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The boys of ... fall

Autumn baseball keeps Placer High’s squad sharp
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The pop of baseballs smacking cowhide and the ping of aluminum bats squaring up hardballs went silent the last two autumns in Auburn. Placer High’s fall ball baseball team is back in action this fall, looking to lay the groundwork for a big spring on the diamond in 2012. The fall program lost traction before Placer junior varsity coach Eddie Vanderdoes took the reins this year. The Placer team has 17 players, a combination of returning varsity and junior varsity players along with some raw freshmen. The Hillmen face Colfax, Bear River and Del Oro in regular games that run through October. The league isn’t about competition, as much as keeping the players sharp. “A lot of it is the season,” Vanderdoes said. “To go from June to February without playing isn’t realistic. This keeps them involved. We won’t have to re-teach them when the season starts in the spring.” Vanderdoes, who is assisted by Placer grad Alton Caesar and Tony Madrigal, has gotten a good feel for the talent coming up in the program and he likes what he’s seen. Seniors Kevin Harcus, Zack Hersch, Kyle Wells, Ryan Mason and Michael Reale lead the way. Freshman Luis Burrola and sophomore Chip Mitchell have been standouts among the younger players. Junior Kodiak Gregerson is happy to have the fall session. The pitcher said it’s kept him active and involved in the sport he loves. “Last year the guys who weren’t playing football, we just sat around,” Gregerson said. “Now we’re trying to get better, working hard.” The coach said one of the biggest keys to having players out in the fall is conditioning for their young arms. “We go over the core stuff — arm care is one of the biggest things,” said Vanderdoes, whose son Eddie IV is a football and baseball star at Placer. “A lot of the incoming freshman have no clue about how to care for their arms when they’re not in season.” Placer will be in action on Thursday against Bear River at James Field. The game begins at 4 p.m.