Toros’ good Knight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Former Selma Saints pitcher Jamil Knight hopes the third time is the charm.

The right-hander, who is pitching for the Selma Toros this summer, was drafted twice by the Chicago Cubs. Once in the 47th round and again in the 46th round in back-to-back years.

After finishing his junior college career at Shelton, Knight signed with Division-1 program Florida A&M in hopes of attracting major league baseball’s attention one more time.

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Knight transferred from Southside to Selma after playing for the Panthers varsity team his seventh, eighth and ninth grade years.

He starred on the mound for the Saints and was drafted in the 47th round by the Cubs.

But the psychology major decided to pursue his dream while earning a college degree.

He went to Shelton where he worked to get better his freshman year.

The Cubs drafted Knight again, this time a round earlier, but he decided to stick at Shelton for his sophomore year.

An elbow injury derailed his plans. Knight dedicated himself to rehab, took a red shirt year and worked on getting bigger and stronger.

But it wasn’t easy.

Sitting out a year and the injury to his throwing arm gave Knight some doubts.

Knight credits a lot of his improvements to the Cubs scout that first spotted him. The only female scout in major league baseball at the time, she encouraged Knight to keep working.

Knight is using this summer playing for the Lowndes County Amateur Baseball League’s Toros to keep his arm in shape for the upcoming season.

Though they struggled Sunday afternoon, the Toros play again this weekend against Calhoun.

The teams will play game four of their best of five playoff series at Bloch Park. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

Playing in the league, Knight said he’s had a chance to learn some things from the veterans, like 47-year-old first baseman Joe Rudolph.

The Toros have also helped Knight learn how to tune out fans. The rambunctious atmosphere around the game forces Knight to bear down and concentrate.

Months from now when Knight’s on the hill facing Miami or Florida State and the crowds riding him, it still won’t match the harassment he faces each weekend for the Toros.

If Knight can overcome that challenge, it’ll be time to face the one he’s put off twice before.