Crouch to don gold, green of Hornets in ’09
Third player from YC champs to go to Division 1 university
With a 4.3 grade point average and a future major of civil engineering, Aaron Crouch still has one thing on his mind — baseball.
It's been 12 years in the making, but just before the beginning of his final season at Yuba City High, the senior took a major step on Thursday.
Crouch joined current Yuba City teammate Justin Lamb by signing a letter of intent to play baseball with Sacramento State in front of teammates, family members and coaches at Honker Gym.
The center fielder became the third of three Yuba City High baseball players to sign with a Division I school from the 2007 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship team.
Pitcher Brock Stassi is playing forthe Un versity of Nevada, Reno this spring.
"He's a quiet leader," said Yuba City coach Jim Stassi of Crouch. "He's not a vocal rah-rah guy. He leads by example."
A partial scholarship to play at Sacramento State was just the first task completed on a lengthy to-do list.
"This has been a goal of mine for some time," Crouch said to the small crowd. "But this is just the first of many."
Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Aaberg reasserted that it is about more than baseball.
"There's no one who typifies a scholar-athlete like Aaron," Aaberg said.
For a kid who does his homework in class, spends endless hours in the weight room and finished with a batting average just over .350 last season, it is Crouch's impact on the younger players of which coach Stassi is most proud.
"He works his butt off in the weight room," said Stassi. "He's the ultimate teammate as far as a role model for the younger guys."
And it was the words of Stassi that kept Crouch motivated during his first three seasons.
While Crouch first thanked his parents for all his support, he also spoke of his coach in closing.
"When I got here coach Stassi spoke a lot about preparation and I took those words to heart," Crouch said. "He's an awesome coach. He always keeps us focused at the task at hand and he's fun to be around."
Now that signings are out of the way, Stassi, along with Lamb and Crouch, can focus on this season.
"We should be good," Lamb said about the Honkers' chances to repeat as champions. "We're so prepared, we're ready."
Stassi expects Crouch to be a major player this season.
"He's going to anchor the top of our lineup," the 16-year coach said. "I expect big things from Aaron this year."
Crouch is up to the challenge.
"I don't want to look too far ahead, but I think we're strong enough to repeat," Crouch said.