Mark Jebbia was excited about playing at Westmont College, an NAIA Division III school. The Star-News All-Area infielder played summer ball to hone his skills, so good that schools came calling.
Jebbia drew interest from UC Santa Barbara, USC and Long Island University, all Division I schools that came calling late in the process. Jebbia, who helped the Minutemen to a CIF-SS Division 5 championship two years ago and the quarterfinals last season, was an undiscovered gem at this point. He batted .442 with 34 hits, 20 RBIs, five doubles, three triples and a home run last season and also recorded 16 stolen bases.
In the end, UCSB made perfect sense.
“I had a really good summer,” Jebbia said. “I got a couple schools looking at me from the Division I level and got a couple offers. I wasn’t on scholarship at Westmont so I felt like I had a better opportunity. I had submitted my housing (forms to Westmont) because i had to do that back in February, but I had not enrolled though.
“Long Island gave me an offer and USC didn’t have any money this late in the process but they showed strong interest. I took a tour there, and they really wanted me to come there but in the end UCSB was the right fit for me.”
Jebbia will join former St. Francis star AJ Burglund at UCSB, whom Jebbia says he knows “on the acquaintance level.”
That Jebbia now gets to play Division I ball was a pleasant surprise.
“I totally had no idea,” he said. “I was excited to go to Westmont. I was trying to stay sharp in the summer and then a couple schools came calling. They said they were interested and looking for another guy. So I prayed about it, thought it over and the rest is history.”
Jebbia, a shortstop and pitcher at Maranatha, said they want him to play third and first and a little bit in the outfield.
As for Westmont’s reaction…
“I think they had a normal reaction,” Jebbia said. “I think every coach wants to have the best team they can possibly have. I think he was disappointed they weren’t going to get to have me, but i think most people would understand why i made the decision.
“I just have to do what’s best for myself going forward, even trying to get to the next level at the major league level. I want to do what’s best for my future. UCSB was a far better fit than Westmont and was a far better fit than the other schools that contacted me as well.”