NATCHITOCHES -- Before the Major League First-Year Player Draft began on Monday, Kwan Adkins was one of the best stories in the Southland Conference.
One phone call from the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon put the finishing touch on Adkins’ tale of persistence paying dividends. The Giants made Adkins their 30th-round draft pick (overall pick No. 886), giving Northwestern State its second selection in the draft, joining David Fry (7th round, Milwaukee).
“It’s one of the things we’ve talked about for a long time around here – the fact that persistence and work gets rewarded,” second-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “It definitely got rewarded for Kwan.”
Adkins, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound center fielder, enjoyed a breakout senior season, batting .321 with three home runs and 27 RBIs while showcasing above-average range in center field. Adkins added six outfield assists while starting all 62 games for the Southland Conference Tournament champion Demons.
His 77 hits as a senior are tied for ninth in school single-season history and were 45 more than he totaled in his first three seasons as a Demon. He earned third-team All-Southland Conference honors as an outfielder and capped his career by playing a pivotal role in NSU’s first Southland Conference Baseball Tournament title.
“Since I’ve been in high school, I’ve wanted to play pro baseball,” Adkins said. “I thought, keep working, eventually it will pay off. Three years later, my junior year (at NSU), I was still struggling before I broke through this season.”
In some respects, waiting for the Giants to call and to see his name flash across the broadcast of the MLB Draft felt virtually the same.
“It was a little stressful watching those names come across the screen and waiting toward the end of the draft,” said Adkins, who spent the fall as a wide receiver on the Demons football team, catching four passes for 61 yards.
“I kept getting texts from scouts saying stay next to your phone – we’ve got you in here, we’ve got you there.”
Eventually, the Giants ended Adkins’ wait while also possibly drawing a parallel to where Adkins’ Demons career ended.
Adkins and the Demons went 1-2 this past weekend in the Corvallis Regional at Oregon State, which is located 45 miles from the home of the Giants’ short-season Class A team, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
The Demons drove through both Salem and Keizer en route to their departing flights in Portland on Monday.
“That’s pretty neat,” Adkins said. “I guess that’s a sign from God, to have just been in that area and maybe be back in the next couple of weeks. My dad actually told me, ‘You know you were just where their short-season team is?’”
Adkins joins former teammate Bret Underwood (20th round, 2014) as Demons who were drafted by San Francisco.
With Adkins joining Fry in the draft, it gave Northwestern State its 14th multiple-draftee class in program history.
“It shows a lot about our program to have two guys who came in here undrafted and both leave here as graduates and professional players,” Barbier said. “We can’t ask for anything more than that.”