Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ex-Butler Standout Is Driven Nick Patten Focused on Future in Baseball

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ex-Butler Standout Is Driven Nick Patten Focused on Future in Baseball

Article excerpt

Nick Patten could have been a 1,000-point scorer for the Butler High School basketball team.

Instead, for every basketball point, he moved a mile south and then some. More or less 1,100 miles to Bradenton, Fla., to attend IMG Academy his senior year of high school in pursuit of his dream - playing professional baseball. He became a single-sport athlete at IMG living in an environment similar to a college campus. IMG boasts 88 Division I baseball commits since 2012, per its website.

"I knew at the end of the day to play at the level to play I've always dreamed of, it would be in baseball," Patten said.

Now a rising junior at the University of Delaware, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound infielder is another step closer to that feat. He was named a freshman All-American his first year as a Blue Hen after batting .285 with a team-high 12 home runs, 46 RBIs, 28 extra-base hits and a slugging percentage of .565. Patten's sophomore year, he started 57 games, batting .312, and led the team with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. A power hitter, Patten had 25 extra-base hits as a sophomore.

He has spent this summer playing for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League, a popular summer league for some of the nation's top college players, with a .257 batting average with three home runs and 15 RBIs. Named the Cape Cod player of the week his first week as an Angler, Patten has spent his time in the league honing in on his swing and his approach in the batter's box.

If you ask his former high school basketball coach, though, his statistics aren't what's most impressive. Butler basketball coach Matt Clement, who coached Patten in basketball his sophomore and junior year, said taking the risk of leaving for another school his senior year was a sign of maturity.

Clement was drafted out of high school in 1993 and played in the San Diego Padres' minor leagues for five years before getting called up in 1998. He spent two years with the Padres before shuffling to other teams, finally sidelined by an arm injury, and now acts as a sounding board for Patten, offering baseball advice.

"The part of his story that gets lost in the shuffle is how hard it is to do what he had to do," Clement said. …

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