Truman grad Josh Patrick looks to go to next level

Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner
Josh Patrick, a Truman High School graduate, gets one of his many hits for the Legends in the Ban Johnson League this summer. Patrick was second in the league in batting average this summer in preparation for his second season at Crowder College.

Josh Patrick could be a few months away from picking up Division I offers on a daily basis.

The former Truman High School standout is heading back for his second season at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., and is coming off a scorching performance in the Ban Johnson League this summer.

Playing for the Ban Johnson Legends, Patrick hit .393, was on base half of his at-bats and his 1.057 OPS (on base-plus slugging percentage) ranked seventh in the summer collegiate league.

His summer coach, Cary Lundy, knew his team was getting a good batter but didn’t know how good initially.

Patrick had multiple hits in five of the first six games. Had it not been for a late swoon at the plate in the final two weeks of the season, he would’ve had a higher batting average. Patrick had an average of .400 or higher after 17 games for a team that went 15-6 – the second best record in the league.

“We were told he is a very good left-handed hitter and he really is,” said Lundy, who also is head coach at Park University. “He came up big for us in several situations and he was very consistent at swinging the bat at the top of our order. We probably wouldn’t have been where we were if it wasn’t for the offense he provided us.”

Patrick, who was generally penciled into the No. 2 spot in the order, had 24 hits, five doubles, a triple, a home run, 18 RBIs – third best in the league – and drew 12 walks to give him an on-base percentage of .500.

“Just like any other summer, I’m just trying to get at-bats and get ground ball work in to prepare for the fall,” said Patrick, who chose Crowder College over State Fair Community College out of high school. “Fall is that development time for us at Crowder.”

The guidance of his hitting coach at Crowder College, Nick Doughty, helped land Patrick in the Ban Johnson League this summer. Doughty, a Raytown High School graduate, used to play in the league and made a call to Legends assistant coach Adam Clay.

Crowder had quite a few Kansas City-area players in the Ban Johnson League. Rod Criss (Staley) played for the Ban Johnson Raiders, who had the most wins of any team in the league and he led the league in batting average at .415 – just ahead of Patrick. Chandler Ashby (Park Hill) and Frankie Circello (Staley) played for the Creche Innovation Stars, while Chris Liggett (Blue Springs) started for Regal Plastics.

“It was fun seeing them,” Patrick said of playing against his current college teammates. “I think the guys had the same mentality, preparing for fall ball. I think we were just trying to get at-bats or innings in.”

Patrick, who played first base, second base and third base for the Legends, has his attention focused solely on fall baseball at Crowder. That is generally the time when sophomores will get offers from Division I schools. Over the past five years, the Roughriders have sent 33 players to Division I schools and six more were drafted or signed professional contracts out of the junior college.

“I can see why Crowder loves him at their school,” Lundy said. “I think he has aspirations to play big-time baseball at D-I and with his left-handed bat – and everyone is looking for left-handed sticks – I think he will have that opportunity.”

Patrick started in 25 of Crowder’s 26 games this spring and posted a .325 batting average, while hitting seven home runs, driving in 32 runs, scoring 37 runs and drawing 18 walks. He had a .455 on-base percentage.

His seven home runs tied for 11th best in NJCAA and his .735 OPS was 61st nationally. Crowder was 23-3 and ranked No. 2 in the country when the season ended in early March.

The former all-state player for Truman hasn’t put much thought on what he will do if he gets an offer this fall. He earned an extra year of eligibility from the NJCAA after the remainder of this season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, so he could spend two more years in Neosho if he chooses. It is likely his bat will change that course and his trajectory could land him in a Power 5 conference next year.

“I know Lally (Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand) will help get me to the next level,” Patrick said. “I trust him. I know he will do what is right for me and I want to make a decision on what we come up with.”