An 86-mile an hour fastball from an "out-of-shape" Chris VanZant was enough to impress Eastern New Mexico University.
The 2000 Dayton High graduate signed a letter-of-intent to play with the Division II program where he will enter school as a junior. VanZant comes to Eastern New Mexico by way of Victor Valley Community College in Southern California.
VanZant is a utility player who can play first base and the outfield as well as pitch. Eastern New Mexico recruited VanZant as a first baseman and pitcher. VanZant said Eastern New Mexico has offered him a financial package that's equivalent to half a scholarship.
VanZant, who attended Carson High before heading to Dayton for his senior year, was an all-conference second team performer at Dayton and was an all-conference performer at Victor Valley as well.
During a recent workout with Eastern New Mexico, his fastball was clocked at 86 mph.
"I'm pretty much out of shape right now," VanZant said. "I thought that was pretty awesome."
When asked if he can increase the velocity of his fastball, VanZant said, "Easily. Once I get all my mechanics and my arm in shape, I'm pretty sure I'm going to hit 89."
VanZant said he's determined to earn a starting spot at Eastern New Mexico.
"I'll be one of the hardest workers on the team," VanZant said. "No matter what, I'm going to earn a spot."
Eastern New Mexico plays in the Lone Star Conference. "It's a great baseball program," said VanZant, who plans to major in business administration. "It's a really tough conference. The caliber of play has gotten really, really good."
VanZant was recruited by many Division II and III schools, including Cal Lutheran.