Fastballing from CBU to minor leagues

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Jeremy Smith -- Lancers pitcher patrick Smith signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league team.
Jeremy Smith — Lancers pitcher patrick Smith signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league team.

After pitching one year for California Baptist University, Patrick Smith signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in June.

Patrick Smith began with the bat at age five, starting with t-ball. Although the love for the sport sparked early, Smith didn’t think about how far it would take him in life.

“As a kid I didn’t really think about (college ball) that much. I always would watch Dodger and Angel games and thought it was cool and how I wanted to do that some day,” Smith said. “When I got into high school, I really wanted to do college baseball because I saw it was the necessary step to make it to the big leagues.”

Before he got the opportunity to sign with the Diamondbacks, Smith paid his dues during his time as a Lancer. He had an ERA of 3.11 during the regular season and a strong postseason, which earned him the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association World Series MVP.

“This entire last year was a great experience,” Smith said. “We went through everything imaginable a team could go through — from having a teammate pass away, to winning the Christian College World Series. It was quite a year. There was no better moment than being able to dog pile in Ohio after that final out when we knew we were College World Series champions.”

According to the MLB First- Year Player Draft Rules, there are three basic categories of draft eligibility, which are high school players, college players and junior college players. This makes for a wide-range of competition, and the need for motivation and support is great.

“Coach Adcock was the biggest influence on me. He and the entire coaching staff really changed the way I played the game and my work ethic,” Smith said. “They taught me to take it day-by-day and approach the game one step at a time instead of looking at the big picture.”

Smith relied on his faith to guide his path to the minor leagues.

“Prior to CBU I went to junior college, and while I was there I had a rough time and questioned my ability whether or not God wanted me to go in that direction,”

Smith said. “God provided the opportunity for me to play at CBU and advanced my opportunity to play in the professional circuit. Being here, I now know this is what he wants to do in my life.”

Despite his talent, the draft process is always a nail-biting process for all athletes. Draft picks can change at any moment, and there are times top prospects are not drafted at all.

“My drafting process was definitely different, prior to the draft, a lot of teams were telling me I was going in the top-15 or top-20 rounds. When I didn’t go in the draft at all I was incredibly disappointed,” Smith said. “Well, the same day the draft ended I got a call from the Diamondbacks.”

For Smith, it is about much more than making it to the big leagues. He is excited for the road to the big leagues, and the people he can meet along the way.

“As long as I give my career everything I have, even if I come up short of the big leagues, it will be OK,” Smith said. Experiencing the journey to the big leagues is the coolest thing about being in the professional baseball circuit. I know that this is what God has called me to do, so I just take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride.”

Although he has yet to graduate from CBU, Smith is no longer eligible to play baseball because of his contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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