Dream come true: Phillies sign Ocean City HS pitcher

A Cape May County high school student saw his baseball dreams come true this week when he was signed by a major league team.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2020, 12:13 AM

Updated 1,393 days ago

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A Cape May County high school student saw his baseball dreams come true this week when he was signed by a major league team.
Growing up in South Jersey, 18-year-old Jake McKenna has always loved the Philadelphia Phillies, especially pitcher Cole Hamels. So, he was thrilled to find out that he may one day be playing for the team.
“I saw the phone pop up and my heart started racing, but when we had to calm down and answer the call,” McKenna says.
The Ocean City High School senior found out that the Phillies wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
“My sister and my mom were crying and my dad, he kind of teared up a little bit and we all hugged,” he says. “Yeah, it was awesome.”
McKenna started pitching when he was 12 years old. But he says that he did not realize that he could take his career to the next level until his junior year.
“It’s always been my stress reliever and I’ve been super confident when I’m on the mound. I just feel like a different person when I’m out there. It’s awesome,” he says.
Standing at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, the lefty says that his fastball can reach up to 93 mph. It impressed the Phillies enough that they offered him a $20,000 contract.
“And they are going to pay for his college as part of the contract, and he’s the kind of kid who will – and I know he will – is a kid that’s going to get a college degree through all this,” says high school coach Andrew Bristol. “He can show kids how to hold yourself, how to present yourself. How to work hard and when you work hard you can get to your goals. So, first and foremost he’s a role model to the kids around here.”
McKenna awaits his next steps, but says that he is likely to start in Florida with the Phillies’ instructional league.
“It means everything to me. This has been a dream forever and now it’s coming true and I have an opportunity to play at Citizens Bank Park one day and it’s awesome,” he says.
McKenna was supposed to graduate high school this week, but he says that Ocean City is now looking to hold a graduation ceremony in July.


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