WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - Gatorade National Player of the Year MacKenzie Gore dominated game one of the state finals for Whiteville High. But when it came to the bottom of the final inning and the championship was on the line - it was a freshman that came through for the Wolfpack.
That freshman was the coach's son.
"I was a little nervous, I ain't gonna lie," said Jake Harwood, who moments earlier had insisted that he wasn't nervous with a smile. "I knew when I hit the ball I was just looking at the ball hoping it would get down so we could win on a walk-off hit. I think I was crying before I even touched first. I was happy that I could come through for my team - I know my dad was especially happy."
Jake's father, Brett, has guided Whiteville through one of the most successful runs in the history of the program. The Wolfpack have won three state titles now in the past four years. But this one may be even more special between the national attention
"With him on the mound, he went from the losing pitcher and probably the lowest you can go to game winning hit to the highest you can go in about 18 minutes," said Brett. "And you know as a coach, and as a father, I felt those same emotions."
Jake has already verbally committed to Clemson, but will surely have more programs interested in him before he makes it official in the years to come. For now, as he approaches summer baseball, he enters the next step with a walk-off base hit, a state championship ring, and dad taking it all in down the third base line.