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Teaf passes up chance with Rays

Kyle Teaf started nearly every game at shortstop for USF in his four-year career, but will not pursue an MLB career. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

For newly-graduated shortstop Kyle Teaf, his baseball career ended where it began — in Tallahassee.

Teaf began playing baseball when he was 5 years old and worked to become one of the most reliable shortstops in USF history, starting 230-consecutive games in his four-year career. 

The 22-year-old learned he had been selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 30th round (898th overall) of this year’s MLB Draft while go-carting with friends and family in his hometown. 

He considers his selection a “very humbling and huge honor,” but after much consideration, he decided not to pursue a career in baseball.

“It was a tough decision,” Teaf said. “But ultimately, I made the one that was right for me.”

As a leader on and off the field, Teaf finished his career at USF with impressive stats. This season, he led the Bulls (34-26-1) with his .419 on-base percentage, 44 walks and six triples. He also hit .301 with eight doubles. 

“I’m happy with my career and how it went, and I’m just ready for it to be done,” Teaf said. “I’m ready for the next step in life whatever it may be, the next opportunity, the next challenge.”

Instead of baseball, Teaf is working toward a career in medical device sales.

He may be walking away from his baseball career, but he’s leaving with relationships to last a lifetime. 

“The lifelong friendships and connections I have made and will continue to keep up with, whether it be my teammates, my coaches, just everyone who’s been involved those four years.”

He said his favorite memory was helping USF get back on the map by getting to an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2002. 

Teaf was named to the 2015 NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team.

After pulling off a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in 13 years, he’s confident he’s leaving USF baseball in the right hands.

“Coach Kingston and them are going to take great care of the program,” Teaf said. “The program is in a great place.”

Three other Bulls earned a draft pick.

The Reds selected junior right-handed pitcher Jimmy Herget in the 6th round (175th overall) and the Nationals selected junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Peterson in the 12th round (374th overall) and the Dodgers selected senior right-handed pitcher Casey Mulholland in the 37th round (1,122th overall).

All three players announced via Twitter that they signed contracts with their respective major league clubs and will soon leave the state to begin playing.