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Pernetti signs with Chico State
Jimbo Pernetii - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Jimbo Pernetii has decided to play baseball at Chico State.

The 2013 Ceres High grad earned a partial scholarship to the Division-II school following a productive two-year career with Merced College.

Pernetti signed with the Blue Devils on June 28.

Several Division-I colleges recruited Jimbo, including UC Davis, Longwood University (Virginia) and Hawaii Pacific University.

"Chico State gave me a pretty good deal," he said. "I really like the school and coaches. They have one of the top Division-II programs in the country. Plus, the field is more of a hitter's park. I feel it's the best fit for me. I'd like to win a National Championship. It would be pretty cool to get a ring."

A standout hitter and infielder, Jimbo put up impressive offensive numbers while guiding tradition-rich Merced College to a 23-15 overall record, NorCal Regional playoff berth and runner-up finish in the Central Valley Conference (16-8) this past spring.

"As a team, we could have done better," Jimbo said. "We made playoffs. Individually, I hit pretty well. But I could have done better."

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

"This year, I had more confidence," said Pernetti, who hit .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. "The game slowed down for me."

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

"I was seeing the ball well," Pernetti said. "My confidence was really high."

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.

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

Pernetti earned recognition despite being sidelined for two weeks with a back injury.

"I didn't think I'd get recognized like that," he said. "I threw out my back against Reedley. I took a swing and heard a pop. I ran to first base, got to second and when I got to third all my back muscles locked up. I hunched over. The trainer helped me get off the field. I could hardly move for five days. I had trouble getting out of bed. It was tough watching my team play without me. I couldn't be out there to produce."

Jimbo 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.

Pernetti was voted WAC MVP his junior year.

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

"When you get on the baseball field, you don't have to worry about anything," said Pernetti, who will major in Political Science and pursue a law degree. "You get to have fun for a couple hours. It's stress free."

Jimbo played baseball for his father Jim at the youth level.

Mother Toni was also very supportive. She made sure Jimbo kept his grades up.

"There was extra pressure," Jimbo said. "But you have an advantage when your dad's a coach because you're expected to do more. I wanted to do well so I could impress him. I want to make him proud."

"We're pretty proud of him," Jim said. "He's a good kid. He doesn't cuss or drink. He's everything I should have been. He's not just a good athlete. He's a great person. I'm hard on my kids but they know I love them."

Jimbo hopes to play professional baseball someday.

When asked about the possibility of being selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, Pernetti said: "That's motivation. But I try not to put pressure on myself. It's a blessing to be playing still because a lot of kids don't get the opportunity. Baseball and school are all I have to focus on. I'm lucky."