Paschke thriving in CCL summer league

Jeff Paschke - Santa Paula Halos

Jeff Paschke is playing for the Santa Paula Halos this summer after finishing his high school career last spring at Santa Barbara High.

Former Santa Barbara High School baseball standout Jeff Paschke has been tearing up the California Collegiate League for the Santa Paula Halos just as he did the Channel League last year for the Dons.

Paschke, who was named the All-City High School Field Player of the Year this spring while playing for the Dons, currently ranks third in the CCL with a .378 batting average. He held the top spot with a .400 average up until Friday evening?s game against the Foresters.

Originally from Arizona, Paschke moved to Santa Barbara for his senior year of high school and excelled while with the Dons, earning First Team All-Channel League honors while sporting a .606 slugging percentage.

?I?m actually glad I moved to Santa Barbara,? Paschke said. ?I really enjoyed my experience [with the Dons]. The competition was great and it helped me improve a lot as a ballplayer.?

Though Paschke led the Dons with 41 hits and 28 RBI last season and currently holds a .925 OPS for the Halos, hitting is only a third of his game. When Paschke is not flashing his glove at third base? he has committed just three errors in 30 games this season? he is on the mound for the Halos. Paschke has pitched in eight games for Santa Paula including one start, and holds a 1.96 ERA.

?He?s an unbelievable baseball player,? Santa Paula head coach Jimmy Walker said of Paschke. ?If I were a college coach, it would be great because I could use him just about anywhere.?

According to Paschke, he will be used just about anywhere next year when he attends the University of Southern California as an invited walk-on.

?My goal for next year is to earn a starting spot as a freshman, either as a relief pitcher or a corner infielder,? Paschke said.

Paschke was committed to USC before he moved to Santa Barbara, and he said that he always knew he wanted to come to Southern California for college.

Jeff Paschke

Jeff Paschke plays third base and pitches for Santa Paula

?USC has always been my dream school ever since I was little,? Paschke said. ?When I got the opportunity to play for them next year, I jumped on it as soon as I could.?

But next season will not be the first time Paschke suits up for a team called the Trojans. He played his first three high school seasons for the Valley Christian Trojans, a private high school in Chandler, AZ. Paschke led Valley Christian to a 2A state title during his sophomore year, batting .620 and setting the state record with 72 RBI. He was named the sophomore baseball Player of the Year by ESPN?s Rise magazine.

Paschke hit .412 during his junior season at Valley Christian, but struggled during his pitching outings, posting a 9.98 ERA over just 13 innings pitched. However, he excelled on the mound for the Dons last season, compiling a 2.39 ERA over 44 innings pitched.

Impressive statistics aside, Paschke admits he still has some areas of his game that need improvement before he suits up for USC? most prominently his patience at the plate. Paschke has struck out 11 times in 82 at bats for the Halos.

Walker, however, said that Paschke?s aggressiveness at the plate also works to his advantage.

?I?d say maybe being a little more selective at the plate is something he needs to improve on,? Walker said. ?But that?s also a plus for him because he can go up there and be aggressive and swing the bat. It?s tough to tell a kid not to go up there and swing the bat.?

Paschke said that his summer with the Halos has helped him become more selective at the plate. He also credits Santa Paula with helping him adjust to college pitching and playing every day, which will be critical to his success at USC.

The versatility that Paschke displays on the field, however, is what Walker says will help him become an impact player for the Trojans just as he did for the Halos and the Dons.

?He?s like three players in one,? Walker said. ?Having just graduated high school and being able to compete at this level is tough. He does things on the field that are just amazing, and his future is bright.?