Shelburne native Rayne Supple played his first baseball game when he was 5 years old, as a member of the Shelburne Phillies Little League Team at Shelburne Town Fields.
He was throwing left-handed at the time, and fielding with the right-handed glove his father had bought for him. Bill Supple had assumed that his son would throw with the same hand he wrote with. It wasn’t long before they discovered Rayne’s real throwing talent was in his right hand, and that for him baseball would turn out to be much more than just a summer pastime.
“It was just something to do during the summer,” Rayne Supple said, of his early years in baseball. “But I figured out I was pretty good at it so I kept playing.”
Today it’s a whole different ballgame for Supple, now 20, who was chosen last Wednesday by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft.
Supple, who just finished his junior year at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., flew to Colorado on Sunday to sign the contract before being assigned to play with the Rockies’ Pioneer League rookie affiliate team, the Grand Junction Rockies in western Colorado.
“We’re just getting right into things,” Supple said in a phone interview on Monday. “We had all our physicals earlier today, and we have our first practice later. We’re all ready to start playing.”
According to his mom, Toni Supple, the Colorado Rockies wasn’t the only major league team that had an eye on her son.
“The Red Sox scout called Rayne just after he was drafted to congratulate him, and to say he was sorry they didn’t get him,” she said. “They were going to grab him next. Their pick was the fourth team after the Rockies.”
Rayne Supple was also drafted by a MLB team during his senior year of high school at Champlain Valley Union. The Chicago Cubs picked him in the 38th round.
But Supple opted to postpone his baseball dreams to attend college at Wake Forest, a D-1 school where he has been majoring in psychology. It was the first time since 2002 that a major league baseball team had drafted a Vermont high school player.
CVU baseball coach Tim Albertson, who coached Supple in high school, remembers him as a determined and hardworking player, and a good teammate.
“We are very excited about his opportunity and what he has earned himself, to this point,” Albertson said. “I think he’s worked very hard and his success at Wake Forest proved that this season, in terms of what he is capable of. I think he will do very well.”
Bill Supple credits the Shelburne Little League community with helping to shape his son as a player.
“It was a goal that I wanted him to play baseball and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could so that it happened,” he explained. “One thing that really helped Rayne in Shelburne was a nucleus of players who were really as good as he was. All the guys who were his teammates in those Little League championship games really competed with each other, and they all made each other better.”
Rayne Supple will play his first game with the Grand Junction Rockies Friday as they take on the Orem Owlz, a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Supple has been told his role will be as a starting pitcher on the team this year – something he says he enjoys because he is able to use his full range of pitches.
And while many things are still uncertain for the Shelburne native (whether he will have time to finish his final year at Wake Forest is still up in the air) he already has his sights set firmly on the future.
“I’m excited,” Supple said. “Being able to do what you love for a job is pretty special.”
For local fans who want to follow Supple’s season, GJ Rockies games can be streamed live on MiLB.tv or heard on the online radio stream at GJRockies.com.