By Phil Anastasia
They are buddies who will room together next school year at the University of Maryland.
They will play together this summer for Brooklawn's powerhouse American Legion baseball team.
And on Saturday, Mike Shawaryn of Gloucester Catholic and Nick Cieri of Rancocas Valley were linked in another way: They were both selected in the 32d round of the major league baseball draft.
"It's pretty cool," Cieri said. "We were texting back and forth about it."
Cieri, a catcher who was perhaps South Jersey's most dangerous hitter before a dislocated shoulder cut short his senior season, was selected by the San Francisco Giants.
Shawaryn, a pitcher who will start for the Rams in Sunday's Non-Public A state final against Seton Hall Prep, was selected by the Kansas City Royals.
"They were in pretty steady contact," Shawaryn said of the Royals. "They want to follow me over the next three years at Maryland."
Both athletes are top students. Both know that as 32d-round draft picks, they almost certainly will be going to colege instead of signing with a professional team.
But they both were honored to be the firts two South Jersey high school players selected.
"It means a lot," Cieri said. "It's an honor."
Said Shawaryn: "I'm set on going to college. But it's a big honored to be drafted. I was excited about it."
Cieri batted .500 this season. He had nine doubles and four triples despite missing nearly half the season with an injury.
Shawaryn is 7-2 with an 0.70 ERA. He will take the mound Sunday at TR East as GC attempts to become the first New Jersey baseball team to win four straight state titles.
Shawaryn and Cieri both plan to be linked again in three years: As high draft picks after third junior seasons at Maryland.
"That's the plan," Cieri said.
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.