BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Major League Baseball organizations don't spend second round picks on just anyone, it's a lofty investment they hope brings great results in short order.
Taken 55th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Cody Ponce is well aware of this, but it's not where the Shuckers' right-handed pitcher finds his motivation.
"I wouldn't say it's so much a fan pressure or the round I got drafted in," Ponce said. "I have a lot of pressure from my mother, but there's a story behind that one."
A quick look at his Twitter account tells that story. It's a story of a son's love for his mother, Jennifer, as she battled through cancer, a battle she lost on December 1st, 2017.
"She was my biggest supporter," Ponce said. "I just do everything because of her now, and I always know she's looking up above. I have her and my grandfather, and dangit, they were hard-headed people. But they never would have wanted nothing but the best and for me to do my best."
Even through such a trying time in his life, Ponce keeps a smile on his face. He says that's what his mom would have wanted.
"(I) just try to do everything for her," Ponce said with a smile. "(I'm trying) to get on TV as fast as I can, even though we've got TV down here as well, so I say you know what? She's watching me and that's all I care about."
As the Brewers' 14th-rated prospect enters his fourth season in their system, reminders of his mother have never been far away. Over the years, he has posted pictures on his Twitter account of personalized gloves that bear her name. and he'll continue to honor her memory every time he steps on the mound at MGM Park.
"I've definitely got a little bit different perspective. Not just so much on baseball but on life as well. Just happy to be out here, be able to play the game that she loved to watch me play. That's all I can do."
The 6-6, 240 pound prospect figures to be a key part of the Shuckers' pitching rotation, as Biloxi begins Southern League play at Montgomery on Thursday.