CR coaches pushing for more local recruits in multiple sports

Photo by Erik Fraser – McKinleyville’s Logan Maher will play both baseball and football at CR next year.

By Ray Hamill — College of the Redwoods baseball head coach Andrew Aiello is determined to bring on as many local players as he possibly can.

Now in his second full year in charge of the team, Aiello stressed the team’s commitment to local recruiting this week after McKinleyville senior Logan Maher signed his letter of commitment to play baseball and football at the local community college.

“We’re trying to get all the local guys we can,” Aiello said. “We want all the local kids to be a part of our community at CR.”

Aiello has been hitting the recruiting trail hard along with assistant coaches Brian Bareto and Kokko Figueiredo, getting out to as many games as they could this spring in the midst of their own season.

New CR football head coach Jason White also has been stressing local recruiting, with the Corsairs set to return to the field this fall for the first time in three years.

An increased emphasis on local recruiting was one of the mandates for bringing the team back after the program was suspended in the summer of 2020, and it’s worked so far with close to 40 former H-DNL football players having already committed to play at the local community college.

Some local high school athletes will always want to move out of the area for college for various reasons, but many would be happy to play for CR if coaches make the effort to make them feel wanted, and that’s something White has clearly done, showing up at more high school games than Humboldt Sports this past fall.

Maher signed his letter of commitment along with fellow Panther Connor Berg, who will play football for the Corsairs, and both admitted they hadn’t really considered CR before the coaches approached them.

“Coach White showed up at practice one day and came and talked to us, and it seemed like he was very intuitive and knew what he was talking about,” Berg said. “And he showed up at some games and kept in contact with me.”

Likewise with Maher, who will play two sports at CR, although he had only intended on playing football until Aiello talked to him.

“He asked what were my plans. And I told him I was going to play football at CR, and he asked if I wanted to play baseball too,” Maher said.

The push for additional local recruits also has paid dividends for the CR track and field team, with head coach Reed Elmore piecing together one of the most successful teams in the program’s history and doing so with many H-DNL athletes.

The recent success of high school baseball teams like Arcata and St. Bernard’s at the NCS level, as well as that of the local American Legion summer programs, suggests there is a sizable potential pool of local talent in the sport for CR.

And Aiello appears determined to take full advantage of that.

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