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ET Baseball: Longview's Russell, Kilgore's Coldiron selected in MLB Draft

George Whitley

By George Whitley
June 14, 2017 at 8:33 p.m.

Longview's Reid Russell grabs a ground ball in April 2012 at Lobo Field. Russell, a senior at Lamar University, was drafted Wednesday by the Houston Astros.

Reid Russell grew up a huge fan of the Texas Rangers. But that's all about to change.

"I've been a Rangers fan my whole life. But when I turn on the game in a minute, I'm going to be rooting for the Astros," said Russell, in reference to Wednesday night's game.

Reason for the sudden change in allegiance is because the Houston Astros made the former Longview Lobo their 991st pick in the 33rd round of the MLB 2017 Draft.

"I've been sitting here watching the draft all day. This is definitely a relief," said Russell, who played his college ball first at TJC and more recently at Lamar University.

"It had been kind of anxious coming to that point. When I finally found out, it was a big relief. After all the hard work and many hours I put into it, it's paid off."

The 6-3, 223-pound Russell led the Lobos to the playoffs his senior year, snapping an eight-year postseason drought. He went to TJC and played on back-to-back NJCAA National Champions.

Russell was named 2016 Southland Conference Hitter of the Year after batting .354 with 18 home runs and 62 RBI. He finished this past spring with a .317 average, 10 round-trippers and 43 RBI for a Lamar team which finished 33-25.

"I had been in touch with them (the Astros) quite a bit the past couple days. But I really didn't know it was going to be them until the moment it happened," Russell explained. "If I'm going to make it to the big leagues, it's going to be me hitting the ball hard, hitting home runs and driving guys in. That's how I'm gonna make my money and what I really need to focus on."

Russell was one of two locals selected in day three of the MLB Draft. Kilgore's Cooper Coldiron was tabbed by the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the 39th round at 1,185.

Coldiron started at Grayson College in 2016 where he hit .348 with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and four triples. This earned him a spot on the Texas-New Mexico All Star team.

The former Kilgore Bulldog quarterback just completed his junior season at the University of Houston. Coldiron finished the 2017 season with a .245 average with 13 hits and a half dozen RBI. In the NCAA regionals last week against Baylor, Coldiron went 1 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored in a 17-3 win.

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