Pitcher Zach Lewis has decided to stay in school, and will return to Wabash Valley for his sophomore season after turning down some big money from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lewis, who was 11-0 for a nationally-ranked Warrior team which lost to eventual national champion Iowa Western, was drafted in the 33rd round by the Pirates in the recent Major League Draft.
But, WVC coach Rob Fournier said Lewis did not sign and “is coming back. His dad wants him to stay in school.”
The Pirates were ready to make Lewis a top 10 round pick, but he “didn’t want to sign, so they balked, and ended up drafting him in the 33rd round,” Fournier said.
Lewis was offered a “really good contract,” according to Fournier. “They offered him top 10 money, but he still said no,” said the veteran coach.
Fournier said the Pirates were even prepared to pay a penalty if they would have signed Lewis to a contract worth more than the slotted amount for that pick, according to major league baseball rules.
As it is, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound righthander from Palos Hts., Ill. will be back with the Warriors this fall. After that, “he’ll have a good (four-year school) to go to,” Fournier said.
That’s assuming he doesn’t sign if presented with the same scenario next year at this time.
Two incoming freshman have also turned down draft money out of high school to play this fall at WVC for Fournier.
Anthony Justiano, from Chicago, was drafted in the 37th round by the White Sox but did not sign.
W. Bloomfield, Mich. native Dazon Cole, listed as a shortstop and pitcher, was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round, but passed on the offer sheet and, like Justiano, will play as scheduled at WVC this fall.
Two former Warriors are now in the early stages of their professional careers. Connor Fisk, who last played at WVC in 2013 before heading to S. Mississippi, was drafted by Toronto in the 24th round and has been assigned to the Blue Jays low Class A team.
Evan Einhardt, also a Warrior in 2013, is playing Class A ball in the Chicago White Sox organization after being drafted in the 29th round.