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(photo by Photo Courtesy Lake Elsinore Storm)

LAKE ELSINORE — The legend of Cody Decker keeps growing.

Since his days playing baseball for Santa Monica High School, Decker has been the inspiration behind a few local legends. The chief one among them are the stories of his titanic blasts at Samohi’s home field, home runs that keep getting longer by the retelling of the story.

“No, I never hit it over the gym,” Decker said of one of the tales. “The story can keep getting more and more ridiculous. It’s fun being part of local lore.”

His days at Santa Monica High school, and later UCLA, gave him a start toward baseball stardom, yet it’s his play for San Diego Padres minor league affiliates that has him on the rise in the organization.

Since being drafted in the 22nd round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, the first baseman has steadily shown teams that bypassed him that he belongs in pro ball.

Shortly after the draft, Decker was assigned to the Padres’ rookie ball affiliate where he won Arizona League Player of the Year and was named a Topps Short-Season All-Star. From there, he was promoted to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a single-A affiliate. He only appeared in seven games for Fort Wayne, but his overall season led to his promotion to Lake Elsinore, the Padres’ highest level single-A team.

This season has treated him well so far as he’s amassed 15 home runs and 64 RBIs. His home run total has him tied for third in the California League. The Lake Elsinore Storm, with the help of Decker, was the South Division winner of the first half, securing a spot in the playoffs.

The Storm has struggled to begin the second half going 4-7, but Decker likes the look of his team.

“We’re good at pretty much everything,” Decker said. “The pitching is dynamite on this team and the hitting has been there all season.”

Aside from his success on the field, it’s his proximity to Santa Monica that has made this season extra special. He said that Lake Elsinore’s relative short distance from his hometown gives friends and family a chance to come and see him play.

“It’s kind of cool,” he said. “The other day I was playing at home and I had a friend who I haven’t seen in eight months come out to the ballpark.”

daniela@smdp.com

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