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Pernetti enjoys individual, team success with Wildcats
Jimbo Pernetti - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Jimbo Pernetti shared his thoughts on his final at-bat as a member of the Chico State baseball team.

There was a sense of finality before the 2013 Ceres High grad grounded out to second base during the top-seeded Wildcats' 14-2 season-ending loss to fifth-seeded California Baptist in the NCAA Division-II West Regional Championship Tournament on May 19 at Azusa Pacific.

"I was teary-eyed going up there knowing it was over," Pernetti said. "All the memories popped up. I had mixed emotions. I was upset and sad. But I was proud of what we did during the season."

Pernetti and Chico State accomplished a lot during the 2017 campaign.

Jimbo's play on the field and dedication in the classroom earned him special recognition.

A standout first baseman, Pernetti was selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Gold Glove Team.

He was the top Division-II defender at his position.

Pernetti had a fielding percentage of .998, committing just one error in 441 chances.

"It's one of the best honors I've received that's for sure," he said. "It's really cool because it's a national thing."

Jimbo earned CCAA honorable-mention accolades as well.

He posted a batting average of .289 with seven homers, one triple, 13 doubles, 43 RBIs, 30 runs and six stolen bases in 52 games.

Pernetti received CCAA All-Academic honors for the second time.

"I had high expectations for myself," he said. "I thought I had a decent year. Not great by any means. I didn't hit as well as I wanted to. I played great defense."

Chico State (45-11, 34-4) posted the best winning percentage in the history of the CCAA while capturing the conference's regular-season and tournament titles for the first time since 2000.

The Wildcats defeated UC San Diego 12-5 in the winner-take-all CCAA Tournament championship game at the Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton on May 13. Pernetti collected one homer, one double, one single, two RBIs and three runs.

Chico State set new program records for fielding percentage (.983), stolen bases (111) and sacrifice hits ((82).

The Wildcats' .804 winning percentage and 45 wins rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in team history.

Chico State also amassed a near-perfect 25-1 record at home.

The Wildcats finished eighth in the NCAA Division-II rankings.

"The whole year was a lot of fun, especially with all the wins we had," Pernetti said. "We worked hard all season. We all got along really well. It's one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had. It's something I'll remember forever. Regular-season wise, we're definitely up there (as one of Chico State's all-time greatest baseball teams). We're at the top of the list."

Chico State's season came to an abrupt end at the West Regional.

The heavily-favored Wildcats went 0-2.

Chico State never recovered after dropping its first game, 8-7, to sixth-seeded Cal Poly Pomona on May 18. Jimbo singled and knocked in two runs.

Pernetti batted 2-for-4 with one home run, two RBIs and one run during his final game with the Wildcats. His two-run homer cut the deficit to 12-2 in the seventh inning.

"We were supposed to host a Regional but couldn't because our school hosted graduation at the same time," Jimbo said. "It would have been a pretty big advantage playing at home. It was heartbreaking losing. We didn't expect to go out that way. We had really high hopes."

Pernetti earned a partial scholarship to Chico State following a productive two-year career with Merced College.

Jimbo put up impressive offensive numbers while guiding the tradition-rich Blue Devils to a 23-15 overall record, NorCal Regional playoff berth and runner-up finish in the Central Valley Conference (16-8) in 2015.

Pernetti batted .643 (18-for-28) with two homers, two triples, two doubles, 10 RBIs and 11 runs during a historic 10-day stretch at the plate.

He tied a program record for hits in a single game when he finished 6-for-6 with one triple, one double, four singles, three RBIs and three runs in a 19-4 victory over West Hills Coalinga.

Jimbo batted .378 with three homers, two triples, seven doubles, 28 RBIs and 32 runs in 32 total games.

Pernetti was voted to the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA) All-Northern California Team.

He earned first-team, all-Central Valley Conference honors.

He was also a CCCBCA Academic All-State selection. He had a cumulative grade-point average of 3.67.

Pernetti led Ceres High to a 20-7-1 overall record, Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoff berth and second-placing showing in the Western Athletic Conference (10-2) in 2013. Jimbo was named to the WAC First Team.

He was voted WAC MVP his junior year.

Jimbo garnered first-team, all-league recognition as a sophomore.

Pernetti's baseball career spanned 17 years.

"My parents were very supportive," he said. "If I needed anything for baseball, they made sure I got it. They sacrificed a lot. They even put a batting cage in our backyard."

Jimbo will graduate from Chico State next spring.

"I'd like to keep playing but I also want to make sure I get my degree," said Pernetti, an Exercise Physiology major. "If this is it, I got a lot of life lesson out of it (baseball). I made a ton of friends. Career-wise, I've been looking at physical therapy and law schools."

Josh Pernetti, Jimbo's younger sibling, will be a sophomore at Ceres High during the 2017-18 school year.

Promoted to Ceres High's varsity baseball team for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs, Josh batted .500 with one single and one run in two games.

"Now, it's time for my brother to shine," Jimbo said. "I'm working with him."