LOUISBURG -- When watching Seth Johnson play shortstop, one intangible always intrigued Louisburg College baseball coach Blake Herring.
"I used to watch Seth make that throw from the hole and say to myself what a strong arm he had,'' Herring said. "It was pretty easy to notice.''
Johnson must have also caught on as he opted to attempt to become a pitcher midway through his sophomore campaign at LC -- after spending the preview one-and-one-half campaigns manning the left side of the infield.
That proved to be a million-dollar decision for Johnson, who went on to pitch this season at Campbell University, where his fastball soared into the mid-to-upper 90s.
Major League clubs took notice immediately, and Johnson was selected 40th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the supplemental portion First Round of the MLB Draft.
With an estimate pick/signing value at $1.86 million, Johnson suddenly finds himself poised to become a wealthy man.
Flash back to last spring, when Johnson wasn't sure what his future held as his time at LC was nearing its end.
"I think Seth kind of saw the handwriting on the wall that he wasn't going to play (Division I baseball) as a shortstop,'' Herring said. "So we talked about it and decided to pitch him in a junior varsity game and he threw 87 mph right off the bat, which was pretty amazing.
"We ended up working him into some varsity games before he broke a finger and missed the rest of the year. But Campbell had seen him and really liked his potential. It just kind of fell together.''
Johnson appeared in 14 games this spring for the Camels with 11 starts. He went 3-3 overall and boasted a whopping 81 strikeouts in just 66 innings of work.
Johnson also helped the Camels qualify for the NCAA Greenville Regional Tournament, where they were topped Monday by host East Carolina University for the right to advance to the Super Regionals.
That same day, Johnson head the news that he had been tabbed by Tampa Bay to fulfill a dream that most young baseball players think about.
"The biggest thing you hear from scouts is that Seth still has a young arm because he hasn't pitched that much,'' Herring said. "I don't really know how much he pitched in high school (at Jay Robinson HS in Concord), but I don't think it was a lot because he came in here as an infielder.
"He has a clean delivery and he doesn't walk a lot of guys. And he is still learning, yet still able to hit 98 on the radar gun this year.
"I'm just really happy for him because he is a hard worker who has great parents. He is a 4.0 student and was an outstanding teammate when he was here.''