Neumann’s Johnson, Loyalsock’s Datres both getting drafted voted as top local sports story of the year
When you watched Alize Johnson play basketball at St. John Neumann, you knew he was a special, talented player that had a ton of potential in college.
The same applied to three-sport athlete Kyle Datres of Loyalsock, who excelled in whatever sport he was playing, be it football, basketball or baseball.
When their high school careers were all said and done, they had quite a resume put together.
The passion they had for their sports was obvious. Johnson had worked hard at Frank Phillips College before getting the chance to go to Missouri State.
Datres won two state championships in baseball for the Lancers and continued playing the sport he loved in college when he went to North Carolina.
While many across the country have to give up their passion after college, Johnson and Datres got to continue theirs.
In a two-week span, two area players were able to see their dreams come to fruition by advancing to the next level and getting a big-league opportunity.
Having two area stars both get drafted in the same year only a few days from one another was voted as the Sun-Gazette sports story of the year for 2018.
For Johnson, it was a chance to play in the NBA. For Datres, it was being able to play in the professional ranks as a baseball player.
The two Lycoming County products both were drafted in the NBA and MLB drafts within 15 days of one another.
Johnson’s draft-night experience was a bit stressful, but nonetheless worthwhile for the former Neumann star.
At the Trade and Transit Center II in Williamsport, Johnson hosted a draft party for family and friends as everyone in attendance watched the draft in progress, waiting to see Johnson’s name scroll across the screen.
Projected as a first-round draft selection out of Missouri State, the night proceeded to go on without Johnson’s name being called.
It wasn’t until nearly 11:45 p.m. that those in attendance saw the news that the Indiana Pacers took the Neumann grad with the 50th pick in the NBA Draft. It marked the first time ever that a Lycoming County player was drafted to the NBA, and he became just the second area player ever to get to the NBA, joining former Mansfield High School standout Tom McMillan.
Johnson had time in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas before making the cut for the roster. Johnson then had some time with the Pacers’ G-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, where he put up solid numbers.
Datres, a third baseman from North Carolina and two-time state champion with Loyalsock, was drafted in the 12th round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies with 366th pick.
Like most major leaguers, Datres found himself in the minor leagues to start as he played with the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League in Idaho after having a stellar career at North Carolina.
Datres played in 11 games for Boise and had a .239 batting average while hitting two home runs and driving in six runs.
2018 TOP SPORTS STORIES OF THE YEAR
No. 2 — Montoursville’s Gavin Hoffman becomes the first Lycoming County wrestler to win three state championships.
No. 3 — Loyalsock’s Isabell Sagar breaks district meet record and becomes second area girl to win a cross country state championship.
No. 4 — South Williamsport freshman Olivia Dorner places third in the PIAA girls tennis singles tournament, the highest finish for an area player in states.
No. 5 — The second MLB Little League Classic is played at Bowman Field between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.
No. 6 — Muncy’s Joe Klock wins an individual state championship at 132 pounds and Muncy wrestling takes fourth at the PIAA Class AA state meet.
No. 7 — Montoursville boys basketball wins the program’s first District 4 championship since 1985.
No. 8 — Keystone’s major baseball team advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament for the third time in eight years.
No. 9 — Jersey Shore’s Emma Butzler becomes program’s winningest individual swimmer and first to win four individual state swimming medals.
No. 10 — Wellsboro snaps a 66-year drought and wins program’s first district championship since 1952.