Throughout this spring, Louisville infielder Drew Ellis and South Florida shortstop Kevin Merrell have risen on draft boards, playing their way into the consideration in the first two rounds. Beyond their rising draft stock as top college position players, the two are also connected by the 2008 Little League World Series.
Nine years ago, both Ellis and Merrell helped lead their teams to the Little League World Series and then starred on the big stage of Williamsport.
Ellis played for the Jeffersonville, Ind., Little League, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, and was coached by his father. Ellis made his mark on the mound in Williamsport, starting for two of Jeffersonville’s three games. His highlight came against Hagerstown, Md., when he struck out 11 in five hitless innings. But he walked three batters and gave up three runs (two earned) in a 3-2 loss. Ellis also went 2-for-10 with a double in three games.
Merrell represented the Citrus Park Little League from Tampa, which reached the United States semifinals before falling to Hawaii, the eventual champion. Merrell hit leadoff, played shortstop and also made three appearances on the mound. He went 6-for-12 with two doubles and two home runs in four games.