Petal alum Anthony Alford called up to MLB

Petal alum Anthony Alford called up to MLB

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Petal High school alum Anthony Alford has been called up to "The Show."

The former Panther and Southern Miss Golden Eagle appeared in his first Major League Baseball game as a Toronto Blue Jay on Friday night.

"To be honest, my first at-bat I was a bit numb," Alford said. "I couldn't really feel anything. It was just weird just to be in that atmosphere, get that opportunity. I mean, I'm blessed to get that opportunity. Yeah, it felt awesome. It was a dream come true for me and something that I've worked toward."

Alford moves up to the big leagues after batting .325 with three home runs this season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Toronto's AA affiliate.

The 22-year-old was drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2012 MLB draft. After graduation from Petal, Alford played quarterback for Southern Miss and defensive back for Ole Miss before turning his focus toward professional baseball.

Under Petal head coach Larry Watkins, Alford helped lead the Panthers to two straight baseball state championships in 2010 and 2011.

"I was really happy and happy for [Alford] cause he's so deserving of it," Watkins said. "He's just such a great kid, just an unbelievable athlete. Even when he was 12-years-old, [Southern Miss baseball coach] Scott Berry reflected on him saying, 'That's what a major leaguer looks like when he's 12.' And he's turned out correct there."

Alford is the second Petal grad to have appeared in an MLB game. Former Panther Nate Rolison had one hit in 13 at-bats during an eight-game stint for the Florida Marlins in 2000.