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YC's Lamb signs with Sac State
Third baseman hit .315 as junior
Refreshments, a spirited gathering of supporters and a flourish of congratulations punctuated a ceremony in which Yuba City High senior Justin Lamb declared Friday he will play baseball at Sacramento State next year.
Among flesh pressing and back slapping, however, Yuba City coach Jim Stassi offered one minor objection to a wall poster.
Even when Lamb trades in his current brown and gold uniform for the Hornets’ green and gold, Stassi insisted, Lamb will always be a Honker.
Lamb is part of a smaller fraternity of Honkers, as well, one of eight in Stassi’s two-decade-long reign to go directly to a Division I program.
“He has a passion for the game. It is something hard to explain,” Stassi said. “You see it in certain players. You see it in their work ethic. ... And Justin has a passion for baseball.”
Like many young boys, Lamb grew up wanting to be a baseball player.
Now he knows that dream will continue into college.
“This has been my goal my whole life, to play at the next level,” Lamb said.
Lamb had a solid, if not spectacular junior year for the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III champion Honkers last spring.
He hit .315 with one home run, seven doubles and 17 RBIs as he transitioned from being a primary catcher to being the everyday third baseman.
Stassi said Lamb’s ability to play both positions and an explosive summer and fall league performance caught the eye of the Sacramento State coaching staff.
Lamb hit .450 with three home runs, two triples, 18 doubles and 30 RBIs over 55 games in the two off-season leagues.
“He’s a four-tool player. He hits for average, with power, has a strong throwing arm,” said Stassi, adding Lamb has become a very good fielding third baseman as well.
“His ony drawback is he is not the fastest kid in the world, but that doesn’t matter as much on the corners,” Stassi said.
Lamb said he fell in love with the Sacramento State program early on, and really didn’t consider any other schools even though some people advised him to wait and see what else might be out there.
Staying close to home also was important as evident by Lamb’s humble speech thanking his family, friends, teammates and coaches for the opportunity he has in front of him.
Lamb left it up to others to say he deserved this chance.
Stassi compared him to a “gym rat” in basketball.
“He is a cage rat,” Stassi said. “He has worn out the batting cage.”
Stassi said the early signing shows just how much respect Sacramento State has for Lamb.
“This is a big deal,” Stassi said. “The early signing period is for the elite players,” Stassi said today at a ceremony where Lamb signed his letter of intent. “(Universities) want to lock up the elite players as soon as possible.”
Now that he has signed, Lamb said the pressure is off and he can concentrate on, what else, playing baseball this spring.
“And win another Section title,” Lamb said.