelined him for three weeks. He finished the year at 5-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 games (nine starts). He fanned 56 batters in 76 1-3 innings.

Shepherd was the fourth Wildcat selected in the 2014 draft. He joined A.J. Reed (second round; Astros), Austin Cousino (third round; Mariners) and Max Kuhn (13th round; Athletics).

Shepherd is the area’s highest draft pick since 2000, when Ashland’s Brandon Webb went to the Diamondbacks in the eighth round and Boyd County’s Jason Keyser went to the Pirates in the 12th round.

“I talked to all of our coaches today, and we’re all excited for him and his family,” Feltner said. “Being drafted out of high school, that was an awesome thing. But he made the right decision by going to college, and now he’s receiving a very big reward for that.

“The draft is such a crapshoot,” Feltner added. “You never know where you’re going to land. I wasn’t surprised a bit today to hear the news.”

Shepherd is the son of Jim and Cindy Shepherd, both of Louisa.

He could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

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