Online Now 273

Gamache, McElroy lead AU in draft

AUBURN – Dan Gamache wrote another chapter to his remarkable story Tuesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates made him the first pick of the sixth round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Casey McElroy was chosen in the 11th round

Gamache, a junior from Exeter, R.I., attended a camp at Auburn before his senior year in high school. He liked what he saw and walked on before the 2009 season, John Pawlowski’s first as head coach.

And now he’s ready to pursue a lifelong dream.

“I’ll have to see where we are, but I’m looking forward to starting my pro career,” Gamache said Tuesday. “It’s been my dream my whole life.”

Gamache, already nursing a hamstring injury, suffered a hand injury in Auburn’s final regular-season series at Tennessee. But that did little to dampen a productive career.

In his three seasons, Gamache hit .337 with 16 home runs, 31 doubles and three triples. He drove in 77 runs and scored 97. He hit a home run in his college at-bat.

A third baseman/designated hitter, Gamache was one of six Auburn players picked in Tuesday’s draft.

Shortstop Casey McElroy, last season’s leading hitter, was chosen by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round and pitcher Derek Varnadore, the Tigers’ ace starter, went to the Florida Marlins in the 17th round. Both are juniors.

Pitcher Bradley Hendrix was chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 22nd round, senior catcher Tony Caldwell by the Marlins in the 24th round and first baseman Kevin Patterson by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 30th round. All three are seniors.

Signee Clay Holmes, a right-handed pitcher from Slocomb, was chosen by the Pirates in the ninth round.

Gamache, at home with his parents, was surprised when he heard his name called.

“I was kind of expecting to go a little later than that,” Gamache said. “They were just coming off a break in the draft and we were just sitting around talking. All of a sudden I heard my name. I’m very excited. I’m getting so many phone calls and text messages that I can’t answer one before another one comes.”

The final 20 rounds of the draft are set for Wednesday.

Already have an account? Sign In