BURBANK — Although he just completed his senior baseball season, Burbank High baseball standout Lonnie Kauppila has already fulfilled two of his dreams.
Last year, Kauppila fulfilled a childhood dream of earning a college scholarship when he signed with Stanford.
Wednesday, another one of his long-standing desires came true when he was chosen in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft. Kauppila was drafted in the 44th round — 1,325 overall — by the Oakland Athletics.
“It’s kind of a dream come true for me,” Kauppila said. “It’s definitely something that I can tell the grandkids about when I get older. It’s just a good feeling being taken anywhere in the draft.
“It was also nice knowing that wherever I went in the draft, I always had Stanford to fall back on.”
Kauppila, a shortstop, is the first player to be drafted from Burbank High in 10 years. The last was Corry Parrott, who was taken in the 48th round of the 2000 draft by the Chicago White Sox.
The last local chosen was former resident Tom Vassella, who attended Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. He was taken in the 11th round — 339th overall — in 2006 by the Houston Astros.
With a full college ride, Kauppila indicated he will likely opt to attend Stanford in the fall rather than sign with Oakland.
“I wasn’t really surprised, but I was just relieved that I actually got drafted, anyway,” Kauppila said. “I was kind of anxious to know [when I would be drafted]. I was just waiting and trying to see what’s gonna happen. I was just waiting for my name and it finally came.”
Kauppila, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, batted .443 with three home runs, 35 hits, 22 runs batted in, 35 runs scored and 21 stolen bases as a senior for the Bulldogs, helping them to the postseason. He also drew 21 walks, had a .569 on-base percentage and a .759 slugging percentage.
In 2009, Kauppila batted .545 and earned All-State and All-CIF Southern Section honors.
“I knew I was going to get drafted, I just didn’t know when,” Kauppila said. “My signability was really low, I guess, because I was asking for a lot of money [to sign]. All the teams kind of knew that and with Stanford and all, they thought I was pretty much going to go with the college choice.”
Kauppila said he is excited to attend college and improve his stock for future drafts.
“It’s probably for sure I’m going to go to college and just wait three years and try and get picked a lot higher next time,” Kauppila said. “I’m not too worried. We should have a really good team next year [at Stanford] and I’m kind of excited to see what happens next year.
“I’ve still got a lot of weight to gain and a lot of stuff to learn, so I think three years down the road I’ll be a lot better and have a better opportunity of going higher.”