SM East’s Zebulon Vermillion commits to play baseball at Arkansas

Teammates swarmed Zebullon Vermillion (center) after his complete game in the opening round of state. Photo by James Wooldridge.
Teammates swarmed Zebullon Vermillion (center) after his complete game in the opening round of state. Photo by James Wooldridge.

This coming spring, SM East’s varsity baseball team with have not one but two pitchers who have already committed to play for major college programs.

Junior Zebulon Vermillion this past weekend verbally committed to the University of Arkansas.

“It took me a long time to decide,” said Vermillion, who had also made recruiting visits to Missouri, Kansas State, Missouri State and Clemson. “I thought it was necessary to take a little while to see if it was the right fit for me.”

But on Sunday after a visit to the Fayetteville campus with his parents, Vermillion felt like he was ready to make up his mind.

“We were set to visit some other colleges, but I told my parents, ‘Do we have to go? I think I know I want to be a Razorback,'” he said.

Vermillion’s Lancer teammate Joey Wentz, a senior this year, made his commitment to the University of Virginia last season. The two pitchers were instrumental in the Lancers’ 2015 success, which saw them make it to the state tournament for the second year in a row. Vermillion pitched a seven-strikeout complete game in the opening round against Junction City to advance the Lancers to the semi-finals, where they fell to SM Northwest.

A 6’4″ 175-pound right hander, Vermillion currently dishes a fastball that reaches the upper 80s. Born in Vail, Colo., he moved with his family to St. Joseph, Mo., when he was 8 years old. He stayed there until before his freshman year of high school, when, at the urging of former Royals third basemen Joe Randa and his son Jake, Vermillion moved to Prairie Village. Jake and Vermillion had played on regional competitive youth teams for years.

“I’d been playing with [Jake] since I was 12 years old, and they kind of told us about the area and the teams,” he said. “The high school where I was going to go wasn’t the best academically, so it was a good time to move for the school and for the team.”

Vermillion said he thinks this year’s Lancer team has the makeup to take another shot at the title.

“I’ll be really upset if we don’t make it far,” he said. “We’ve got all the pieces.”