By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Entering his senior year of college, Kyle Lloyd was at peace with the fact that it would likely be his last opportunity to be part of a competitive baseball team. But after a solid year pitching for the University of Evansville, the San Diego Padres drafted him in the 29th round of the 2013 draft, and his dream lived on.
Now, Lloyd he feels he’s on the cusp of reaching a lifelong goal: pitching in the major leagues.
“I had never thought I would get drafted going into my senior year of college. I was ready to get a normal job and be at peace with baseball, but I got the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve lasted long compared to a lot of guys who were drafted ahead of me.”
The 2009 Carmel High School graduate played for the Greyhounds baseball team, but he said he wasn’t a standout by any means, and that many of his former friends and teammates would probably be surprised to hear he’s still playing.
After his college career, Lloyd worked his way through the minor league system, playing for teams in Eugene, Ore., Lake Elsinore, Calif., and Fort Wayne. While the bus trips often dragged on, Lloyd said he enjoyed learning about areas of the nation he never would have seen otherwise.
During the 2016 season, Lloyd, 26, worked his way up to the Padres’ Triple-A club in El Paso. During the offseason, he lives in Plano, Texas, where he works at an indoor baseball facility, giving lessons, manning the front desk and teaching a pitching class.
Lloyd knows that he’s defied the odds so far, and he has advice for other young athletes who fear their dream might be out of reach.
“You just can’t give up on it. When I was in high school in Carmel, I wasn’t that good. I didn’t even play that much going into my senior year,” he said. “If you have the drive and you can push yourself to do some things that other people aren’t doing, I think you’ll be successful in whatever you want to do.”