CONWAY — Jordan Gore had just finished signing his National Letter of Intent (NLI) to continue his baseball career at South Carolina, and already he had some advice for the next wave of college recruits.
The Conway shortstop and pitcher, with the ink on his NLI to the recent two-time national champs still drying, was happy to have the process completed. At the same time, he said it was secondary to what got him there in the first place.
“You just have to have fun,” Gore said Wednesday after a ceremony at the high school. “[Other recruits] put too much pressure on themselves. That causes them to crumble. If you have fun, you’re good to go. It’s just a game.”
As the recent media cycle and recruiting sites have made asking 16-year-olds about top fives, official visits and coaching changes, Gore did something different. After taking some time to consider South Carolina among a list that also included Clemson and College of Charleston, he made a decision prior to his junior year and stuck with it.
Instead of wavering, he worked to make himself “earn” the offer from the Gamecocks.
It didn’t hurt that his top teammate did something similar.
Fellow senior G.K. Young sat next to Gore Wednesday and fulfilled his verbal commitment to Coastal Carolina. For both players, they made choices that fit them and worked to improve their game even though interest from other colleges didn’t stop.
“They’ve both been very solid the whole time,” Conway coach Anthony Carroll said of the two players honoring their earlier college commitments. “I don’t think either of them considered anybody else. I think both programs are getting very good players.”
Young and Gore were both All-State selections their junior seasons.
Gore led the team in batting average (.488). He also had 14 RBI, eight doubles and a triple en route to also being named to The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast team. He struck out just four times all season.
Young batted .485 with eight home runs, four doubles and 30 RBI while racking up 18 walks and striking out only four times. He was also a member of the Toast of the Coast squad.
Now, after one more season at Conway, he’ll make the adjustment to college baseball while remaining close to his roots.
“I get to stay at home and hang out with my parents for four more years,” Young said. “To play right at my back door, it’s a dream. It’s awesome. Coastal’s a Division I school and it’s right near my house. I get to go two miles to school and be right at home.”
Coastal hasn’t had the overall success of South Carolina. That didn’t stop Young from thinking of what could be. He said he’d like to be a part of the Chanticleers’ first trip to Omaha for the College World Series.
One way or the other, the two players’ paths will now cross at the college level. Coastal and South Carolina recently signed a contract that will have the two teams playing each other during the regular season in both 2014 and 2015, seasons which will represent Gore and Young’s freshman and sophomore seasons.
That, however, will come after one more season at Conway.
“When I committed, I knew I had to work twice as hard to make sure I was at a [NCAA Division-I] level,” Young said. “I still don’t think I’m where I need to be; I’m far from where I want to be. I can get better.”
Gore and Young were two of several Grand Strand athletes who committed Wednesday, the opening day of the NCAA early signing period.
Carolina Forest softball player Marisa Runyon made her long-awaited signing with defending national champion Alabama official.
At Myrtle Beach, basketball player Tanisha Brown signed with UNC-Charlotte and girls golfer Cameron Crutchfield inked with NCAA Division-II Coker College.
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.