LaVelle opts not to sign with Tigers

LAKE STEVENS — Last week, former Lake Stevens High School baseball star Dylan LaVelle boarded a plane to Florida with every intention of signing his first professional baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers.

Not long after LaVelle was on a plane back home — unsigned.

LaVelle, who many thought would be picked in the first five rounds, was selected by the Tigers in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft last month. No one is quite certain why LaVelle fell so far in the draft, but he did miss a portion of the 2012 season at Lake Stevens with a dislocated shoulder.

LaVelle had committed to play baseball at Oregon State University, but his dream had always been to play professional baseball and that was the road he had decided to take when he went to Florida.

LaVelle said the terms of the deal were going to be a $150,000 signing bonus and — whenever his baseball career ended — the Tigers would pay for four years of college.

But that never came to fruition.

“When I flew down there I was like, ‘all right, awesome. All I have to do is sign on the dotted-line and take a physical,’” LaVelle said.

But it was after the physical the Tigers offer dropped dramatically. LaVelle said the Tigers never said why they lowered their offer, but he made the decision not to sign.

“I didn’t really try to give any self-pity,” LaVelle said. “I just tried to see it as a business.”

With that decision out of the way, LaVelle had to choose between going forward with his scholarship to Oregon State or going the community college route, which ensures that he can re-enter the draft next year.

He gave Oregon State considerable thought before deciding on community college.

“Just getting a taste of going down there and seeing all the professionals and realizing I should be there,” LaVelle said. “I want to do what I could to get there as fast as possible and that is why I decided to go the (community college) route.”

Now the only decision left for LaVelle is what school he will attend. He is considering Everett, Edmonds, Bellevue and Lower-Columbia. He expects to make a final decision within the next few weeks.

“I like Everett a lot just because it’s close to home and with everything going on that might be the best route,” LaVelle said. “But I’m open to other schools.”

Everett also offers the opportunity to play with former Lake Stevens teammates Anthony Blackie, Christian Shouman and Alex Koeplin.

“It helps to have the familiarity with those guys, but I try to keep it as professional as possible and not look at the personal side.”

Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at alommers@heraldnet.com.

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