Former Hawk signs with Diamondbacks

Former Hawk signs with Diamondbacks

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Former Huntingdon baseball player Miles Walding has been trying to take it all in the past few days.

In Palm Springs to play in the California Winter League, Walding's baseball future got a lot brighter this week. Walding arrived for the first day of the league on Monday. By Wednesday, the Dothan native had signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization.

"It's been a crazy few days. It's like I'm in a dream and I haven't woken up yet," Walding said by phone on Friday. "I showed up on Monday, with the dream of getting an offer, but I mainly just wanted to keep playing baseball. Any chance I have to keep playing baseball is awesome.

"To have a done deal in three days is unreal. They told me in the history of this league, no one has signed this quickly. It's definitely been worth the trip."

Walding said, with the Diamondbacks' blessing, he will finish the remaining weeks of the league. The league's championship is set for mid-February.

He is to report to Scottsdale, Ariz., for spring training on March 3.

"They've talked to me about starting out in high-(Class) A ball after spring training," Walding said. "They told me I could move up pretty quickly from there. The biggest thing is going to be adjusting to the kind of pitching I'll be seeing."

A four-year player for Huntingdon, primarily at shortstop and in the outfield, Walding started all 40 games as a senior, batting .301 with 20 RBIs and 33 runs. He stole 31 bases in 36 attempts.

"This is a guy who has a lot of athletic ability combined with a great attitude and work ethic," Huntingdon baseball coach D.J. Conville said. "He worked hard while he was here at Huntingdon and he's continued to work hard and improve to earn this opportunity."

Walding said he was approached by a scout on Monday. There was a quick conversation about where he was from and why he hadn't signed yet. The former Northview High School player answered the questions, but didn't think too much of it.

"I thought he was probably a scout from an independent league," Walding said. "I didn't find out until later that he was with the Diamondbacks. He talked to me again and said he was bringing in the assistant general manager to see me. They watched me hit and they talked a little while.

"When they made an offer, excited doesn't begin to describe how I felt."

As soon as the deal was finalized, he called his parents with the good news. Calls to his girlfriend and former Huntingdon teammates followed.

"My parents were extremely happy for me," Walding said. "Everyone has been very supportive. God has really blessed me. This is something I've worked for my whole life and it feels great.

"But this is just a foot in the door. I'm happy to have this opportunity, but I'm not satisfied. My goal is to make it to the Big League. I'm going to continue to work hard, play hard and do what I can to get there."