Seven MAC Players Chosen In First Day of MLB First-Year Player Draft

Updated 6/5/2000

Seven players from Mid-American Conference schools were drafted during the first 20 rounds of the 2000 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Bowling Green junior pitcher Tony Fontana was the first MAC player drafted, one of five pitchers to be drafted from the league's 12 participating schools. Fontana, a first-team all-MAC selection this season, was selected by Boston in the seventh round (212th overall), while two other pitchers were drafted in the eight round -- Akron junior Mark Malaska (Tampa Bay, 226th) and Ball State's Jason Hickman (Los Angeles, 237th).

Fontana led the MAC with a 2.69 ERA and compiled an 8-3 record for the Falcons, while Malaska picked up four saves and had a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings pitched for the Zips. Malaska, who also played in the outfield for Akron, was a first-team all-conference selection in the outfield. Hickman, a junior, was 2-0 with a 4.14 ERA in 63 innings of work for the Cardinals.

Two of the five hurlers selected on the first day came from MAC West Division co-champion Ball State, while the other two players drafted were middle infielders, Miami junior second baseman John Lackaff (15th round, Chicago White Sox, 442nd) and MAC Player of the Year Shayne Ridley (Sr., SS) of Ball State (19th, Baltimore, 564th).

Lackaff, a first-team all-MAC utility choice and MVP of the league tournament, led the league in RBIs (67) and hit .354, which also paced the RedHawks. Ridley, who was a unanimous all-MAC choice at shortstop, ended his final collegiate year with a league-high .434 batting average.

Lackaff's teammate Nate Tekavec was chosen by Detroit in the 12th round (348th). A junior, Tekavec tied for the league lead in wins (9) and also sported a 4.67 ERA. The third Cardinal to be drafted was senior hurler Adam Sheefel, who went to Cincinnati in the 17th round (513th). Sheefel was 5-4 this year with a 5.93 ERA.