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PADECKY: Bear Cubs wearing their baseball grit with pride

  • Ryan Xepoleas singles in the 7th inning. Santa Rosa Junior College
    beat Solano on Friday, May 10, 2013. (John Burgess/The Press
    Democrat)

Players on SRJC's baseball team compare bruises. They compare the size, the depth, the ugliness, when a pitched ball hits their flesh. Most junior college men will take out a photos of their girlfriends from their wallet to show a bud. An SRJC baseball player will roll up his sleeve, reveal that oh-so-attractive black-and-blue skin color and say, "Ain't she a beauty?"

And: "This is MY bruise and you can't have it."

"We say it either hits us or we hit it," said outfielder Ryan Xepoleas, who comes across as a veritable philosopher-king when it comes to talking about getting hit by a pitch.

"We wear the pitch," Xepoleas said. The Bear Cubs wear the pitch proudly, 110 times they have been hit in 41 games. SRJC is playing for the state championship this weekend at Fresno City College and how SRJC got there has so little to do with the kind of offense we see every night on ESPN's baseball highlights. The Bear Cubs hit only five homers all season.

"You have to dig a little deeper to see how we win," said SRJC head coach Damon Neidlinger.


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