Andrew DeMott was prepared to walk away.
As much as the former Atwater and Merced College star loved the game of baseball, he was resolved to hanging up the spikes if nothing came from playing in the instructional Arizona Winter League.
As it turns out, such thoughts were premature.
In 10 appearances for the San Luis Athleticos, DeMott posted a 3-2 record with a 2.88 earned run average.
The right-handed submarine reliever struck out 15 in 25 innings of work and recorded one save.
DeMott's performance caught the eye of a number of scouts and he was drafted by the Calgary Vipers in the Golden Baseball League.
The GBL is an independent, semi-pro league that routinely earns a number of players minor league contracts.
Since the league's inception in 2005, 87 players have been signed to Major League Baseball contracts. Twenty five were signed in 2008 alone.
"It's a huge opportunity," DeMott said. "I'd talked with my manager in the Arizona Winter League and he said he thought there was definitely a place for me in the GBL, but you never know.
"The Calgary pitching coach was down there the day I was drafted, just to talk and explain what was going on.
"I actually have family in Calgary, so everyone is pretty excited.
"My dream is to play in the majors, and I have my foot in the door now."
But before DeMott gets to vie for a big-league contract, he still has to make the Calgary team.
The Vipers will open spring training the first week of May with 13 pitchers in camp and only 11 roster spots available.
"The coaches have told me they think I have a really good shot at making the team," DeMott said. "I don't throw hard, but they like how I force a lot of ground balls.
"I'm just excited for the opportunity to show what I can do."
Merced College baseball coach Chris Pedretti said he isn't surprised by DeMott's perseverance.
"If (DeMott) were a basketball player, he'd be called a gym rat," Pedretti said. "Andrew is just a guy that loves being out on the baseball diamond.
"It doesn't surprise me at all that he's doing everything he can to keep playing."
DeMott was a first-team all-Central Valley Conference selection for the Blue Devils in 2005 and 2006, before going on to play at Cal State Stanislaus.
In 2008, DeMott was 5-2 with a 3.16 ERA in his senior year with the Warriors.
"This is my first opportunity to play pro ball of any sort, so I'm excited," DeMott said. "Getting drafted was definitely a validation.
"It feels like I'm being recognized for all the hard work I've put in and it just makes me want to work that much harder."
Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden Baseball League
BACKGROUND: The GBL is an independent semi-pro league that was started in 2005.
TEAMS: The GBL currently has 11 teams located in the Pacific Northwest/Canada, the Pacific Coast and the Southwest. According to the league Web site, the GBL hopes to expand to a three-division league with eight teams per division.
GOOD EXPOSURE: Since the GBL began in 2005, 87 players have been signed to major league contracts.