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Duck flying north

Ace pitcher Jacob Corn signs with Oregon

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Duck flying north

Jacob Corn puts pen to paper with father Frank looking over the shoulder at the Manteca High library Wednesday. Corn signed his letter of intent to play baseball for Oregon.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 14, 2013 1:40 a.m.

The dream is to get drafted high by a major league team next June.

Manteca High senior Jacob Corn has a decent fallback option in case that doesn’t pan out.

The 6-foot-3 lefty made good on his year-long commitment to the University of Oregon on Wednesday, the NCAA’s first day of the early signing period. Corn will receive an athletic scholarship that covers the majority of tuition costs.

“When I visited last year I just felt at home,” said Corn, who listed Cal State Fullerton and Sacramento among the programs that were interested. “They gave me a chance to explore the campus and I had never seen anything like it. The reason I committed so early was that they were willing to give me the highest scholarship. I also feel that it’s the best place to get me up to the next level.”

Oregon’s rise as an established NCAA Division I powerhouse has been brisk under head coach George Horton, who helped revive the university’s baseball program in 2008. Among his first recruits was former East Union High standout Ryan Fleckenstein.

The Ducks set a school record in 2012 with 48 wins. Their season ended in the NCAA Eugene Regional, when they were ranked ninth in the nation. Six Oregon players were selected in the first-year amateur baseball draft, and three of them came off the board within the first 10 rounds.

“I knew it was one of the best programs in the country,” Corn said. “Plus, I have always wanted to play in the Pac-12, and Oregon gave me an opportunity to do that.”

Corn knows he will have to battle for work as a true freshman. Last year, three Ducks were named to Louisville Slugger’s Freshman All-American Team, and nine current freshmen are part of one of the nation’s top recruiting classes according to Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

“You always gotta compete,” Corn said. “That’s what can help me get to that next level. I accept that challenge.”

The two-time all-Valley Oak League first-team pitcher has a 14-3 record with a 1.30 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 113 innings through two full varsity seasons with Manteca. Corn hopes that he can lead the Buffaloes to VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section championships that have eluded them in recent years.

So what if he is enticed by a big-league organization in the summer? He would have a very big decision to make. Until then, he is focused on academics and, of course, “getting a championship” for Manteca.

“It would be nice to go out with one,” Corn said.

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