K.J. Hockaday, the former John Carroll infielder who set the career MIAA record for home runs with 31, has opted to play for the University of Maryland instead of sign with the Orioles.
The O's drafted Hockaday in the 14th round of the MLB draft in June, but the two parties were not able to come to an agreement.
"It wasn't that close at all," Hockaday said of the offer the Orioles made. He declined to divulge specifics concerning the offer.
This summer, the 18-year-old is playing on Youse's Maryland Orioles, a collegiate summer team based in Linthicum, Md. The team is currently competing in the long-running AAABA Baseball Tournament, a tournament that has featured a host of future professionals over the years, including Hall-of-Famers Al Kaline and Reggie Jackson.
On Youse's Oriole squad, Hockaday finds himself playing with current Terps and, like himself, future contributors. Rising senior pitcher Sander Beck is on the team, as is Bobby Ruse, an incoming freshman from C. Milton Wright. The Orioles drafted Beck in the 33rd round in June.
Hockaday said he informed University of Maryland baseball coach Erik Bakich approximately two weeks ago of his decision and was not disappointed that he did not sign with the O's, who he grew up dreaming to play for.
"[I'll] just use it as motivation and try to get drafted again in a few years," he said.
Hockaday, who broke the home run record held by former Mount St. Joseph slugger Mark Teixeira, will not be eligible to be drafted until after his junior season.
The deadline to sign draft picks is fast approaching for the Orioles. The team loses the draft rights of any player it does not sign by midnight on Aug. 15.