NORFOLK, Va. – For Old Dominion University slugger Vinnie Pasquantino, the Golden Arches were the site of a golden opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream.
Wednesday, with the 319th overall selection in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft (11th round), the Kansas City Royals picked Pasquantino. He was in a McDonald’s drive thru when he received the news.
“I was picking up food for my father, who got stuck at a meeting at work and couldn’t leave to get food,” Pasquantino told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler via text message. “[Former ODU teammate] Bryce Windham called me and told me congratulations. I said “for what?” It was just an amazing moment. I was with my girlfriend and my mom. That can’t be beat. Bryce is one of my best friends at ODU, so him telling me was better than anyone else telling me.”
Pasquantino, a first baseman, led ODU and ranked third in Conference USA with 16 home runs in 2019. The Monarchs’ 3-hole hitter batted .302 with 55 RBIs – a total that ranked sixth-best in the league.
“The emotions for me are crazy right now,” Pasquantino added. “My dream has come true. Even though I need to fight and claw my way to the major leagues, at some point this summer I will be playing professional baseball. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Pasquantino’s .573 slugging percentage led the Monarchs and ranked 5th in the league. He also had a .994 fielding percentage – eighth-highest in C-USA.
“My first word was ball, and ever since I could walk I was swinging a bat or throwing a ball,” Pasquantino recalled. “It’s just crazy knowing that now a team values me enough to where they would take a chance on me. I’m not really sure what it feels like it when your dreams come true, but what I’m feeling right now, will be hard to be beat.”
Pasquantino, a native of Moseley, Virginia who attended James River High School, is the second-highest ODU position player drafted since 2000. Shortstop Zach Rutherford was a sixth round selection by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2017 MLB Draft.