CF’s Johnson, CCU’s Gore highlight local draftee list

ccubase-11Conway High product and Coastal Carolina infielder Jordan Gore and Carolina Forest High pitcher Bryar Johnson highlighted the list of local players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday.

Gore was picked in the 19th round by the Minnesota Twins. Johnson, who led the Panthers to a late playoff push this season, was selected one round later by the Kansas City Royals.

Gore was one of three Chants selected Wednesday and five overall after Billy Cooke and Alex Cunningham were picked Tuesday. Cooke was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the eighth round, while Cunningham went in the ninth round to the San Diego Padres.

Wednesday’s picks included CCU pitcher Will Latchum in the 17th round to the St. Louis Cardinals, infielder Wood Myers to the Cardinals in the 29th round, and pitcher Andrew Beckwith in the 32nd round to the Royals. CThis marks the 10th time since 2002 at least three Chanticleers were drafted in one season and brings the total to 82 Chanticleers drafted – 88 draft picks as six Chants were drafted twice while at Coastal – since 1977 (Coastal’s second year of baseball) and 63 players – 68 draft picks – since head coach Gary Gilmore was named head coach in 1996.

Latcham, a junior college transfer, was 3-0 with four saves in 14 appearances in his lone season at Coastal. He struck out 29 in 25.2 innings, versus just six walks, and posted an impressive 1.05 ERA. Latcham missed 25 of CCU’s first 35 games due to injury. However, he pitched eight times in CCU’s final 21 games and was 3-0 with two saves and a 1.04 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched.

Gore, who graduated cum laude from Coastal Carolina with a degree in sociology this past month, played his first two seasons at South Carolina before transferring to Coastal. (He sat out the 2016 season at CCU due to NCAA regulations.) Despite having Tommy John surgery in May of 2016, Gore played every inning of the 2017 season and earned second team All-Sun Belt honors. He batted .318 for the season, including an impressive .344 in league play, and made numerous highlight-reel plays at shortstop.

Gore, who is coming off his redshirt junior season, had a career and team-best, 14-game hit streak in 2017 and batted .400 (22-for-55) over the span. One game after the hit streak stopped, Gore proceeded to have an eight-game hit steak as he had a hit in 25 of his last 27 games played. Gore batted .353 over the 27-game span with 20 runs scored, nine doubles and 12 multi-hit games. Including his two years at South Carolina (81 games; .247 avg.), Gore had a .282 career batting average with 14 doubles and 55 RBI.

Myers finished the year with a .330 average with 44 runs, 70 hits, 11 doubles, a triple, six home runs, 19 walks, just 23 strikeouts in 212 at bats and was 11-of-14 in stolen bases. Overall, Myers had a hit in 44 of his 53 games played this season.

However, Myers closed the season as CCU’s hottest hitter as he recorded 15 multi-hit games overs his last 25 contests (including two 4-hit games) and batted .418 (38-for-91) with 14 RBI and 22 runs scored. He closed his career with a 14-game hit streak. In addition to having a hit in 22 of his last 25 games, Myers started 2017 by getting a hit in 20 of his first 24 contests.

Myers played his first two seasons at North Carolina before transferring to Chiploa (Fla.) JC for the 2016 season after suffering a season-ending injury 14 games in to his sophomore campaign with the Tar Heels (ironically breaking his leg after getting a single versus Coastal Carolina in Springs Brooks Stadium).

Including his two years at UNC, Myers has a career batting average of .316 with 83 runs scored, 22 doubles, 7 home runs, 76 RBI, 47 walks, 21 stolen bases and a phenomenal 38 strikeouts in 481 at bats.

Beckwith, an All-American and 2016 NCAA College World Series MVP, will go down as one of the all-time greats in Chanticleer baseball history. The Blythewood native was also the 2016 Touchdown Club of Columbus Male Athlete of the Year, 2016 Big South Pitcher of the Year, 2015-16 Big South Howard Bagwell Male Athlete of the Year, 2016 Gregg Olson Award winner, 2016 first team All-Big South and 2017 second team All-Sun Belt.

Beckwith was 8-2 in his senior season, including a league-best 8-0 record in Sun Belt action with a 2.73 ERA in conference games to rank sixth. He posted a 4.34 ERA for the season. However, his season ERA was inflated after two tough outings early in the year, allowing 15 earned runs in 7.1 innings. However, over his last 17 appearances, Beckwith was 8-1 with a save and a 3.11 ERA over 84.0 innings pitched. Beckwith struck out a career-high 10 batters versus Winthrop and turned in a dominant performance at Sun Belt West Division leader UT Arlington late in the season to help secure CCU’s regular-season conference crown.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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