Jimmy Pasquale, a rising senior at Holy Spirit High School, has committed to play baseball at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

Pasquale, who batted .295 with 22 hits, three home runs and 16 RBIs during his junior year with the Spartans, plays first base.

“It was many things,” Pasquale said about his reasons on choosing the university and its NCAA Division I program. “One of the things that stood out the most for me was the coach.”

Over the summer, Iona hired Paul Panik as the school’s sixth head coach. Previously, Panik served as the Gaels’ hitting coach and was an assistant coach for the University of Albany for the 2018 season.

“He’s a great guy, great coach and great baseball mind. He was one of the first college coaches that saw me play,” Pasquale said of Panik. “The campus was beautiful, and the field was all turf as well. I really liked the looks and cosmetic side of things as well as the weight room and all the other amenities that come with a Division I program like Iona.”

This year, Iona went 25-26 (14-10 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).

Pasquale said he also considered New Jersey Institute of Technology, Lafayette College, the University of Richmond and McDaniel College.

Pasquale, of Galloway Township, was a key part of this year’s Spartans team that went 17-9 and reached the semifinals of the South Jersey Non-Public B tournament.

Jason Downey was an assistant coach at Spirit for Pasquale’s first two scholastic seasons and took over as head coach this year.

“He’s the ultimate team player with great leadership qualities,” Downey said. “From a coaching standpoint, he’s the guy you look to to get a pulse for where the team is at. He’s a big physical kid with a good glove and good feet at first base.

“He’s the example of what we want in our Holy Spirit programs, and he embodies those qualities.”

Pasquale said he looks forward to his senior year at Spirit.

“I’m happy to be at the top of the ladder as a senior, but I’m going to miss being a Holy Spirit Spartan. This year, I feel like we know what we need to work on as a team. I think with more experience under everyone’s belt we can something big this (coming) year.”

He also said he wanted to thank Mike Lahoud, who coaches the travel team for which Pasquale plays. “He was the major reason I committed to Iona,” he said.

Pasquale also expressed thanks to Mike Adams and Ed Charlton, who operate the Baseball Performance Center in Pleasantville.

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