Jeron Williams – University of Toledo
By: Nate Calvin
ARCHBOLD – The last Archbold player drafted into major league baseball was Ed Grime in 1972. The 2023 MLB Draft saw Archbold double that number as Toledo Rocket Jeron Williams (Class of 2019), and Ohio State Buckeye Kade Kern (Class of 2020) received phone calls that they were going to the big show.
“To have two drafted in the same draft is very special. It speaks volumes of the amount of time and energy that Jeron and Kade have put in over the years to get to where they are now”, said Archbold Athletic Director Allan Gladieux.
“They are two great young men that we look forward to watching grow and have continued success.”
For Williams, the call came on July 10 from the World Series champion Houston Astros. The former Rocket was the final pick of the ninth round and the 284th pick overall.
Williams was named 2023 MAC Player of the Year after starting all 55 games at shortstop for the Rockets and hitting .403 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs, 49 stolen bases, 67 runs scored, .681 slugging percentage and a .467 on-base percentage.
The 49 stolen bases were tops in Division I and was a school record while his 96 hits led all of Division I at the end of the regular season.
Williams was also the first Rocket to hit .400 in a season since 2003 and had a career-best 33-game hitting streak to start the 2023 season.
The 2023 season ended with Williams, who played his freshman season at Lincoln Trail Community College in Illinois, on a 21-game hitting streak.
Kade Kern – Ohio State University
Ohio State’s Kern was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 17th round and was the 519th overall pick in this year’s draft.
Kern, who was the 2020 Ohio Baseball Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year at Archbold, hit .283 with six homers, 22 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases in 44 games during his third season in Columbus.
Immediate success greeted Kern in college as he led the team in hits (52) and had an on-base percentage of .391.
His success earned him a spot on the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American team along with second-team All-Big Ten and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
Kern continued to be the Buckeyes center fielder during his sophomore season as he started 46 of 49 games for Ohio State.
Kern totaled nine home runs, 49 RBIs, 15 doubles, 11 stolen bases and had a .529 slugging percentage during the 2022 campaign and were all good for second on the club.
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