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Baseball's Patton decides early on Spalding

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – Bullitt East baseball standout Chase Patton didn’t waste any time when it came to confirming his college destination.

     Last week, just three weeks into senior year of high school, Patton sat in the Media Center at Bullitt East and in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates, conducted a ceremony that has him playing baseball at Spalding University starting in the fall of 2014.

     In the second week of September, most high school seniors are more worried about homecoming than a college selection.

     “They showed a lot of interest right off the bat,” Patton said after all the pictures were taken. “The class size there was a perfect fit for me.”

     Spalding, which recruits Bullitt County consistently, did not have a local player on its 2013 roster from the area. The Golden Eagles first got interested in Patton after watching him throw at a PBR (Professional Baseball Report) event at Transylvania University last year.

     For the most part, Spalding pitching coach Matt Downs did the recruiting of Patton. The player said that the coaches have mostly talked with him about pitching or playing first base.

     The 17-year old son of Julie and James Patton has been playing in the Bullitt East program since he was in the seventh grade. He started playing baseball in the Mount Washington Youth League when he was 6-years old and was part of the league until he was 10.

     Following the youth league stint, Patton jumped into travel ball, playing for a number of programs. This past summer, he was a member of the Louisville Baseball Club as well as few outings with the Louisville Vipers.

     This fall, Patton and his Bullitt East teammates are playing Fall Ball games at Derby City Field, which is where Spalding plays its home games.

     At Spalding, Patton is planning to major in either business or human resources.

     After winning 67 games the past two seasons, but not reaching a regional final, Patton and his teammates have big hopes for the 2014 spring season.

     “I just want to be the best shape I can be in,” Patton said. “There is still a lot of stuff that I need to work on.”

     Patton concentrates on baseball as he has played no other sport while at Bullitt East.

     Besides his Bullitt East coaches, Patton has also worked with pitching coach Joe Newton who works out of Elizabethtown.

     Bullitt East baseball coach Jeff Bowles likes the fact that Patton got he college recruiting process out of the way early.

     “It’s very early, but I like it,” the coach said. “It is good to get this out of the way. He won’t worry about who is in the stands with a clipboard and a radar gun. He can focus on his senior year.”

     As a junior, Patton was second on the Chargers in innings pitched with 48 innings as he posted a 7-1 record. He finished with a 1.76 earned run average. Patton faced 195 batters and those batters had only a .187 batting average against him.

     At the plate, Patton batted .310 in 97 plate appearances. He had 22 hits with 20 runs driven in. He scored 20 times.

     “He is just going to get stronger,” Bowles said of the senior. “He understands the position. You don’t know about college but he could be at first base or in the outfield (when he is not pitching). He has the opportunity to be on the field early for them.”