MISSOULA, Mont. - This past Saturday, Missoula's Riley King received the phone call of a lifetime that the Kansas City Royals had selected him in the 24th round of the Major League Baseball draft. Riley couldn't take the phone call himself because he was playing centerfield against Helena, but he still immediately heard the information.
"It's kind of a tough feeling to describe," said King. "It sends chills down your body and I had three outs to think about it on the field and came in and all my family was there. I gave them a hug and it was a pretty special moment."
Of course King had a tough decision to make. Would he continue to play college basketball for Carroll or would he sign the contract with the Royals. In the end he says he just couldn't give up on his dream to play professional baseball.
"I hate to leave Carroll College and they treated me tremendously there and it's a great school. But I decided this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a dream I wanted to chase. And to do that it meant playing baseball full-time," said King.
"It's something I'm still trying to grasp; I'm kind of still in shock about the whole thing. That's something you always dream about when you're in Little League and you're trying to make your swing like one of the MLB guys or something like that."
And even on Monday things didn't get much easier for the Missoula Sentinel graduate. He had to wish his teammates well as they took the bus down to Great Falls. Meanwhile King is packing his bags for rookie ball in Arizona.
"Yeah that was extremely tough those guys have been my best friends as long as I've been playing baseball and they're great teammates, wonderful people," said King. "They've got a lot of talent and they're going to do big things this year I know that."
"Yeah he's an awesome leader even more so than he's an awesome player," said Mavericks outfielder Alec Bouchee. "You know it's his fourth year on 'AA' and he's up there with all the career stats on just about everything. We're going to miss him both on and off the field. He's my best friend and I love him like a brother but I'm happy for him and I wouldn't want it to be any other way."
King says the biggest thing that's helped him through this weekend is the undying support from his family, friends and the entire sporting community in Western Montana.
"It's a special feeling and it definitely makes you feel a lot better about all this and like I said I feel extremely blessed for having these people in my life and all this support."
"I think the whole town of Missoula and the state of Montana is behind him here and everybody became Kansas City Royals fans in the last couple of days," added Bouchee.
King heads down to Arizona this week for rookie ball, where he begins his career as a professional baseball player. Reporting in Missoula, Vince Bagby, NBC Montana.