When it comes to baseball, Chad Jacobsen is on the path back to home.
The 2004 Dakota Ridge graduate parlayed his selection as Division II player of the year at the University of South Carolina-Aiken into getting selected June 6 by the Colorado Rockies in the 18th round of the MLB draft.
Jacobsen’s diamond days began in Littleton, then went to Sterling’s Northeastern Junior College before he made his mark in the Peach Belt Conference.
Now he’ll report to Coors Field very soon to sign his contract and will try to return to LoDo one day in uniform if he can graduate from possible minor league stops with the Casper Ghosts, Asheville Tourists, Tulsa Drillers or Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
“It’s just a dream come true, really,” Jacobsen said. “It’s a lot of fun. I’ve been waiting a long time to get my chance at pro ball.”
Jacobsen’s summer job of coaching local 17-year-olds will have to wait.
It’s been kind of a surreal trip for the 6-foot-1, 210-pound first baseman, who broke nine single-season records this past season with the Pacers.
Jacobsen tried out for the Rockies three days before the draft and said he thought his subpar performance might have ruined his shot at getting drafted. But the call came that the Rockies were taking him with their 18th pick, 557th overall.
A more balanced approach at the plate is what Jacobsen credits for his breakout season. He changed his swing, getting rid of a late leg kick and bat wrap.
Jacobsen credited the Pacers’ strong senior class with guiding the team, as well as his focus at the plate.
“I just kind of expected to get two hits every day, and I got used to it,” he said. “If I had three hits, that was good. If I had two or one, that wasn’t a good day.”
Jacobsen became the Pacers’ all-time leader in career slugging percentage (.710) and broke the school and conference mark with 108 hits. He hit .439 on the season with 21 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs, 80 RBI and 81 runs scored.
The Pacers went 47-17 on the season and were 18-9 in the Peach Belt Conference.
“The guys really stepped up and we took it upon ourselves that we were going to have a great year,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen was voted a first team All-American by Daktronics, the National College Baseball Writers Association and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
He said the pro scouts picked up on his trail about midway through the season and often came in groups. He also credited Pacers assistant coach Mark Conner for using his connections within the Rockies organization.