By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Former Clovis High baseball standout Jason Seefeld will ply his trade closer to home this year.
The 2004 CHS graduate spent last season as a part-time designated hitter at the University of Arizona, but has transferred to Texas Tech.
Seefeld, who hit .316 in 57 at-bats at Arizona last spring, feels he’ll have a better chance to earn a starting infield position at Tech.
“I had a decent year last year, but I wanted to play infield again and it looked like I’d have a better chance to do that (at Tech),” said Seefeld, Clovis’ regular shortstop his last three years in high school. “There wasn’t an opening at Arizona.”
He is immediately eligible because of the NCAA’s “one-time-transfer” rule, which means he doesn’t have to sit out as long as he transfers outside the conference. Arizona (39-21, 17-7 Pac-10) finished second in the Pac-10 last spring and reached the regional round of the NCAA playoffs, losing at Cal State-Fullerton 2-1 in a best-of-three series.
Tech coach Larry Hays, a Dora native and Eastern New Mexico University graduate, said he recruited Seefeld out of high school.
“He’s certainly in our mix,” said Hays, whose team was 34-25 a year ago but struggled to an eighth-place finish (9-16) in the 10-team Big 12. “His glove has been outstanding (in fall practices and scrimmages). We could put him in any spot in the infield.”
Seefeld’s postseason experience at Arizona is a plus, Hays said.
“We don’t have very many experienced players,” he said. “We only have three or four seniors who’ve gone through that.”
Seefeld, who worked as a relief pitcher in his final two seasons at Clovis, pitched one inning at Arizona. He said he missed being on the mound.
Hays said Seefeld with also get a look at reliever.
“After seeing him in our fall Red-Black Series, it looked like he had good mound presence,” Hays said.
Hays, in his 19th year at Tech, said Seefeld will have to compete for playing time, noting there are several other infielders with similar abilities on the team.
“A lot of where he ends up depends on what other people can and cannot do,” he said.
Seefeld said he has mixed feelings about leaving Arizona, but added the decision had more to do with baseball than with things such as playing closer to home.
“I enjoyed my time (at Arizona) and the experience, but I’m really enjoying Texas Tech,” he said. “It’s a good situation for me. I’m enjoying going to school here and being around the area that I grew up in.”