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GP’s Drury looks back on experience

Brandon Drury got to sample a taste of his Major League Baseball dream this fall and it left him wanting more.

With the 2015 season officially in the books with the Royals winning their first World Series title since 1985, Drury took some time to reflect on his accomplishments this past year.

"It was a good season and it was great to get to the big leagues," said the 23-year-old former Grants Pass High standout. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little guy and obviously, it's a dream come true."

Drury made his Major League debut on Sept. 1 after getting added to the Arizona Diamondbacks' roster earlier in the day.

He appeared in the team's opener of a doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies in Denver, starting that game at third base.

He went 0-for-4 in that initial outing, but it didn't take him long to get that first big league hit.

In fact, the very next day Drury went 1-for-3 with a walk in his first at-bat against the Rockies, who won that game 9-4.

His first hit — a single — came on a screaming line drive back up the middle and into center field, just past Colorado pitcher Jonathan Gray's head.

And the September firsts didn't stop there.

The smooth-fielding infielder, who plays both second and third base, tallied a memorable outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 21.

He had his best day at the plate in his MLB career that day, going 3-for-5 with a run batted in to help the Diamondbacks to an 8-4 win against Los Angeles.

A day later, the 2010 GP grad smacked his first home run against Dodgers relief pitcher Adam Liberatore in an 8-0 Diamondbacks win. He ended up 2-for-4 in the game.

However, he was unable to fetch that memorable long ball to save as a keepsake.

"(A fan) just threw the ball in to the ball girl and they put it back into the bucket," Drury said. "I didn't really care too much about that to be honest."

The series against the Dodgers turned into an unforgettable experience for Drury, who was playing some of his best baseball of the year.

On Sept. 24, Drury laced his second home run — a solo shot against Los Angeles pitching ace Clayton Kershaw. He finished 2-for-4, which included a double.

"The whole Dodgers series was my favorite time of the season," Drury recalled. "It was a real good series to play in that stadium and to play against guys I grew up admiring was pretty surreal."

The former 13th-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves and No. 7 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks system ended up hitting .214 in 20 big league games. He finished with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs. Most of Drury's appearances came at third, where he appeared in 11 games. He played in six games at second base.

This season took Drury on quite a ride, which included many firsts. He started off the year in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he took part in his first big league camp for spring training.

"I think I learned a lot just being there and seeing that it's the same game," Drury said. "As a kid, you think of those guys as super heroes on TV. Obviously, they are incredibly talented in what they do, but they are just normal people like everybody else."

After spring training, Drury was assigned to Double-A Mobile, where he hit .278 with 14 doubles and three home runs, splitting time between third base and second base.

In May, Drury earned a promotion from Double-A Mobile to Triple-A Reno after an All-Star first half in the Southern League.

He had been selected to the Southern League All-Star game, but didn't get the chance to play after getting moved up to Reno.

"It was a good place to play because it was so close to home," said Drury of the move to Reno.

"My family was able to come out almost every home weekend to watch me play."

Drury hit .303 with 40 doubles and five home runs across Double-A and Triple-A this season. He also scored 65 runs and knocked in 61.

Even with the season over, Drury's focus on the game burns stronger than ever.

Drury said he is planning to meet up with Toronto Blue Jays infielder Troy Tulowitzki in Las Vegas to train in the offseason.

Tulowitzki — who was traded from the Rockies this year — actually has some ties to the area, working with many young baseball players.

Tulowitzki played high school ball in California under current Grants Pass coach Brian Diatte, who also coached Drury.

While Drury got to enjoy a little down time with his family while training in Grants Pass, he knows there's no time to rest as the chase goes on to pursue a full-time career in the big leagues.

"Right now is the time to work hard to get back into spring training ready to win a job," said Drury.