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Getting Vaq in the game

Once burned out on baseball, Chris Stroh is making the most of his second chance at GCC

April 07, 2012|By Charles Rich
  • Chris Stroh is having another strong season for the Glendale Community College baseball team.
Chris Stroh is having another strong season for the Glendale… (Tim Berger, Los…)

For nearly four years, Chris Stroh rarely bothered to pick up a baseball.

Having played baseball for many seasons, including starring at Crescenta Valley High, Stroh had become "burned out" and wanted to head in another direction. Stroh opted to focus on earning a bachelor's degree in international business at Long Beach State.

Walking from one classroom to another, Stroh realized that his passion for baseball still tugged at his heartstrings and he wondered during that stretch of inactivity if he would ever leave the door open to possibly play the sport that he grew up thriving in. What, for example, would it be like to face live pitching, run from first to third on a well-placed single to the outfield or make a perfect throw to a cut-off man to nab a runner trying to score?

Stroh had to be honest with himself, knowing he would have to relearn certain aspects of the game and do so in a hurry if he was going to revive his career.

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While the odds might have been against him making the powerful Long Beach State program known for churning out Major League Baseball All-Stars such as Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria and Jered Weaver, Stroh had another idea and texted Glendale Community College Coach Chris Cicuto about trying out for the Vaqueros. It was a decision Stroh is glad he made.

"I didn't play any baseball from the summer of 2006 until the summer of 2010 and I felt like I was on autopilot," said Stroh, who graduated from Crescenta Valley in 2006. "I asked myself what I should be best off doing and I thought for a while that I didn't have any baseball left in me.

"I contacted Coach Cicuto about the chance to come to Glendale and I took a chance in trying out. If it didn't work, then at least I gave it my best shot. I wanted to put the path in front of me and just try my best."

Stroh, a left fielder, became the quintessential player the Vaqueros were searching for entering their historic 2011 season. It took some to time to make the proper adjustments, but Stroh, who is dual enrolled at Glendale college and Long Beach State, found a way for things to click. Batting ninth in the lineup, Stroh batted .261 and was 25 out of 26 in stolen-base attempts en route to earning All-Western State second-team accolades.

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