Poplarville native drafted in eleventh round by the Detroit Tigers

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Zac Houston will be taking his talents to Detroit after being drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round, 235 overall, in the 2016 MLB draft.

Zac Houston will be taking his talents to Detroit after being drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round, 235 overall, in the 2016 MLB draft.

Every athlete growing up dreams of one day making it to the big leagues, but only a select few get the opportunity. On Saturday, Poplarville native and Mississippi State Junior pitcher Zac Houston was drafted in the eleventh round, 235 overall, to the Detroit Tigers.

“When I found out it was a little overwhelming. I jumped out of my seat and hugged everyone that was an arms length away. Emotions filled the room and I had to try so hard to hold back the tears,” said Houston.

On that day, Houston and the Mississippi State Bulldogs had a game at 5:00 p.m. and he was drafted at 11:05 a.m. Houston and a couple of his teammates were drafted this year, and could not stop calling each other in celebration, Houston said.

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“I got calls from a lot of my teammates congratulating me on being drafted. We all were so excited for each other and enthusiastic about the next chapter of our lives. I have seen all the efforts we’ve put in to make this dream come true. We would always joke about making it to the next level, but when it actually happens, it’s almost unreal,” said Houston.

His mother, Tera Houston, described the moment in one word, “surreal.”

“This is what he has been doing for as long as he can remember. When you realize what you want and you know what you want to do and how to do it, nothing can get in your way, and that’s what happened with Zachary. Every practice, every meeting and every game he was involved in was preparation for chasing his dream,” Tera Houston said.

Zac Houston said his passion of baseball started at a very young age and is what motivates him to go as far and be as good as he possible can.

“Ever since I picked up my first baseball, I never wanted to set it down and to this day, that feeling remains. It’s always what I wanted to do and for me to be able to continue playing is a blessing,” said Zac Houston. “After being drafted I could feel a huge weight fall off my shoulders. It was a nerve-racking experience but now I just get to play and there is no better feeling than that.”

Zac Houston plans on finishing his degree, but not immediately, he said.

“Right now I am focused on baseball and I am going to chase this dream as long as I can. Not a lot of people are handed this opportunity and I am humble to make the best out of it,” said Zac Houston.

He was working on a degree in sports management and a minor in psychology.

When asked who he looks up to the most, Zac Houston said without hesitation, his father, Matt Houston.

“He wasn’t as fortunate as I have been growing up. I always think what would he do if he had the opportunities I had? I know he would do what I am doing and probably even more, and that’s what really keeps me going. I want to make sure he is happy and proud of me. When he is happy there really is nothing better. All seems right in the world,” said Zac Houston.

Zac Houston shared a couple words of experience to those wishing to be drafted one day.

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. I know sometimes you might fail but that makes you who you are. I didn’t let those failures get in the way of what I wanted the most. Instead, I used them as fuel to get there. If you know what you want and just go for it relentlessly, you will achieve anything and everything you set your mind to,” said Zac Houston.

He would like to thank those that supported him during his baseball career.

“Being from a town like Poplarville, it’s like being part of a really big family. Everyone was supporting me and I felt like I had to make sure I made everyone proud,” said Zac Houston. “I really want to thank my parents, of course, for always being there for me. There have been times in my life where I didn’t think this could be possible and they always had my back and helped me believe. Also I want to thank all of my coaches for teaching me everything, especially Wes Johnson. I do not think I would be where I am today mentally, physically, or emotionally if it weren’t for him and the rest of the coaching staff at Mississippi State. Also, the coaching staff at Poplarville High School really set the tone and made me believe that the only limits to life are the ones you set yourself.”