Ward Melville's Matz signs with Mets

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Lefthander pitching prospect Steve Matz is officially a member of the New York Mets organization.

A source very close to the negotiations said a deal was reached Monday night -- just four minutes before the midnight deadline to sign players selected in June's first-year player draft.

"I'm so excited," Matz said. "My dream has finally come true ... This is what I've always wanted -- is to be a Met."

The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, who was the 72nd overall pick in the major league amateur draft, signed for $895,000 and another $160,000 toward his education. The deal is pending a physical Tuesday.

"The negotiations were very stressful and draining," Matz said. "We agreed just before midnight. And then we were so wiped out, we were up until 3."

The Mets, who did not have a pick in the first round, selected Matz with their first pick. Matz, who earned the Yastrzemski Award as Suffolk's top high school player of the year, finished with a 6-1 record during the high school season. He spent his summer training with pitching instructor Neal Heaton and working out in the gym. The hard-throwing lefthander struck out 74 batters in 54 innings and posted an earned run average of 0.26.

Had the parties not come to terms, Matz had a plane ticket to fly from LaGuardia to Myrtle Beach at 8:30 a.m. to begin his college career at Coastal Carolina in Conway, North Carolina this morning. Instead, the family joined Mets scout Larry Izzo for a car ride into Citi Field.

"It didn't really hit me until this morning on my way to Citi Field to take the physical," Matz said. "This is great."

Matz spent Saturday at Citibank Park in Central Islip with his family watching a local Perfect Game 17U championship. The humble 18-year-old, said it was an honor to present the championship trophy to his high school coach Lou Petrucci, who guided Matz' former amateur team, the Paveco Storm to the title over the Long Island Whalers. Tony Nunziato, who served as Petrucci's assistant at Ward Melville, was the Whalers head coach.

"It was great symmetry," Petrucci said. "We had two coaches, the best of friends, playing for a championship and our guy there to present the trophy. Steve is such a class act. He was signing autographs all game. And then the players were excited to see him on the field."

Now, Matz heads to another professional field -- this time to play for the Mets organization.

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