Forget the draft, for a minute, as if that is so easy to do. Seneca's Nick Decker, however, was able to do exactly that.
As anxious as the senior must be for the beginning of the baseball draft Monday, especially since he could hear his name that very first evening, Decker blotted out the noise and kept his high school career alive.
Playing his second-best position, Decker allowed three hits in six-plus innings as No. 10-seeded Seneca defeated No. 5 Cherry Hill West on Friday in the South Jersey Group 3 championship game at West's Tom Trotman Field.
Decker, who has committed to Maryland, will be drafted as a centerfielder, by far his best position.
In the meantime, in the championship game, the lefthander showed his competitiveness.
On this day, he didn't consider pitching his second-best position and neither did West.
"I am not thinking I am not a pitcher," he said. "I was giving everything I got."
He wanted to finish what he started, but after walking the first batter in the seventh, Decker was up to his NJSIAA-mandated pitch limit of 110, so he departed.
West loaded the bases in the seventh, but Matt Christopher preserved the shutout.
"At end of the day, you tip your hat to a very talented team and one of the best high school players in the country," said West coach Dan McMaster, whose 14-10 team started just two seniors and should be heard from this time next year. "And [Decker] had it going today."
That is the thing about Decker. He has it going every day.
The pressure has been immense, and like many great players, he has thrived on it. All the talk about the draft, was done by others. When he was on the field, he had only one goal.
"He has never been sidetracked by it at all," said coach Jay Donoghue. "You wouldn't even know it was going on at all, except for the kids talking about it at practice."
And all the scouts who came to see him this year.
Seneca (19-6) is two games away from winning a state championship. On Tuesday, the Golden Eagles will meet Allentown in the state Group 3 semifinal at Monmouth.
By then Decker should know which team has called his name in the draft.
He doesn't downplay the draft. It has been a life-long dream, but so has winning a state championship. In his mind, why can't he have both?
Playing for his school, with his friends, is a big deal.
"Before the game I said, let's not make this our last high school game," he said. "There was not a shot I thought we could lose."
Cherry Hill West lefthander Brian Robertson pitched five shutouts innings before Seneca scored five runs in the sixth.
Decker began the rally after reaching first on catcher's interference, he advanced to second on a groundout, stole third base and scored the first run on Ryan Graham's RBI single. The Golden Eagles also scored on Matt Christopher's RBI single and then a wild pitch and added two more runs on a two-run pinch single by Josh Willitts.
That was more than enough for Decker, who was also 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Decker has pitched only 18 innings this year and at times Friday he struggled with his command. But when he needed to make a big pitch, he did.
He was so happy to deliver in yet another big moment.
"This means everything to me," he said.
It showed on a day when his second-best position clearly looked like his first.
Seneca 000 005 1 – 6 7 0
Cherry Hill West 000 000 0 – 0 4 1