Jeremy Walker, a former baseball player at Calvary Day and Davie County, got the call late Tuesday night that all minor league prospects dreaming about getting.
Following the Class AAA Gwinnett Stripers' game in Louisville, Walker, a 24-year-old right-handed reliever from Advance in the Atlanta Braves' farm system, was called up to the major leagues.
"It was probably about 11:30 or 12," Walker said. "My manager in Triple-A (former major-leaguer Damon Berryhill, who played minor-league baseball for the Winston-Salem Spirits in 1985) just called me and said, 'You're going to the big leagues.'"
Walker's first call was to his father.
"He just retired this year, so I knew wasn't going to be doing anything," Walker said. "So I just said like, 'What are you doing tomorrow? Can you come to Atlanta? And he was just like, 'For what?'
"He was pretty happy. He said, 'I'll be there.'"
Atlanta plays the Kansas City Royals at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, and Walker will be available to pitch. In fact, there's a chance he could face Whit Merrifield, who is also from Advance.
It's been a whirlwind for Walker since he found out that he was being promoted. He said he talked a lot with his roommate Tuesday after learning the news and that he flew from Louisville to Atlanta on Wednesday morning.
"It's been a dream my whole life, man," Walker said. "I've been playing ball since I was like 4 or 5. Every kid wants to make it one day and I know not everybody gets to, so I'm just thankful that God's blessed me with the ability and that he's just placed people in my life to get me where I am."
Walker is ranked the No. 27 prospect in the Braves' loaded farm system, according to MLB Pipeline. He had appeared in 26 games this season with the Class AA Mississippi Braves and Gwinnett. As a relief pitcher, Walker has struck out 71 batters in 69⅔ innings and has a 2.84 ERA.
"I don't really view myself as a control pitcher," Walker said. "I think I have stuff of a guy who can throw late innings in the big leagues. Throwing strikes, that's just a plus. I just try to attack every guy I face. I don't try and not walk them, but I just try to get everybody out."
After playing at Calvary from 2010 to 2012, he transferred to Davie County and played for the War Eagles during the 2013 season. Walker signed to play at Gardner-Webb, where he pitched until 2016. That summer, Atlanta selected him in the fifth round, the 139th pick overall, of the MLB Draft.
In four seasons of professional baseball he has an ERA of 3.64 with 309 strikeouts and 93 walks. Walker, who is 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, was a starting pitcher at the beginning of his career, but he was converted to a full-time reliever before the start of this season.
"I was piggy-backing. I was like the sixth starter in Mississippi, Double-A," Walker said. "And I was coming in after a certain guy every single outing. So I was starting every five days and then he got called up to Triple A and they called up another starter, and then they said you're going to be in the bullpen. So I didn't really know how it was going to be."
Walker started this season at Class AA Mississippi, where he was 1-6 with a 2.45 ERA in 58⅔ innings. He also had 57 strikeouts and five walks. He was promoted to Gwinnett on July 5 and in five games with the Stripers he had a 1-0 record with a 4.91 ERA, 14 strikeouts and three walks.
"I started closing games right from the start and it's just taken off from there," he said.