GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison Central Red Rebels are one year removed from a trip to the 6A state championship series.
LSU signee Bobby Bradley was a junior on that team with a powerful bat, but is not even 24 hours removed from the actual realization that his dream of being selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft could be coming true sooner than he thinks.
"I woke up this morning and was like, 'Wow, it's finally here,'" Bradley said. "It's a day that could change my life forever."
Bradley was projected by MLB.com as the 68th best prospect available, so it was possible that he could be drafted on day one during rounds 1-2.
In 2013, which was Bradley's junior year at Harrison Central High School, Derrick Mount was in front of him in the lineup, and then James Land followed Bradley.
"There was no way around it," Bradley said. "You're not going to walk the leadoff, you can't walk me to have runners on first and second with no outs for James to come up. That's not going to happen."
This year was a little different. Mount graduated and took the JUCO baseball route to Pearl River Community College after leading Harrison Central with 47 hits and sporting a batting average of .511.
Land's team-leading 44 RBIs for the Red Rebels were gone because he graduated as well, but went to PRCC's rival -- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Bradley returned, but was forced into the leadoff spot this year in order to get some at bats and avoid more intentional walks than what he was getting early in his senior season.
"I expected it to happen," Bradley said. "Coach (Pat) Olmi was talking with other teams and they said they were going to walk me. I was expecting to be the leadoff hitter. When he actually put me at leadoff, it took me a minute to adjust but I ended up getting the hang of it."
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Bradley had his batting average take a hit this season, dropping from .567 to .340, but he still whacked six home runs and walked 29 times in 22 games.
For a young hitter with pro potential, Bradley understands what it would mean financially to be drafted early. However, if he doesn't like the compensation he's offered from the pro organization that drafts him, LSU Tigers head coach Paul Mainieri will be seeing him in Baton Rouge.
Bradley wasn't drafted in the first or second rounds, so the longer he stays available for MLB teams, as well as a decrease in expected compensation offered by the team that drafts him, the likelihood of him joining LSU for next season will keep increasing.