Isaiah Pasteur wants to play professional baseball one day.
And if he achieves his dream, Pasteur’s journey of getting there will likely be a story to tell.
“It’s really been a roller-coaster ride,” he said.
Pasteur graduated from Winters Mill in 2014 after finishing a standout high school career, one that ended with him being named Times Player of the Year and a Division I scholarship in tow. He left Westminster for Bloomington, Indiana, and a spot on Indiana University’s baseball team.
Pasteur earned all-Big Ten Conference Freshman Team honors in 2015 after playing 51 games and collecting 30 hits, 22 runs, and 20 RBIs. His follow-up year didn’t go quite as smoothly — he hit .192 with no homers and 14 RBIs in 48 games — and all the while Pasteur dealt with a coaching change with the Hoosiers.
Terry Smith, who guided IU for nine seasons and led the team to three NCAA tournaments and a berth in the College World Series — the coach who recruited Pasteur — left in 2014 to take the same position at Arizona State.
Smith headed for the desert a few weeks after Pasteur graduated high school.
His stay with the Hoosiers didn’t feel right after two years, Pasteur said, so he came back toward the East Coast and landed at George Washington to play for coach Gregg Ritchie. Pasteur sat out last season per the NCAA’s transfer rules.
“Sophomore year just wasn’t the year I wanted to have,” Pasteur said. “And I thought the best way for me to get better as a player was to leave there, come see Coach Ritchie here at GW. I thought that was my best bet for getting better and looking forward onto pro ball.”
Pasteur hasn’t shown many signs of rust this spring.
The senior middle infielder and pitcher for the Colonials earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors last week. George Washington swept La Salle in its opening series of A-10 play.
Pasteur batted .333 (4-for-12) with six runs, three home runs, five RBIs, two walks, and a double. One of his homers was an inside-the-park special.
“That was all the motivation in the world for me,” Pasteur said. “More to prove it to myself than anyone else.”
Pasteur posted a slugging percentage of 1.167 and an on-base percentage of .429. On the mound, he earned a save with 4 innings of one-run relief and one strikeout.
He has started in all 24 games for the Colonials (13-11) and has a .278 average with six homers, a club high, and 15 RBIs. As a pitcher he has a 1.86 ERA in four appearances (one start).
“I feel great. I feel like I haven’t missed a step,” Pasteur said. “There’s still some stuff that I’m working on, honestly, but I think it’s a great step forward and in the right direction of where I want to be.”
Pasteur spent last summer playing for the Loudoun Riverdogs in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, and he crafted an All-Star season — Pasteur hit .308 with eight doubles, four triples, and 15 RBIs, and finished third in the league with 20 stolen bases.
That experience helped Pasteur find his playing form again, and Ritchie said he knew what George Washington had inherited from Indiana.
“We got exactly what we expected to get, which was a very talented and versatile player,” said Ritchie, who is in his sixth year as Colonials coach. “Has he exceeded expectations? No. He hasn’t reached his ceiling. He’s really developing himself, is what he’s doing here.
“This is just the very tip of the iceberg of his raw talent.”
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Ritchie raves about Pasteur’s skill level, and said the “fire in his gut” is infectious for the Colonials’ competitiveness. Switching programs midway through one’s college career might be seen as risky, but Pasteur said he used the reset to make a statement.