Palladino plans to attend Upstate, passes on MLB
Story originally published in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, reprinted with permission
By Todd Shanesy
Published: Friday, July 1, 2011
Big news for USC Upstate baseball.
Six-foot-9, 240-pound left-handed pitcher David Palladino, a 13th round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school in New Jersey, said Thursday he will come to Spartanburg and pass up the high dollars offered to play professionally.
"I told the Dodgers no," Palladino said. "I'll be at USC Upstate."
He became a highly sought after player at Emerson High School, firing mid-90s fastballs on his way to a 10-1 record and a 1.08 ERA. In 72 innings, he struck out 131 batters. Palladino, who led the state in pitching during his senior season, had three no-hitters, two one-hitters and a couple of two-hitters.
"We're very hopeful that he will have a substantial impact," USC Upstate head coach Matt Fincher said. "You can't put too much pressure on a freshman coming in. But if the Dodgers thought highly enough to draft him in the 13th round, he definitely has some ability."
Palladino was also a force at the plate. He hit .494 as a senior with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.
He said it has been a difficult decision since draft day earlier this month, but the value of his education and the comfort level he felt on the USC Upstate campus were overwhelming factors.
"I wrote out pros and cons on a sheet of paper with my parents," Palladino said. "I thought about what would be best for me. It came down to getting a college education and getting years of experience. I had thoughts of taking the money and going pro. But at the same time, I was thinking, 'If I went pro, where would I be in three or four years?' I decided to go to college."
Palladino said he wants to graduate from USC Upstate before again entertaining the possibility of turning professional.
"Absolutely," he said. "That's what I want to do."
Spartans assistant coach Grant Rembert, a former standout player at Elon University, was the one who developed a relationship and convinced Palladino to come to Spartanburg.
"I liked him and Coach Fincher a lot," Palladino said. "I appreciated the hard work they put into everything. And when I came to visit, I really loved it. It just fit me. People were so nice."
Palladino has until Aug. 15 to sign with the Dodgers. Fincher won't celebrate too much before then.
"I've been around this game a long time. I know there are a lot of things that can happen between now and Aug. 15," Fincher said. "I'm going to sit around and keep my fingers crossed for the duration of the summer. I take David at his word. There is no reason for me not to. But I also recognize that if they make him an offer he cannot turn down, I will understand that."