MIDLAND, Texas: Chase Shores of Midland Legacy is like any other high school kid. A few months away from obtaining his diploma, he must decide whether to go to university or join the job market. Its options, however, might be a little different than normal high school.
Shores is among the top high school pitching prospects in America and standing at 6’8″, having him stare at you in the batter’s box is not a welcome sight.
“It’s pretty intimidating,” longtime teammate and friend Carson Lauderdale said of his intervention against Shores. “He comes down the mound and the moment he releases it, it’s like there in the glove.”
Shores’ fastball is consistently clocked in the mid-to-high 90s and keeps hitters off balance with his devastating off-speed pitches. His arsenal and frame have scouts drooling in the stands at Legacy games.
To his teammates and friends, however, he’s just one of the guys.
“I don’t really see him as different, he’s just my brother,” Lauderdale said. “We’re best friends and I just see him as that guy, not the other one.”
Now back to the options available to Shores.
The 17-year-old can choose college, with a full scholarship to LSU, one of the top college baseball programs in the nation. Then there’s the workforce option, which for Shores could mean hearing his name called at the start of the June MLB draft, a new home and a new team this summer, and a few million dollars on his bank account when signing.
It’s an enigma driven by his golden right arm, but it’s an enigma that weighs heavily on his mind.
“I think about it every day. I wouldn’t say that’s all I’m thinking about, but it crosses my mind a lot,” Shores said of the decision. “Every day I’m working towards that goal and I’m confident in my preparation and I’m confident in the work I’m doing to hopefully achieve that dream.”
Shores’ parents, Bryan and Nicole, don’t see an undesirable option.
“Whether it’s the road to LSU or having the chance to get drafted, it’s a blessing,” Bryan Shores said. “No road is a bad choice.”
During his senior year, Shores tries to bask in the last glow of childhood before he and his friends are forced to grow up.
“I’m just having fun with it right now,” Shores said. “Playing with my teammates who I grew up with all my life, I think is very special, and after this year I probably won’t be able to do that anymore.”
For the people around him, they know he’s ready for the next step.
“He’s the best I’ve ever coached,” Legacy head coach Eric Garcia said. “I really think he has a chance to be special.”
“I think Chase will be a dominant pitcher in the major leagues,” Lauderdale said.
As all athletes know, there comes a time when they are told they can’t play the kid’s game anymore.
Shores isn’t ready to hear that yet.
“Honestly, I just want to play baseball for as long as possible,” Shores said. “Not many people play after high school, not many people play after college, and if I get the chance to play in the major leagues, it would be a dream come true.”
The 2022 MLB Draft begins July 17.