'Even small towns can produce talented players'

Daniel Green

When your last name is Poe and you live in Vernon Parish, La., most people would expect big things from you in the realm of athletics.

Growing up with a legacy of athletic prowess in the family, Chad Poe, a 2006 graduate of Simpson High School, had dreams of playing professional baseball.

After being drafted in the 40th round by Pittsburgh a year ago, Poe opted to go back to Bossier Parish Community College for a second season.

And that paid off as Poe recently inked a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted him in the 27th round of the recent Major League Baseball Draft.

"This is always what I wanted to do," Poe said. "It hasn't really sunk in yet that I'm going to be pitching for the Phillies. But this goes to show you that if you work hard, even small towns can produce talented players."

Poe, who began his career on the field at Hicks High School, grew up around solid high school baseball players at a school with many, many championships.

In elementary school, he watched the likes of Kameron Dixon, Tommy Gordy and Ryan Gordy. Early in his career, he was teammates with Casey Wallace and Richard Smith.

His first two high school years, he played for Hicks. However, as a junior, he transferred to Simpson High School, playing his final two seasons for the Broncos.

After his high school career was over, he opted for the junior college route along with Simpson teammate Michael Boyd, as they both signed with Bossier Parish Community College.

Poe had a solid first year at the school and was drafted by the Pirates in the 40th round of the 2007 draft. However, Poe chose to go back to BPCC to see if he could improve his stock.

During the fall season, Poe was simply phenomenal, with an earned run average of less than 2.00. It seemed as if everything was going his way.

However, according to father Don Poe, he developed some arm problems during the spring, which limited the righthander to just 36 innings pitched.

During those 36 innings, he allowed less than a hit per inning, while averaging over a strikeout per inning. Opposing hitters batted just .245 against Poe, who had a save and a record of 1-3 in limited work.

But since the end of the season, Poe's arm problems have gone away and he was drafted by the Phillies in the 27th round.

Not sure if he was going to sign with the Phillies or go to Southern Miss to pitch, Poe prepared to pitch for his summer league team.

The Phillies decided to send some people in to watch him pitch, only to have the game washed out due to rain. Regardless, Poe pitched a bullpen session for the Phillies' representatives and they came away impressed.

Although the terms of his deal weren't disclosed, Poe said he was very happy with his contract and can't wait to join the Phillies' rookie league club in Clearwater, Fla.

"I threw a pretty good bullpen for them and they gave me a good offer," Poe said. "I'll be leaving for Florida next week and I am happy with my contract. I can't wait to get started."

Leesville Daily Leader