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North Kitsap shortstop Zac Smit signs with Grand View University
NORTH KITSAP — Zac Smit knew sticking with baseball could pay off as he grew older. And he was right.
Before the North Kitsap High School senior begins practicing for his last season with NK, he will sign a contract with the Grand View University Vikings baseball team.
“When I found out I was accepted, it was a real relief to me,” Smit said.
On Feb. 15, Smit and his stepfather, Doug Porter, will fly to Des Moines, Iowa to tour the Grand View campus and officially sign Smit to the team.
It is a process that took time and patience.
Grand View is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, with Division II sports programs. Grand View head baseball coach Lou Yacinich said the team has signed students from the Kitsap area before, but Smit will be the first NK graduate to join the team.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him play,” Yacinich said. “He’s going to bring some great talent to the team.”
Smit is set to receive a scholarship to the school, which will cover his tuition of about $23,000.
“Getting a scholarship to pay for my education is pretty exciting,” Smit said. He said he knew if he worked hard enough, baseball could pay for school, which is something his mother encouraged when he entered high school.
Smit spoke with representatives of 14 schools, mailing videos and applications to any that requested them. Many of the schools expressed interest, but Porter said they had to be careful about which schools were serious about signing Smit.
“We had to really pick and choose,” Porter said, adding that living in Poulsbo made it too costly to travel to all the schools, forcing them to narrow down long-distance.
The two schools Smit narrowed down to signing with were Central Arizona College and Grand View. Though both schools are recognized for successful baseball programs — Central Arizona took the NJCAA title in 2002 — Porter said Yacinich put it best: “Zac is a big fish in a small pond (at Grand View),” and in Arizona “Zac would be a little fish in a big pond.”
It was not his application and video that got Smit signed on. Porter said North Kitsap head coach Jeff Weible wrote a letter of recommendation, which is not common.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker,” Weible said of Smit. “He has made himself into a great quality player ... He always wants to get better.”
Smit began playing T-ball when he was 5. After sticking with ball throughout elementary and middle school, he joined the C-team at NK his freshman year. He joined the NK team as one of the smaller players, but his dedication during the off-season brought him to where he is today, Weible said.
In addition to NK, Smit plays for the Triple Play Hornets, a baseball club in Tacoma.
Though he already has his college education set up, he still has one season left with NK. Not having to worry about getting into college will allow him to concentrate on his performance with the NK Vikings.
“We’ve had good coaches here,” Smit said. “They have looked out for me ... Weible took me under his wing.”