Josiah Sightler will wait to begin his professional career.
Sightler announced Wednesday he play college baseball at South Carolina instead of beginning a career in professional baseball. The Cincinnati Reds drafted Sightler in the 12th round.
Sightler and other unsigned draftees had until 5 p.m. Friday to make their decisions. Signing bonus values for picks after the 10th round are $125,000 and Reds offered more than doubled that. But Sightler said it wasn't all about the money.
"Honestly, I was set on going to USC but I was just weighing my options," Sightler said. "The main reason I picked USC was the education, I know the education is a must have now a days. I’m ready to play for Coach Kingston, so I’m really looking forward to it."
So, the Reds’ loss will be the Gamecocks’ gain. Sightler was recruited as a pitcher by former coach Chad Holbrook but will likely play first base or outfield at USC.
Sightler hit .422 with seven homers and 26 RBIs despite being pitched around a lot. He was walked 28 times in 94 plate appearances. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played first this season and also has played outfield. He was an all-state selection and played in the South Carolina Select All-Star game.
Sightler didn’t pitch this year as he recovered from a torn labrum suffered in an East Coast Pro Showcase. But he began throwing earlier in the spring and will be fine in the fall.
He could play right away for the Gamecocks, who had 10 players on their roster get drafted.
"I know I'm making the decision that's best for me, not only for today, but 20 years from now too," Sightler said.