Editor’s note: The Major League Baseball draft preview show begins at 6 p.m. on the Major League Baseball channel, which is channel 306 on Spectrum cable and channel 213 on DirecT. The draft begins at 7. The MLB Channel is also streaming the draft online.
According to all the speculation, Whiteville High School pitching phenom MacKenzie Gore will become the first Wolfpack player in 31 years to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball player draft when the event unfolds tonight at 6 p.m. It will be carried live on the MLB Network.
Forecasts have had the left-handed Gore listed in the Top 10 and even the Top 3 of first-round selections.
Top 10 selectees are generally offered signing bonuses of several million dollars.
It should be an exciting evening for the 18-year-old Gore, his parents Evan and Selena, and sisters Meredith and Lexie, as well as the rest of his large extended family, his coaches, teammates, classmates and fans.
Gore, the only senior on this past season’s WHS squad, signed to play at East Carolina University last fall, but that plan is expected to go unfulfilled with what figures to happen tonight.
An honor student with an All-American boy image, Gore has been a big engine in Coach Brett Harwood’s Wolfpack three state 1A championships in the past four seasons, polishing things off on June 2-3 by sweeping Murphy in the best-of-three state championship series at North Carolina State University’s Doak Field. He was also named Most Valuable Player of the state championship series for the third time.
During his senior season, The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Gore posted an 11-0 won-loss record in 74 innings, striking out 158 batters and putting up an earned run average of 0.19. He issued only five walks. He also batted third for the Wolfpack order, hitting .478 with seven home runs.
His four-year career on the Wolfpack squad included 41 wins and two losses, and 556 career strike-outs.
Gore also capped off his senior season by becoming the first North Carolinian selected as the National Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year. He had earlier won the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year recognition.
He has been recognized by numerous statewide and nationwide media networks and publications.
Major league scouts flocked to the games Gore pitched this past spring by the dozens.
Not since 1991, when East Carteret pitching great Brien Taylor became the No. 1 player picked in the draft by the New York Yankees, has the exposure for a North Carolina player been so astounding.
Through all the hype and pageantry, Gore has taken things in stride throughout this season. He has continued to carry himself as a strong role model whose main focus has been winning another state championship.
“It’s all been plenty exciting,” Gore said. “But none of this would have been possible without my teammates and coaches.
“We’ve been family from the start and it’s been an honor to be part of such an outstanding team,”
The last time the Whiteville baseball team had a player selected in the opening round was 1986 when Wolfpack all-around athlete Patrick Lennon was the first-round selection of the Seattle Mariners. He was the eighth overall pick.