Strom Thurmond High School alumni Payton Smith has been drafted by professional baseball’s San Diego Padres. Smith graduated last Friday night and left Sunday for Peoria, Ariz. to begin his professional baseball career. Payton was a four year starter for the Rebel Baseball program and played an integral part in the Rebels recent success on the diamond. Smith helped the Rebels advance to District Championship games in each of the last three seasons including a Region Championship and a Upper-state Championship in 2016. Smith was named to the South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association All State baseball team this year and had signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at Florence-Darlington Tech. He finished his senior year with a .467 batting average and was 9-0 on the mound. Payton will spend a couple of months in Arizona with the rookie league followed by a decision on further assignments.
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