Blacksburg native drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates RU standout also to Blue Jays in 24th round


Marty Gordon

Photo courtesy of CNU
Carson Newman University catcher Ethan Goforth has been taken in the recent MLB draft. He is a former player at Blacksburg High School.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a former Blacksburg High School baseball player, Ethan Goforth, their 25th-round pick in this week’s major league baseball draft.

He called being drafted as nothing short of amazing.

“This is a dream come true to say the least,” he said from Jefferson City, Tennessee with his friends on the phone with his dad and coach.

Photo courtesy of RU Athletics
Radford University has another player drafted by a Major League baseball team. Spencer Horwitz was taken earlier this week by the Toronto Blue Jays and could end up at the Appalachian League’s Bluefield rookie team.

My goal from here on out is to make to the major leagues and have a long career and eventually coach baseball.”

Goforth initially took to the football field as the holder for another Bruin graduate, Carson Wise, at at Carson Newman University in Jefferson City. He also punted for his team.

While at Blacksburg, he hit .437 and was a two-time team Most Valuable Player and first team all-River Ridge District as a catcher.

This season, Goforth was named to second-team All-Southeast Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The Blacksburg native put together one of the best years in recent memory with a .376 batting average, 11 homers, 42 RBIs, 70 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. Those numbers put him in the top 10 in average, homers and runs scored, where he led the country during the regular season. His 70 tally was good for third on the school’s all-time runs-scored list.

Goforth said his time at Carson Newman far exceeded any expectations from the campus, to his friends, his coaches, teammates and the athletic department as a whole, the experience was perfect and he learned so much.

The junior went 0-for-4 in the first game of 2019 and did not see his average dip below .357 since the opening series. His 15-game hitting streak from March 19-April 15 was the longest by an Eagle and during that span, and he went 27-56 with three long balls, 12 RBIs, 24 runs with eight multi-hit games.

He produced 22 multi-hit games on the year including a third of the team’s four-hit games with 11 multi-RBI efforts. On 19 occasions, he crossed the plate at least twice.

Earning a spot on the SAC’s all-defensive team, Goforth was on the list for the second year in a row becoming the first Eagle to do that since the inception of the honor at the beginning of the decade.

He is the third Eagle to be a first-team selection and defensive team pick in the same year joining pitcher Robby Thigpen in 2012 and Roberts in 2016.

He led all catchers by a wide margin with 32 assists on the year committing five errors in 420 chances for a .988 fielding percentage. He also threw out 16 of the 38 runners attempting to steal a bag, a 42 percent rate, to lead the league among players with at least a dozen attempts against.

This past season, Goforth was also named all-conference and received “Gold Glove” honors.

He had been talking with the Pirates organization off and on, but was honestly in shock when the call came.

“I had spoken with one of the Pirates scouts and done a few tests for them, I did not attend a workout for them,” Gorfoth said.

The Braves, Red Sox, Rays and Royals had all been in contact with him.

Ethan is the son of Blacksburg’s Mike and Tracy Goforth.