"It feels awesome," said Veith, who graduated from Purdy High School this spring. "I felt honored just to keep my playing career going. Baseball has always treated me well."
As a senior, Veith batted .467 for the Eagles with 35 hits, including two home runs. Veith was also 5-1 as a pitcher for Purdy with opponents hitting just .231 against the crafty left-hander. He struck out a team-high 68 while on the hill.
"Riley is a competitor," said Purdy Head Coach Joshua Hughes. "He is his toughest critic, which is a good thing because he always wants to become better. It makes for a good athlete when they have the drive and passion to improve. You can never replace the experience, leadership and positive attitude Riley brought to this team. He's a good ball player and a wonderful young man. "
Although there is always a learning curve when an athlete leaves high school and adjusts to the college game, Veith should feel right at home in the St. Mary's system.
"St. Mary is my alma mater," explained Hughes. "A lot of the drills, terminology and strategy we use at Purdy I learned and brought from there. Riley should be able to pick up the system pretty quick."
While at St. Mary, Veith plans to major in business, but he says there are more important lessons he hopes to develop.
"I want to use baseball to help me become more responsible and further develop my work ethic," said Veith. "I have played baseball since I was 3, and now I get to play a little longer. I am excited."
Editors note: Veith becomes the fourth Purdy athlete from the Class of 2011 to sign a letter of intent to participate in athletics at the collegiate level. He joins: Brooke Swadley, Missouri Southern State University; Shelby White, Drury University; and Audrey Patton, Central Methodist University.