Patterson Commits to Red Wolves

Coach Tommy Raffo does not expect to add many players to the Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball team for 2015 because of a small class graduating. But he already has one in the fold for that class.

Cabot pitcher/catcher Zachary Patterson (6-foot, 190 pounds) has already made a pledge to join the Red Wolves.

"It was right after school got out,'' said Patterson. "We came up for a visit, went to a ball game. For a couple of weeks I talked with coach Raffo through e-mail. We came up for another visit, toured the campus. And they offered me. That was it.

"I really like the baseball program itself, everything about it. I like the coaching staff, really liked coach Raffo and the school, it is a very good school. I am very interested in the athletic training program and that sort of career path. ASU provides that. It has a really good athletic training program."

Patterson has made a late move to the mound and was a recent participant in the Xtra Innings Classic in Jonesboro.

"Growing up I was always a catcher,'' he said. " I only started pitching because I could throw hard. I would get up there and it would be there sometimes and some times it wouldn't.

" As I have gotten older I have learned to pitch more. That is how I have gotten the look so pitching is probably going to be the way it goes.

"I always pitched but before I was just a catcher who could throw hard. The last couple of years I have learned to pitch."

Patterson plays with the Rawlings Prospects out of Sherwood in the summer. ASU signees Tyler Zuber and Bryan Ayers are also part of the Prospects program.

For the Cabot Panthers, Patterson earned All-Conference and All-State Tournament honors.

"I am predominately fastball. I am a fastball, curve ball, change-up guy. My change-up is kinda a work in progress, It is getting better. It is coming along. I'm fastball and curveball mainly. I use the fastball to get a ahead."

Raffo and his staff like fastball pitchers because of the big dimensions of Kell Field. "This is a big ballpark, definitely a pitchers ball park."

Patterson said he usually is around 85 to 88 miles per hour but has hit 89 a couple of times. He said schools showing interest were Arkansas, Northwestern (La.) State, UALR. and some junior colleges.

"ASU has kinda been the place I wanted to go to school. and the right baseball program,'' he said. "When the opportunity presented itself I just thought that was the right thing to do."

Former college coach and Little Rock Central coach Ronnie Goodwin takes over the Cabot program and has worked with Patterson in recent years.

"We were fortunate this year that we did not have to face him any because he was a little banged up,'' he said. "But I was aware of him from having worked with him when in private lessons.

"He is an outstanding young man who has a great head on his shoulders. He is a great competitor. I think there is a lot of upside there.

"I think Arkansas State is getting a good one. I think they were smart to jump out there and grab him. He is set to have a big senior year and I think a lot of schools will be disappointed they did not get on him earlier."

Patterson is the Red Wolves' first commitment for the next signing class.