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Wed, Feb. 26

Spenser Earl takes baseball Coast to Coast

Spenser Earl, the starting third baseman for the Mingus baseball team, is heading to Puerto Rico. Earl has been chosen by the Coast to Coast Baseball organization to be part of a team that will compete from June 17-23 and help represent his country on the diamond.

Earl accepted this opportunity to practice and play with some of the top players from around the country and be coached by professional baseball players. Earl, while trying out for the college of his choice, Mt. Vernon in Ohio, was spotted by one of Coast to Coast's scouts and invited to play without trying out for the team.

Coast to Coast is based out of Ohio, Earl's future residence come the fall semester at college. Earl has known since October that he was a part of the USA Coast to Coast team and considers it an honor. Often the caliber of player that is invited to compete on a Coast to Coast team go on to sign with powerhouse universities and/or play professional ball.

"Through its diverse program offerings, the organization succeeds in meeting its goal of providing young amateurs with a taste of what it is like to play the game at its highest levels. With a combination of excellent coaching, outstanding competition and unparalleled education, Coast to Coast Baseball prepares the nation's top amateur players for success at the collegiate and professional level," reads an excerpt from the invitation letter received by Earl.

During the trip, Earl will be taught the education of college recruiting, off-season conditioning techniques as well as strength training and the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and steroids. They are designed as open forums in which the player's and parent's questions are encouraged.

The age group of the players competing in Puerto Rico on the team are between 16-18. The week will be peppered with instruction, workouts, games and site seeing so that the players can get a glimpse of Puerto Rico and the stiff competition on the diamond.

After this adventure, Earl will begin at Mt. Vernon, a Nazarene University in Ohio. His hard work over the years with travel teams and high school teams is beginning to pay off.

Earl has been playing on travel baseball teams since he was 11. He has played year-round ball and has played in Colorado and New Mexico. His travel team coach Brad Grauberger had nothing but great things to say about Earl's work ethic, skill and the ability to learn.

Grauberger has know Earl since junior high school. Earl has played for Grauberger over the summer for the past few years on the Arizona Prep Zone - N.A. Astros., which is solely a summer traveling team, but play most of their games at Yavapai College. It is an intense schedule, the team plays about 28 games in 30 days against teams from the Four Corner's area.

"It is a high level of competition," said Grauberger. "Spenser does extra after practice. He has matured hitting-wise. He has played since his sophomore year on the team. He is a good defensive third baseman."

Earl also earned high props from Grauberger on his hitting. Earl helped lead the Mingus Union High School baseball team to a third place finish in the state.

"It doesn't take him long to adjust to better pitching," said Grauberger. "The travel team uses wood bats. It's a challenge to be a good hitter with a wood bat, and Earl has become a good hitter ... Spenser has been a super kid the last three years.  I have to tell you, I was surprised to read that Spenser did not receive any post-season honors.  It really is unfortunate, but things like that happen occasionally.  Honestly, he probably is the best all-around player that myself and regional scouts have noticed from that area.  He'll perform well in college...he has all the mechanical tools."

So, even though the school year is at an end, Earl's baseball career is just beginning. First with a trip to Puerto Rico to see some of the best players do what they love. Then Earl will head off to College, where he will get a great education as well as continue to hone his skills on the field.

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