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Despite wait, Norwin's Matijevic 'honored' after getting drafted

Doug Gulasy | Norwin Star
J.J. Matijevic (center) meets with campers at the Norwin baseball camp on Friday, June 6, 2014.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 5:48 p.m.

It took longer than anticipated, but J.J. Matijevic made some more Norwin baseball history last week.

The Boston Red Sox picked Matijevic in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, making him the first position player in Norwin history to be drafted.

“It's an honor,” Matijevic said. “Knowing everyone in the Norwin community is behind me, knowing they support me fully ... it's been a great time here at Norwin, and I definitely feel honored. It's an awesome feeling to have a great community behind you, rooting for you.”

He became the first Norwin graduate taken since pitcher Tom Shirley, a 2007 alumnus, was selected by the Houston Astros out of Xavier in 2010. Pitcher Al Leukhardt, a 1978 graduate, was drafted by the Indians in 1978.

Matijevic originally expected to hear his name called on Friday, when rounds 3-10 were held, but the day passed without him being selected.

“It's how the draft works: You never know what happens,” he said. “We were pretty confident my name was going to be heard on Friday, and it didn't happen like that. But I'm still honored, and I'm not taking it for granted that my name was eventually called.”

Matijevic said “it was an unbelievable feeling” when he received a phone call from a Boston scout on Saturday.

The Red Sox were Matijevic's favorite team growing up, he said, and Boston scouted him throughout the 2014 season.

Matijevic won the WPIAL's triple crown in 2014, hitting .567 with 10 home runs and 37 runs batted in. He finished his career with 18 home runs and 90 RBI.

A University of Arizona recruit, Matijevic now faces the decision of whether to go to college or sign a professional contract. The deadline for drafted players to sign contracts is July 19, but Matijevic said he expected to make a final decision before July 9, when he is scheduled to begin at Arizona.

“It's a tough decision,” he said. “Either way, I'll be happy. I'll be happy to go to Arizona, or I'll be happy to begin my professional career. But either way, I'm honored. It's been a crazy ride.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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