OSSIAN – A whirlwind couple of weeks for Norwell High School baseball player Josh VanMeter shows no signs of slowing down.
VanMeter planned to sign his first Major League Baseball contract today and fly to Phoenix to start his career in the San Diego Padres chain.
The move comes only three days after VanMeter threw a complete-game three-hitter and led Norwell to the Class 3A state baseball title in Indianapolis.
“I don't think you could have made it any better, other than going undefeated,” VanMeter said. “To win a state championship, get drafted and play professional baseball – I don't think it could be any better.”
VanMeter said the Padres planned to assign him to the Arizona Summer Rookie League in Peoria, Ariz., the first step of his career. The league runs from late June through August, with teams playing 56 games.
If players develop rapidly in the Padres' system, they can be assigned to Eugene, Ore., the lower minor league level, just below the Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps.
“A great thing for me would be to play well enough to be promoted to rookie ball in Eugene,” VanMeter said. “I don't know if that will happen. It's dependent on how I do and the people above me.”
VanMeter finished his Norwell career on the highest of notes, as the Knights beat Jasper 2-1 to win the school's third state title on Friday. VanMeter allowed no earned runs and struck out eight. He scored both Norwell runs after reaching base on a pair of walks.
VanMeter led Norwell in several hitting categories and was 14-1 on the mound. His pitching career is over, however, as he'll be a shortstop to open his pro career.
He knows he has to prove himself after being drafted in the fifth round by the Padres.
“I go from the big-guy senior at Norwell High School to the bottom feeder, pretty much,” he said. “I'm excited, nervous, pretty much every emotion. I'm ready to get started, and really excited to see where God takes my life and see the path he takes me on. If I put everything into him, I know everything will be OK.”