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Four-year starter ends Leo career

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After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May./ photo by Christopher Guzman

After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Elsie Ramos
Staff Writer

Since the age of 4, there is nothing Jon-Michael Hatta­baugh has wanted to do more than play the game of baseball, and after a 19-year career, the senior is ready to graduate and is excited to see will come next.

“It’s been a good four years,” Hattabaugh said. “Part of me is ready to move on and start my life, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet.”

Hattabaugh is not quite ready to let go of the game, as he is thinking about trying out for Major League teams during the summer if he is not drafted.

Continuing with baseball is something not only his family supports, but he is also getting encouragement from University of La Verne head coach Scott Winterburn.

“He’s getting better right now, as we speak,” Winterburn said. “If he gets his foot in the door he’ll be fine.”

However five years ago playing professional baseball or even college baseball seemed impossible for Hattabaugh.

During his senior year at Bishop Amat High School in Covina, while pitching in front of Division I schools such as Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, Hattabaugh suffered a spiral fracture in the humerus of his pitching arm.

“I didn’t think I was going to play again,” Hatta­baugh said. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Your career is over and I can’t believe that just happened.’”

Hattabaugh said that coming back too soon from an appendectomy earlier that season did not help his new injury.

With a devastating injury to his arm, Division I schools were not willing to take a chance on Hattabaugh and they decided not to recruit him.

Instead of moping around thinking that his life was over, Hattabaugh decided to take a year off and refocused on getting his arm healthy enough to pitch again.

“Taking a year off really helped,” Hattabaugh said. “People always say going through things builds character, and it really does.”

When he felt ready enough to start playing again, La Verne began the recruiting process in an unconventional way by head coach Winterburn.

“I drove through the In-N-Out, where he was working, and I asked him, ‘Are you going to play for me or not?’” Winterburn said.

Hattabaugh said that he is thankful for what the university and Winterburn have given to him.

“In 25 years of baseball, he’s the most natural, all-around leader I have ever had,” Winterburn said. “I’m going to measure future leaders against him.”

“He’s a great leader,” teammate David Contreras said. “He can light a fire in these guys. When he talks everyone’s quiet and they listen.”

However, Hattabaugh said that he wants to be remembered by more than what he did on the baseball field.

“[I don’t want to be remembered] by my stats because who’s going to remember that one home run I hit,” Hattabaugh said.

“I want people to remember that I was a good person. I try to present myself as more than a baseball player and I want them to remember the relationships we had,” Hattabaugh added.

One of the closest relationships Hattabaugh had was with fellow senior catcher Mike Surina.

“We didn’t get along at first,” Hattabaugh said. “Now he’s one of my best friends. He always tells me, ‘Don’t worry man, in 50 years we’re going to be sitting on a porch somewhere asking our wives for more beer.’”

Even though going to a Division I school would have opened up many more opportunities for Hattabaugh, he said that going to the University of La Verne turned out to be a great experience.

“Going D-I didn’t work out, but in the long run it did,” Hattabaugh said.

“I wouldn’t trade a D-I for the people or things I’ve experienced here,” he added.

“By far the coolest thing I’ve experienced here is when we won the [SCIAC] championship my sophomore year,” Hatta­baugh said. “That will forever be engrained in my mind.”

Hattabaugh is graduating with a degree in sociology and is considering applying to graduate schools in the fall.

Even if he does not know exactly what is in store for him, Hattabaugh is excited to see what his future holds.

“I just want to be successful in whatever I do,” Hattabaugh said.

“Whether it’s going to graduate school or playing baseball. Either way it’s going to be good.”

Elsie Ramos can be reached at elsie.ramos@laverne.edu.

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14 May, 2010 @ 8:03Current Revision
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[caption id="attachment_3184" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May. / photo by Christopher Guzman"]<strong> <em><strong><em><a href="http:// laverne.edu/campus-times/ files/2010/05/ 100511_7108_ CT_CJG.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-3184" src="http://laverne.edu/ campus-times/ files/2010/05/ 100511_7108_CT_ CJG-500x421.jpg" alt="After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May./ photo by Christopher Guzman" width="500" height="421" /></a></em></ strong></em>< /strong>[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3184" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May. / photo by Christopher Guzman"]<strong> <em><strong><em><a href="http:// laverne.edu/campus-times/ files/2010/05/ 100511_7108_ CT_CJG.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-3184" src="http://laverne.edu/ campus-times/ files/2010/05/ 100511_7108_CT_ CJG-500x421.jpg" alt="After nearly 19 years of baseball, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh finds himself at a crossroads in his playing career. He finishes his four year run with the Leopards as the school leader in career doubles with 49 and ranks in the top five in home runs and runs batted in. Hattabaugh realizes it will be difficult to get drafted out of a Division III school, even with his big numbers, but he looks forward to trying out this summer. Hattabaugh will graduate with a sociology degree in May./ photo by Christopher Guzman" width="500" height="421" /></a></em></ strong></em>< /strong>[/caption]
<strong><em>Elsie Ramos <strong><em>Elsie Ramos
Staff Writer </em></strong> Staff Writer </em></strong>
Since the age of 4, there is nothing Jon-Michael Hatta­baugh has wanted to do more than play the game of baseball, and after a 19-year career, the senior is ready to graduate and is excited to see will come next. Since the age of 4, there is nothing Jon-Michael Hatta­baugh has wanted to do more than play the game of baseball, and after a 19-year career, the senior is ready to graduate and is excited to see will come next.
“It’s been a good four years,” Hattabaugh said. “Part of me is ready to move on and start my life, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet.” “It’s been a good four years,” Hattabaugh said. “Part of me is ready to move on and start my life, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet.”
Hattabaugh is not quite ready to let go of the game, as he is thinking about trying out for Major League teams during the summer if he is not drafted. Hattabaugh is not quite ready to let go of the game, as he is thinking about trying out for Major League teams during the summer if he is not drafted.
Continuing with baseball is something not only his family supports, but he is also getting encouragement from University of La Verne head coach Scott Winterburn. Continuing with baseball is something not only his family supports, but he is also getting encouragement from University of La Verne head coach Scott Winterburn.
“He’s getting better right now, as we speak,” Winterburn said. “If he gets his foot in the door he’ll be fine.” “He’s getting better right now, as we speak,” Winterburn said. “If he gets his foot in the door he’ll be fine.”
However five years ago playing professional baseball or even college baseball seemed impossible for Hattabaugh. However five years ago playing professional baseball or even college baseball seemed impossible for Hattabaugh.
During his senior year at Bishop Amat High School in Covina, while pitching in front of Division I schools such as Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, Hattabaugh suffered a spiral fracture in the humerus of his pitching arm. During his senior year at Bishop Amat High School in Covina, while pitching in front of Division I schools such as Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, Hattabaugh suffered a spiral fracture in the humerus of his pitching arm.
“I didn’t think I was going to play again,” Hatta­baugh said. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Your career is over and I can’t believe that just happened.’” “I didn’t think I was going to play again,” Hatta­baugh said. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Your career is over and I can’t believe that just happened.’”
Hattabaugh said that coming back too soon from an appendectomy earlier that season did not help his new injury. Hattabaugh said that coming back too soon from an appendectomy earlier that season did not help his new injury.
With a devastating injury to his arm, Division I schools were not willing to take a chance on Hattabaugh and they decided not to recruit him. With a devastating injury to his arm, Division I schools were not willing to take a chance on Hattabaugh and they decided not to recruit him.
Instead of moping around thinking that his life was over, Hattabaugh decided to take a year off and refocused on getting his arm healthy enough to pitch again. Instead of moping around thinking that his life was over, Hattabaugh decided to take a year off and refocused on getting his arm healthy enough to pitch again.
“Taking a year off really helped,” Hattabaugh said. “People always say going through things builds character, and it really does.” “Taking a year off really helped,” Hattabaugh said. “People always say going through things builds character, and it really does.”
When he felt ready enough to start playing again, La Verne began the recruiting process in an unconventional way by head coach Winterburn. When he felt ready enough to start playing again, La Verne began the recruiting process in an unconventional way by head coach Winterburn.
“I drove through the In-N-Out, where he was working, and I asked him, ‘Are you going to play for me or not?’” Winterburn said. “I drove through the In-N-Out, where he was working, and I asked him, ‘Are you going to play for me or not?’” Winterburn said.
Hattabaugh said that he is thankful for what the university and Winterburn have given to him. Hattabaugh said that he is thankful for what the university and Winterburn have given to him.
“In 25 years of baseball, he’s the most natural, all-around leader I have ever had,” Winterburn said. “I’m going to measure future leaders against him.” “In 25 years of baseball, he’s the most natural, all-around leader I have ever had,” Winterburn said. “I’m going to measure future leaders against him.”
“He’s a great leader,” teammate David Contreras said. “He can light a fire in these guys. When he talks everyone’s quiet and they listen.” “He’s a great leader,” teammate David Contreras said. “He can light a fire in these guys. When he talks everyone’s quiet and they listen.”
However, Hattabaugh said that he wants to be remembered by more than what he did on the baseball field. However, Hattabaugh said that he wants to be remembered by more than what he did on the baseball field.
“[I don’t want to be remembered] by my stats because who’s going to remember that one home run I hit,” Hattabaugh said. “[I don’t want to be remembered] by my stats because who’s going to remember that one home run I hit,” Hattabaugh said.
“I want people to remember that I was a good person. I try to present myself as more than a baseball player and I want them to remember the relationships we had,” Hattabaugh added. “I want people to remember that I was a good person. I try to present myself as more than a baseball player and I want them to remember the relationships we had,” Hattabaugh added.
One of the closest relationships Hattabaugh had was with fellow senior catcher Mike Surina. One of the closest relationships Hattabaugh had was with fellow senior catcher Mike Surina.
“We didn’t get along at first,” Hattabaugh said. “Now he’s one of my best friends. He always tells me, ‘Don’t worry man, in 50 years we’re going to be sitting on a porch somewhere asking our wives for more beer.’” “We didn’t get along at first,” Hattabaugh said. “Now he’s one of my best friends. He always tells me, ‘Don’t worry man, in 50 years we’re going to be sitting on a porch somewhere asking our wives for more beer.’”
Even though going to a Division I school would have opened up many more opportunities for Hattabaugh, he said that going to the University of La Verne turned out to be a great experience. Even though going to a Division I school would have opened up many more opportunities for Hattabaugh, he said that going to the University of La Verne turned out to be a great experience.
“Going D-I didn’t work out, but in the long run it did,” Hattabaugh said. “Going D-I didn’t work out, but in the long run it did,” Hattabaugh said.
“I wouldn’t trade a D-I for the people or things I’ve experienced here,” he added. “I wouldn’t trade a D-I for the people or things I’ve experienced here,” he added.
“By far the coolest thing I’ve experienced here is when we won the [SCIAC] championship my sophomore year,” Hatta­baugh said. “That will forever be engrained in my mind.” “By far the coolest thing I’ve experienced here is when we won the [SCIAC] championship my sophomore year,” Hatta­baugh said. “That will forever be engrained in my mind.”
Hattabaugh is graduating with a degree in sociology and is considering applying to graduate schools in the fall. Hattabaugh is graduating with a degree in sociology and is considering applying to graduate schools in the fall.
Even if he does not know exactly what is in store for him, Hattabaugh is excited to see what his future holds. Even if he does not know exactly what is in store for him, Hattabaugh is excited to see what his future holds.
“I just want to be successful in whatever I do,” Hattabaugh said. “I just want to be successful in whatever I do,” Hattabaugh said.
“Whether it’s going to graduate school or playing baseball. Either way it’s going to be good.” “Whether it’s going to graduate school or playing baseball. Either way it’s going to be good.”
<em>Elsie Ramos can be reached at <a href="mailto: elsie.ramos@laverne.edu"> elsie.ramos@laverne.edu</a>.</em> <em>Elsie Ramos can be reached at <a href="mailto: elsie.ramos@laverne.edu"> elsie.ramos@laverne.edu</a>.</em>

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