AHS star player to forego college and sign
By Nolan Ruth
The Community News
Former Aledo Bearcats catcher Creed Willems made Aledo history this week when he was selected in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. The draft spanned from Sunday night to Tuesday with 20 rounds as a part of All-Star Weekend festivities.
The selection is the highest an Aledo baseball player has ever gone in the draft out of the gate (Lee Gwaltney was drafted in the sixth round on his fourth draft). Officially, Willems was the 227th pick of the draft, a pick that did not come until mid-afternoon on Monday.
“I was called and was told to get ready,” Willems said about the selection. “I just thought ‘Man this is awesome.’ But until you actually hear your name called and they start talking about you, you know your dreams have come true. As soon as it happened I gave my parents a big hug and was out the door to go celebrate with some friends. It still feels so surreal.”
The process started a month ago after the Bearcats fell to Amarillo in the regional final. The week after, Willems traveled to Baltimore for a workout with the Orioles. That was followed up with workouts with the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I was mainly focused on working out,” Willems said. “Getting stronger, faster, and I did a lot of hitting. I went up to Baltimore and had a blast. Camden Yards is one of the best ballparks in America and I could see myself playing there. I got to take some batting practice and hit one onto Eutaw Street and one-hop the warehouse in right field, and that was awesome.”
Willems, who was a TCU commit, made it official on Twitter early Wednesday morning that he will be forgoing college and will sign immediately with the Orioles organization.
“After praying and talking with my family,” the tweet read, “I have decided that I am going to forgo TCU and sign with the Baltimore Orioles. Thank you to TCU baseball for extending me the offer and all they have done for me. But I’m happy to say, Go O’s!”
Willems finished his senior season with a .419 batting average, .539 on-base percentage, 10 home runs, 5 triples, 44 RBI’s, and 248.2 innings caught defensively. Aside from himself, teammates were just as excited for Creed.
“It’s not shocking at all,” teammate Max Belyeu said. “We knew it was going to happen. It’s just crazy to see that it’s actually someone from your high school team. He’s a great leader and he puts in the work every day. Without him, I don’t think we would have made it as far as we did. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to play with him.”
When the news broke, comments from around the community poured in on social media. It was an outpouring that Willems said was very special to him.
“I saw all these parents of kids I would talk to, and they were congratulating me and putting it everywhere. It made me feel like maybe I was a role model and an inspiration to those kids. It just shows how great of a community Aledo is. I’ve heard from basketball guys, football guys, even kids who aren’t in athletics. The people here support you no matter what sport you play or what extracurricular you’re in, no matter what they’ll always have your back.”
He may be moving on to greater things, but it won’t be completely unfamiliar for him. Going to the Baltimore Orioles, Creed will be trading the orange and black for…orange and black!
“It’s too fitting,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ll always bleed orange and black. There will still be a little purple in there, I’ll still be a Horned Frog at heart for what they have done for me. But I’ll also be a Bearcat at heart.”
Willems will sign a contract in the upcoming days and will start in the Orioles’ minor league system. The Community News will continue to track his career and provide occasional updates.