The Major League Baseball draft is always a potentially bittersweet event for Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore.
He’s happy for his players for any opportunity they may receive to embark on pro careers.
But if too many of his players are selected and opt to sign contracts, his team for the upcoming season could be decimated.
“This could be the year they take them all,” Gilmore said, “or they may leave them here and we have a highly competitive team next season.”
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This could be the year they take them all, or they may leave them here and we have a highly competitive team next season.
CCU baseball coach Gary Gilmore
The 40-round draft is Monday through Wednesday.
Pitchers Alex Cunningham, a 2017 Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American, and Andrew Beckwith, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 College World Series, are CCU draft prospects who have expended their collegiate eligibility.
The Chants have several other juniors who could choose to forego their senior seasons if drafted, and some junior college signees and high school recruits who could potentially be drafted.
The juniors include 2017 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Billy Cooke, an outstanding defensive center fielder who hit .353; Kevin Woodall of Georgetown, who batted .262 and led the conference with 18 home runs and 60 RBI; shortstop Jordan Gore of Conway, who batted .318; and relievers Will Latcham and Bobby Holmes, who have live arms and recorded earned-run averages of 1.05 and 2.51, respectively.
Among the junior college players who have signed to play at CCU next season and are eligible to be drafted are Florida Southwestern State College right-handed pitcher Davie Inman of Indiana and Polk State College (Fla.) power-hitting first baseman Zach Biermann of Wisconsin.
The first two rounds begin at 7 p.m. Monday, rounds 3-10 are Tuesday and rounds 11-40 are Wednesday.
Outfielder Cory Wood of Raleigh, N.C., was named to Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-American team, becoming CCU’s 11th Freshman All-American and 10th since 2007.
Wood, who was voted Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year by the league’s head coaches, batted .291 with 41 runs scored, 24 RBIs and an impressive .423 on-base percentage with the help of 31 walks. He was also successful on 16 of his 17 stolen base attempts.
Despite missing nine games due to injury, Wood led all players in Sun Belt league games with a .406 batting average and .531 on-base percentage. After batting just .193 through his first 18 games, Wood batted .357 over his final 28 games with a .500 slugging percentage.
He reached base safely with a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 40 of his 44 games played with a plate appearance, including a streak of 22 straight from Feb. 27 to April 11. Wood lived up to his high expectations after being tabbed the D1Baseball.com Preseason Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.
Bothma in NCAAs
Redshirt freshman Annie Bothma finished 19th in a time of 34:13.77 Thursday night in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
It was Bothma’s third 10,000 this season and she won the previous two.
The first was the Sun Belt Championships with a time 34:12.04 to qualify her for the NCAA East Preliminary Round, which she won with a new course and CCU record of 33:37.91 at the Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex in Lexington, Ky.
The South Africa native is the first Chanticleer to qualify for the NCAA finals in the 10,000 and was trying to become Coastal’s first track and field national champion. Jolene Williams came the closest, finishing second in the 3,000 meter in the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Bothma jumped out to the early lead in the first 400 meters Thursday but was overtaken by Notre Dame’s Anna Rhorer. Bothma dropped back and New Mexico’s Alice Wright took the lead at the 4,400-meter mark and set the pace until the second to last lap, when San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor closed for the win.
Bothma’s 2016-17 season included Sun Belt and Southeast Regional cross country titles, Sun Belt indoor 5,000-meter and outdoor 10,000-meter titles, participation in NCAA finals in cross country and outdoor track, and selection as the Sun Belt Women’s Indoor Track & Field Newcomer of the Year.
CCU student-athletes performed well in the classroom during the 2016-17 academic year, as 17 of the 19 sports programs recorded cumulative GPAs of at least 3.0 and the lowest was 2.836, according to the university.
For the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters, a total of 72 student-athletes graduated, including 25 with honors (three summa cum laude, 11 magna cum laude and 11 cum laude).
In addition, five Chanticleers received their Master’s degrees: Leroy Cummings (football; Education.), Calvin Hollenhorst (football; MBA), Bruce Mapp (football; MBA), Voghens Larrieux (football; MBA) and Rachel Gregory (women’s basketball, MBA).
For the year, CCU student-athletes posted a 3.154 GPA while owning a cumulative GPA of 3.203. The women’s tennis and women’s golf teams were the athletic department’s top performers, posting GPA’s of 3.834 and 3.82, respectively, for the year.
A total 257 student-athletes had at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall of 2016, including 51 that had a perfect 4.0 to earn President’s List honors while 116 earned Dean’s List. In the spring, 226 student-athletes had at least a 3.0 with 42 receiving President’s List honors and 101 making the Dean’s List.