By Ray Hamill — The drive to recruit as many local players as possible is paying dividends for College of the Redwoods baseball.
This week, the Corsairs added two more H-DNL standouts with Fortuna’s Cody Sauers and Arcata’s Alex Gorge both signing letters of commitment to play for the local community college.
And head coach Andrew Aiello believes both players will be well equipped to succeed at the collegiate level, in large part because of the high school programs they are coming from.
“(Former Fortuna coach) Andy Olsen and (Arcata’s) Troy Ghisetti are both great head coaches, so getting guys from those programs is good for us,” he said. “We know they’ll be taught a lot of good things before they get to us.”
Both players also bring some versatility to the roster, with Gorge likely to see time behind the plate and around the infield and Sauers expected to play at the corners of the infield as well as on the mound.
“The first thing you notice about Cody is he’s a big kid for his age,” Aiello said. “He’ll pitch a little for us and he has the potential to drive in a lot of runs for us. He has the chance to do some damage when he’s up there.”
Gorge could have followed his older brother Jaden to Shasta College but chose to stay close to home when CR assistant coach Kokko Figueiredo reached out.
“Kokko initiated the whole thing,” Aiello said. “We’re making a push to keep local guys here.”
Gorge comes from a baseball rich family, with father Mark also playing for the Humboldt Crabs.
“He’s a solid baseball player,” Aiello said of Alex. “He’s a utility guy. We know he can play behind the dish, but we also know he can play other positions.
“And he has a baseball family. He knows how to work and he’s got a good baseball IQ.”
The coaches expect to have all of their local freshmen back next year, a group that includes Eureka’s Conner Johnson and Alexander Sorensen, Fortuna’s Regan Nyberg and Joey Quen and Arcata’s Mason Nichols, the latter four of whom have been impressing this summer with the Humboldt Eagles 19Us.
McKinleyville’s Logan Maher also recently committed to play at CR, and with at least a couple of more players expected to sign as soon as next week, it gives the coaches a sizable local contingent on the roster for 2023, something they have been pushing toward.
“We’re excited for these guys to stay at home and play in front of family and friends,” the head coach said.
The local players bring a lot of versatility to the lineup, something the coaches have also been pushing for.
“We’ve got a few of them and that’s a good thing,” Aiello said of the versatile players. “You want guys that have some athletic ability. It’s a long season and injuries pop up, so you’ve got to have depth at a lot of positions without overcrowding any of them.”
The coach is also happy to have Nichols back after he displayed his power at the plate this past spring.
“He did a really good job as a true freshman,” the coach said. “He’s got a very high ceiling.”