Patterson’s path brings him to Niles

NILES – Steven Patterson followed in his father’s footsteps as an athlete at the University of California-Davis.

Fred Patterson was a football player for the Aggies. Steven starred on the baseball diamond.

“I played football all through high school and started at linebacker,” Steven said. “I wanted to play sports at the Division I college level no matter what. But no D-I program is going to want a 5-foot-9, 190-pound middle linebacker on their team.

“I figured baseball was my ticket and it’s taken me pretty far.”

From Stockton, Calif. to Niles to be exact.

A 10th-round pick of the Indians in this year’s first-year player draft, Patterson signed three days after he was selected and was assigned to Mahoning Valley the next week.

The quick turnaround of college graduation, signing a professional contract and flying across the country wasn’t all that big of a deal for the 21-year old.

“I’m kind of used to it all,” Patterson said. “I’ve always traveled somewhere else out of state during the summers to play baseball, so I was aware of the demands and the normal type of preparation it takes to play or practice. I’ve been used to it all since before I was drafted for pro ball.”

The biggest difference from California to Ohio is obvious, though.

“The weather,” Patterson said, laughing. “That takes some time to adjust. Ohio weather is still a lot different than California – even in the summer.”

Patterson’s bat has been heating up in his short time with the Scrappers.

He currently leads the team with a .375 batting average, .444 on-base percentage and .625 slugging percentage. Patterson has five doubles (also a team high), one home run and six RBIs in 36 plate appearances through eight games.

“It’s all about getting used to the grind everyday,” Patterson said. “I’m excited to come to the ballpark everyday ready to work.”

Patterson began his college career at San Joaquin Delta College and was named a California Community College Baseball Coaches Association All-American after the 2012 season. He boasted a .380 batting average with 11 doubles, six homeruns and 33 RBIs, which he calls the best stats he had ever put up in a season.

It was after that campaign he earned the coveted Division I chance, as well as visions of playing in the Major Leagues.

“I knew my name was floating around with some professional organizations,” Patterson said. “My coach started talking to me and let me know that I had an opportunity to play past college. I took that to heart and put the work in so I could be able to make it to the next level.”

Now, he is riding a three-game hitting streak in the New York-Penn League and is 4 for 10 in at-bats over that span. The Scrappers open a five-game home stand tonight with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Batavia.

“The goal now is to keep up the streak I’ve been going with, hitting the ball hard and getting on base,” Patterson said. “That’s my game. I’m not going to hit 15-20 home runs; I’m more of a get on base and hit the ball to the gaps and score runs kind of guy.

“I hope to stay consistent and keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks for the next couple of months.”