By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
As he prepares for his final season of college baseball, 2004 Clovis High grad Jason Seefeld is hoping he’s finally found a position.
Primarily a shortstop and relief pitcher with the Wildcats, Seefeld was used mainly as part of a designated hitter platoon as a freshman at the University of Arizona, hitting above .300 that season in just over 50 at-bats. He transferred to Texas Tech the next year, and in two seasons has played all over the infield.
Just before the 2007 season started, veteran Red Raiders coach Larry Hays moved Seefeld to the bullpen to try to help shore up a thin staff. That didn’t work out too well, Seefeld admitted.
“It kind of took me some time to adjust,” he said. “In high school, I’d just throw one or two innings, but I was kind of learning on the job (at the Division I level).”
Early in their Big 12 schedule, Hays called on Seefeld to fill in at second base for an injured player, and he handled it well.
Then, in the Red Raiders’ last series of the season May 18-20 at Oklahoma, Seefeld played third base. That looks like his position for 2008.
“Third base is probably where he should’ve been all year long,” Hays said. “He did a good job (at second), but of all the infield spots, that’s probably the toughest one for him to play.”
Seefeld finished the season with a .289 batting average (28-for-97), with three doubles, one homer and 15 RBIs in 32 games, including 28 starts. He went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI in the Raiders’ season-ending 15-5 win over Oklahoma.
That result gave Hays his 20th consecutive winning season (28-27) in 21 years at Tech and his 37th winning mark in 39 years of college coaching overall, the first 18 at Lubbock Christian.
“We started out well,” Seefeld said. “Even in the Big 12, we started off pretty decent.”
Pitching woes were primarily responsible for the Raiders’ worst showing in Big 12 play (8-18). That was the main reason Seefeld got a look out of the bullpen.
“If we’d had a closer, we’d have been a lot better off,” Hays said. “I think we had nine games we lost where we were ahead in the eighth inning.”
Seefeld, a right-handed hitter, has always been able to hit lefties well but has been doing better against right-handers, Hays said.
“I thought he showed a lot of improvement this year against right-handers,” he said. “At this level, you’ve got to learn how to handle that slider.”
Seefeld left this weekend for Wichita Falls, where he will play in the Texas Collegiate League this summer, He said he’s hopeful he can get a shot at a pro career.