Published on 8/29/2012
By Chris Sokoloski
Josh McElwee, a 2007 Andrews High School graduate, is now pitching for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
He joined the team over the weekend and pitched one inning on Monday night against Wilmington. He gave up three hits and struck out two in his Pelicans debut.
The team plays in Wilmington on Wednesday and Thursday night, and then wraps up the regular season at home Saturday, Sunday and Monday against Lynchburg.
"I'm excited to come back home and play in front of people I know," McElwee said. "Hopefully I can get a few innings in."
Since he pitched at Newberry College and then in Washington, many of his friends and family in the Andrews community have not seen him pitch in years.
The Pelicans play in the Carolina League, which is Advanced Class A.
McElwee was drafted by the Texas Rangers after graduating from Newberry.
He spent a few months pitching for the Spokane (Wash.) Indians in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League.
"Spokane was a great experience," McElwee said. "The fans were there day in and day out. It was a great atmosphere."
The Northwest League is for players just out of college or high school, international players, or players who were in rookie leagues the year before, according to Bud Bareither of the Indians.
McElwee pitched in 20 games for Spokane. He was 1-2 with seven saves and a 3.67 earned run average. In 27 innings he gave up 26 hits, 13 runs (11 earned) and struck out 35.
After pitching in high school and college, McElwee said the biggest adjustment to playing professionally was the number of games and the amount of travel time.
"It's an everyday thing, you might get a few days off the entire season," McElwee said.
It's been a whirlwind few days for McElwee. He found out Friday after Spokane's game that he was promoted to Myrtle Beach and spent Saturday traveling to join the Pelicans in Winston-Salem.
"The toughest part is trying to get used to a new team," McElwee said. "You just want to keep it consistent and act like you've been there."