BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Former Tennessee High Viking and Virginia Tech standout, Gavin Cross, didn’t have to wait too long to hear his named called at the 2022 MLB First Year Draft on Sunday night.

The Kansas City Royals selected Cross with the 9th overall pick in the draft.

“I mean you grow up and you want to be a first round pick and it’s surreal,” Cross said. “I mean, I was nervous – it was pretty nerve-wracking – my heartbeat was really high.”

A room filled with family and friends erupted in excitement at MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement over the broadcast just before 8:15 p.m.

And the fact that it was the Royals organization that called his cell phone was an added bonus.

“I thought there could be a chance, but you know the draft is crazy and guys get picked places you don’t even know,” he said. “So, I was hopeful and I’m glad they gave me the chance and opportunity and it’ll be special and I hope to continue to contribute to the franchise for a long time.”

Cross’ selection cemented him as the highest Major League Baseball draft pick in Virginia Tech history. The Tri-Cities-area product hit .328 this past season in Blacksburg with 50 RBI and 17 home runs. He also helped lead the team to its first-ever ACC Coastal Division title this past spring.

The sure-fire First Round selection could have flown out to Los Angeles to be with some of the other talented prospects that would hear their names on Sunday night.

But there was never a doubt, Cross wanted to be surrounded by those he loved in such a special moment.

“They’re the reason I’m here so I felt like it wasn’t right for me to just go down there by myself when everybody here is kind of the reason that I’m here today,” he said. “As far as coaches, family, friends. They’re the reason I’m here, so I felt like it was just right for them to be here.”