For more than a year and a half, since he verbally committed to play baseball for Illinois State University before his junior season, Simeon Lucas knew what he would do after graduating from high school.
Then his plans changed with one phone call Friday.
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The Cleveland Indians were considering selecting Grant's powerful, left-handed-hitting catcher in the seventh round of the MLB first-year player draft.
"I actually got a phone call from my adviser," said Lucas, who was at home with his family in Ingleside. "They were talking to him about whether I wanted to sign, would I actually go and all that. It just took off from there."
"Zoomed" is more like it. Lucas wanted to sign. And he will.
"I'm so ecstatic and slap-happy about it," Lucas said after being selected 218th overall by the Indians. "I'm definitely going down to the rookie-ball league."
Lucas, who turned 18 in February, becomes the first Grant baseball player drafted since 6-foot-6 right-hander Kyle Stroup was picked by the Boston Red Sox with the final pick in the 50th and final round of the 2008 draft. Stroup, 24, is still in the Red Sox's organization, pitching in the Class A Carolina League.
"We're good friends with his best friend," Lucas said of Stroup, a fellow Ingleside resident.
A three-year varsity starter who helped Grant place third in the Class 4A state tournament as a sophomore in 2012, the 6-2, 195-pound Lucas batted .371 this season, as the Bulldogs won the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division championship. He belted 9 home runs and 10 doubles, driving in 37 runs and posting a .516 on-base percentage. He drew 27 walks and struck out 20 times.
While he was expecting to be drafted, he wasn't sure which round he would go in. The first two rounds of the draft took place Thursday, while rounds 3-10 were completed Friday. The draft concludes today.
"Talking with the scouts throughout the whole process, they said all it takes is one person to like you," Lucas said. "They said, 'Someone can take you in the third round if they really like you, or they could drag you into the teens.' We were never really told a clear answer.
"Everybody dreams to be drafted on the first day," he added with a laugh. "But out of all the days, we were assuming (Friday) would be the most likely day."
Since he was a kid, Lucas says he dreamed of playing baseball for a living. Now, the youngest of two sons of Larry and Carol will get his chance to do it -- assuming he ever comes down off Cloud Nine.
"It was a dream come true," said Lucas, who planned to call ISU Friday and tell the Redbirds he won't head to Normal in the fall. "In the end, it didn't really matter (which team drafted me). I just wanted to be playing baseball. It happened that my name was taken in the draft, and it all worked out. I'm following a childhood dream that I've never let go of."
How quickly he signs a pro contract with Cleveland will be determined soon. As for now, he's just enjoying the moment. He and his family planned to celebrate Friday night.
While his focus the last few weeks was on graduating, the draft was tough for him not to think about.
"In the end, I'm just chasing my dream," Lucas said. "Our family's really religious, and I prayed about it and tried to get a right answer. I was feeling a strong pull toward (agreeing to sign a pro contract, if drafted).
"So that's how I'm going to start off my life."
As a pro baseball player.
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