Jonathan Pasillas making most of last chance

West Virginia Miners designated hitter Jonathan Pasillas reacts after hitting a double against Lafayette Sunday at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley. Going into Wednesday, Pasillas was sixth in the Prospect League with a .471 batting average and led the league with six doubles.Brad Davis/ The Register-Herald

Jonathan Pasillas had such a good time playing for the West Virginia Miners last summer that it was his goal to come back to Beckley this summer. When the opportunity to sign a temporary contract arose, he jumped at the chance.

As of Tuesday, the temporary tag is gone.

With a couple of players not reporting, Miners manager Mike Syrett rewarded Pasillas with a full-time spot on the roster.

“I found out (Tuesday) before the game,” Pasillas said, referring to the Miners’ 11-7 loss to Champion City. “I couldn’t believe it was happening. That was the ultimate reason for coming here. I got a call from Syrett (before the season) and I told him I had a blast here last year and told him I wanted to come back out at any opportunity. For it to work out the way I wanted is amazing.”

Pasillas’ stay was only expected to last a few weeks. Miners fans are undoubtedly happy he’s sticking around.

The Missouri Baptist product has been West Virginia’s top hitter in a disappointing 0-5 start. Through Tuesday he was sixth in the Prospect League with a .471 batting average, and a league-leading six of his eight hits are doubles.

He hit his first home run of the season Tuesday, giving him seven extra-base hits for a slugging percentage of 1.000, tied for second in the league.

He was also fifth with a 1.550 OPS.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Pasillas said of his early output. “I’m just playing the game. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity, whether we’re in Beckley or whatever stadium we’re playing in.” 

“I think it would be silly of me to send him home at this point,” Syrett said, smiling. “He loved it here last year so he wanted to come back. I got him back here and he’s performed really well. I’m really happy for him, I’m really proud of him and I’m glad to have him for the rest of the summer.”

Pasillas said he isn’t frustrated by the team’s winless start. He knows it’s early, and he has witnessed the opposite end of the spectrum. Last year, the Miners started 18-4 before losing 16 of their next 19 and never recovered.

“We know who we are. We have some young guys with physical ability,” Pasillas said. “All it takes is one little thing to click and get rolling. As long as we don’t fall into not facing the adversity, just keep fighting, we’ll figure it out.

“Last summer was different. We were one of the league’s hottest teams, then out of nowhere we had a complete nosedive. That’s the reason I’m not worried. I was on a team that was extremely hot get extremely cold real fast.”

Pasillas, who hit .234 with four homers and 13 doubles last summer, brings versatility. He is listed as a catcher but has yet to play behind the plate. He played third base Tuesday and even pitched a perfect inning of relief in a loss to Lafayette on Sunday.

“I love the experience. Like (Syrett) said, this is the closest some people will get to playing professional baseball,” Pasillas said. “It is a privilege to get to play in a league like this.

“I love playing in the stadiums we play in. Some fans are more rah-rah than others. Being in Beckley, to be here with all the kids and the parents, they are so nice. They are always rooting for you, no matter what the score is.”

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