Baseball Player of the Year: Pasteur is 'two players in one'

Teams facing Winters Mill this season knew they likely were about to face a strong, dominant pitcher. They also had to figure out a way to retire a potent hitter in the heart of the Falcons' lineup.

The pitcher was a hard-throwing right-hander that didn't make mistakes often. He located his pitches and had the velocity on his fastball to blow it past hitters.

The hitter typically always made contact and demonstrated the power to drive the ball deep into the gap for extra bases. He came through with runners in scoring position, driving in runs when Winters Mill most needed it.

Now, they're both headed to Indiana University in the fall to continue playing at the Division I level. And both players, are Isaiah Pasteur.

"Our recruiting philosophy is we want great arms and great athletes. The beautiful part about Isaiah is that he's both," Hoosiers coach Tracy Smith said. "We're excited about the flexibility and the ability to kind of get two players in one."

But before heading to Bloomington to play for the reigning Big 10 Conference champions, Pasteur had a standout season for the Falcons, excelling as both a pitcher and a hitter en route to being named Times Baseball Player of the Year.

However, it was long before that when Pasteur decided he was going to continue his baseball career at Indiana.

It was the winter of Pasteur's sophomore year at Winters Mill that he went to the Southern Maryland Baseball Camp run by Jerry Wargo at the Diamond Pro's Baseball Facility in Glen Arm.

"He decided to go at the last minute," said George Pasteur, Isaiah's father.

Participating in that camp proved beneficial. Smith helps run the camp as he said Wargo's son once played for the Hoosiers. At the time, Pasteur wasn't being too heavily recruited. But Smith soon extended Pasteur an offer.

"I loved the tools," Smith said. "[I] fell in love with what I thought was a player that had a bright future."

And after Pasteur visited Indiana, he said he knew playing there was the right choice.

"I really connected with the coach and some of the players I got to meet," Pasteur said. "I started watching them on TV and the past two years they've been doing pretty well in the Big 10 conference, so I was pretty excited with how great of a program it was."

More recently, the Hoosiers weren't the only team that had interest in Pasteur. With the Major League Baseball Draft coming soon, Pasteur said he has heard from several teams including the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, and Seattle Mariners and even thrown for several big-league team representatives.

George Pasteur said his son is leaning toward college regardless, but the experience has been a "humbling" one.

"Playing baseball at the professional level is always a dream but you have to know when the right time is to make that happen," Pasteur's father said.

Despite having already made his college choice and working out for professional teams, Pasteur still went out and performed in his final year for Winters Mill. He went 3-1 with a 2.29 ERA and led the county with 44 strikeouts on the mound.

Then, he hit .483 with a county-best 25 RBIs and nine doubles. But most important to the Falcons' senior was team success.

Pasteur helped WM win a program-record 12 games, finishing second in the county, and beating rival Westminster for the first time.

"He's one of those guys you could count on at the plate and you could count on on the pitcher's mound," Falcons coach Jason Green said. "He just did a phenomenal job. We knew when he came in that he had a lot of the tools needed to be a good baseball player."

Pasteur said that was because he learned the fundamentals at a young age. He began playing baseball for Westminster Optimist Little League in third grade when he was eight.

"I always thought I had a good base, especially with Coach Jim Rodriguez," Pasteur said. "He helped me a lot with the fundamentals and I just built on those with the help of all my coaches. And I saw improvement correlating with the hard work."

It was that same year that Pasteur pitched for the first time. He said Rodriguez noted he had a good arm and asked him if he was interested in pitching.

And after years of pitching in Little League, recreational leagues, and high school, Pasteur is now an accomplished pitcher. Pasteur said the most important thing about becoming a strong pitcher was the mental aspect.

"When I was young, it was a pretty difficult time. Sometimes you wouldn't have defense behind you or they'd start hitting the ball and you'd get a little frustrated," Pasteur said. "It wasn't as much the physical ability, it was the mental state and just staying focused on just doing my job."

Now, Pasteur is playing for the Maryland Monarchs this summer, the same club team he played for last year. And because Pasteur has already shown he can be a dominant pitcher and hitter, he wants to work on another dimension of his game — fielding.

"I was always a decent fielder but these past couple years with the Monarchs, I've had thousands and thousands of reps so I've really gotten better," Pasteur said.

And then, both Pasteur the pitcher and Pasteur the position player will try to continue to improve at the next level.

"As every player goes off to college, they're going to get more specialized coaching," Green said. "It's going to be fun just to see what other things he can incorporate into his game and how great of a baseball player he can really become."