Marlins draft former Scots star

Former Scotland High pitcher Curt Britt was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 19th round of the MLB Draft on Wednesday. The N.C. State product posted a 2.24 ERA in 56.1 innings this season.

RALEIGH — Former Scotland High baseball star Curt Britt was selected in the 19th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday.

Britt, a junior pitcher for N.C. State University, was picked 566th overall by the Miami Marlins. The Laurinburg native is foregoing his senior campaign to join the Marlins’ minor league system after receiving a contract offer from the organization.

“I’m excited to take on the challenge and meet new friends and see new places and play at different places,” Britt said. “I’m just going to take it day by day and enjoy every moment of it and stay determined and hopefully everything will work out. I’m thankful for the opportunity the Marlins have given me so I’m going to take every bit of it, run with it, and see where it goes.”

Britt is the son of Jacque Britt and the late Tommy Britt, who coached the baseball program from 1992-2012 and served as the school’s athletic director until his passing last year. His thoughts immediately turned to his dad once he processed the exciting news.

“I know he’s up there looking down smiling and that’s what keeps me going,” Britt said. “I know he’s so proud… . I’m replaying things he’s told me in the past and I’m going off that and living my life like that and what he and my mom have taught me.”

He graduated from Scotland in 2012 after a dominant senior season in which he finished 8-0 with a 0.48 ERA in 56 innings of work. The right-hander also posted a 70/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, leading the Scots to Southeastern Conference regular-season and conference tournament championships.

Britt was named the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association 4A Player of the Year and was selected to the 4A All-State team in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The mounting accolades attracted the attention of college and pro scouts alike, as Baseball America listed him as its No. 37 prospect in the country his senior year.

Britt eventually chose to attend the University of South Carolina where he played for two seasons. After a rocky freshman season he had a stellar sophomore year, improving his ERA from 5.12 to 2.35.

When his dad passed away last summer, Britt transferred to N.C. State to be closer to his mom and his sisters, Mary Taylor and Katherine. He was able to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allowed athletes to play right away if they transfer due to family hardship, and immediately became a consistent contributor in the Wolfpack’s bullpen this year.

He improved his ERA once again to 2.24, picking up three wins and two saves in 19 appearances. In 56.1 innings, Britt struck out 53 batters with 21 walks.

Britt says his decision to transfer was a “blessing in disguise.”

“The program, the coaches, the teammates, the friends I made and the experiences I had — I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me this past year and it’s been an unbelievable experience that has helped me grow as a person. I hate leaving them behind but I know in the offseason I’ll be right back in Raleigh seeing all my buddies.”

The Wolfpack finished 36-23 overall this year, 15-14 in the ACC, and played their best baseball of the season in May. After losing four in a row in March and nine of 12 in April, N.C. State rallied to earn an appearance in the ACC Tournament Final and qualify for a spot in the NCAA Regionals.

After winning their first two games against Stony Brook and TCU, the Wolfpack dropped their last two against the Horned Frogs, including an excruciating 9-8 defeat in extra innings that saw N.C. State blow a 8-1 lead with two outs in the eighth inning.

“We went through some ups and down — we went through a streak that was really a low point but we fought through it and really had good team chemistry,” Britt said. “We had some of the strongest team chemistry I’ve ever been a part of and I think that’s what helped us make the postseason run.

“I’m trying to flush it and am doing a good job of flushing it, but that TCU game was just a terrible way to end it. But I couldn’t have been on a better team this year and I’m just thankful I was a part of it.”

After the season ended, Britt anticipated he would return to the Wolfpack for his final year, but the Marlins’ contract offer was lucrative enough to sway his opinion.

Britt said he was in the middle of upgrading his phone at a Verizon store when he first heard the news that he was drafted.

“My mom told me before, ‘Are you sure you want to go get an upgrade while this is still going on’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t think anything is going to happen,’” Britt said. “Sure enough, we get there and my phone is trying to backup and restore and it starts ringing off the hook.”

Britt is flying to Jupiter, Florida this weekend to join the rest of Miami’s signees and take a physical. He will then report to the Gulf Coast League Marlins in Jupiter, which is Miami’s rookie affiliate, or the Batavia Muckdogs, which is the team’s Short-Season Class-A affiliate near Buffalo, New York.

As he prepares to begin the next stage of his career, Britt couldn’t be more thankful for the support he has received back home.

“All year I got texts and calls from everywhere. People from church, people from Optimist Park, people from the high school. The support has been unreal and even after the TCU game, my phone blew up with positive texts and voicemails and all that. I just want everyone to know I really appreciate it, my family appreciates it, and that really means a lot to us.”

Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.