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Jace Peterson. (American Press Archives)

Jace Peterson. (American Press Archives)

Peterson ready for next step in journey to big leagues

Last Modified: Saturday, July 13, 2013 12:42 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

Baseball never allows you to rest on your laurels. There’s not enough time between games to do that.

So even though Jace Peterson appreciates the hardware he took home for his torrid month of June — he was recently named the San Diego Padres minor league hitter and baserunner of the month, and the California League Player of the Month — his mind is fixed on getting back on track in July.

“It’s definitely a recognition of the work you put in through offseason and the season. It makes you want to push more,” Peterson said. “I want to make it up to San Diego and I’ll do what I have to do ‘til I get there.”

Peterson, a Hamilton Christian Academy graduate who played baseball and football at McNeese State, is in his third season dedicated fully to baseball after being drafted by the Padres in 2011. He has spent this season with the Lake Elsinore Storm in the High Class-A California League.

Things took off for Peterson in June, as he hit .389 with 19 walks, 25 runs, a 1.097 on-base plus slugging percentage and 12 steals on 12 attempts.

“It started clicking at the end of May,” Peterson said. “All of June seemed like two days. I just was in a zone. I can’t explain it, and before you know it a month went by. Fortunately for me, it was a great month.”

Peterson said he’s been locked a few times before, but never for such a duration.

“Those things happen 2-3 times a year. You have to ride it out as long as you can,” he said. “Last year I was locked in a couple times. This was the longest.”

Peterson’s red-hot June has given way to a July that most would find frustrating. In 10 games he’s 2-for-32.

But since he’s still making contact, Peterson isn’t panicking.

“You can’t too high and you can’t get too low,” Peterson said. “When it’s going good, keep relaxed. When it’s bad, you get tested. You just have to take every day as a new day.”

He’s drawn more walks (five) than strikeouts (four), and one of those two hits was a homer. He’s also added two more steals to his total.

“You have to come to the park with the mentality it’s a new day and help your team win,” Peterson said. “Even if you have no hits, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something positive. I try to play fundamental defense and make sure I have good at-bats.”

While Peterson enjoys his current stop in the minors — he’s a fan of the Storm’s unique “staring eyes” cap — he hopes to reach the next step in his journey towards the big leagues by the end of the year.

“Double-A (San Antonio) is definitely somewhere I want to be, but I can’t control where I’m at,” Peterson said. “I’m just gonna control what I can control. All I’m worried about is right now.”

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