Scottsbluff’s Paul Panduro didn’t have to go far when looking for a college. Plus it wasn’t a hard decision between baseball or football either.
Panduro signed to continue his playing days at Western Nebraska Community College after signing to play baseball with the Cougars Monday evening.
“Over the years I got to know coach Mike Jones and he really helped me get better over the years,” the Scottsbluff senior said. “I like the environment at WNCC. I like the school. I like that it is close to home. I am excited to be a Cougar now.”
Pandura just finished his final season on the football team where the Bearcats fell to York in the semifinals. While football was a love for him, it is baseball that his heart lies.
“Baseball was always number one over anything else I do,” Panduro said. “I just love the sport. I am just lucky to get this chance to go to WNCC and keep the line going of Zephyrs coming here. I am ready for this. I am ready for college and all that.”
Panduro will be a pitcher for the Cougars and WNCC coach Mike Jones said he will get better as a pitcher. Jones said what stands out about Panduro is his competitive nature.
“Paul brings a lot to the table with his all-around ability. He is a good player and he has a lot of potential as a college pitcher for sure,” Jones said. “His arm action is really good. The velocity is coming around a lot and he has developed a curve ball the past two years as well as a change-up.
“The one thing that is special about Paul is the way he competes. Paul will compete in anything he will do, whether it is baseball, football, I am sure a board game or a video game. Whatever it is with Paul, he will compete really hard. We love having guys like that. We are going to point Paul in the right direction and I think Paul will be unstoppable. We expect big things out of him.”
Last year for the Zephyrs, Panduro appeared in nine games and finished with a 2-1 record with a 3.098 earned run average. He 17 strikeouts and allowed just 11 runs.
At the plate, Panduro hit .239 with 13 runs scored and six RBIs in just 46 at bats.
At the college level, it is the mound that former Zephyr coach Mark Moran said he will be successful at.
“I echo what Coach Jones said,” Moran said. “Paul has a really good fastball. He has to develop his secondary pitches a little better. The best thing about Paul is how he competes and how tough he is and how bad he wants it. That is what makes him different from most players.
Moran sees Panduro having a successful stint in college baseball.
“I don’t know what will stop him from having a good college career,” he said. “He has enough velocity now and that will keep getting better stronger and once he gets better with those secondary pitches. He should be a big contributor for the Cougars.”
Panduro, who is planning on majoring in criminal justice at WNCC, has one more year at the American Legion level. Panduro said his goal is to win an Area 7 title.
Panduro said his baseball success goes to several people.
“I just want to thank everyone in my family, my mom and my dad because I wouldn’t be here without them. They provided me everything I needed for baseball,” he said. “I just want to thank Coach Benson over there, Coach Moran in getting ready for this.”