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Letter of intent guiding Johnson to Cal Poly SLO next year

Fallbrook High School senior Chase Johnson will be spending the 2010 baseball season making up for an injury which sidelined him for much of last year. He is likely to be spending the 2011 baseball season on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo team (Cal Poly SLO).

Johnson signed a letter of intent to play for Cal Poly SLO on Nov. 11. “We’re thrilled for him,” said Fallbrook High School baseball coach Jesse Schuveiller. “Chase, for the last few years has been the epitome of what we’ve asked the boys to become.”

Schuveiller noted that Johnson’s attributes include a classy demeanor, a strong work ethic and good grades. “He kind of sets the tone for the rest of the boys. He works his tail off at the gym, on the field and especially at home,” Schuveiller said.

Johnson was also considering UCLA, Wake Forest, Duke and Harvard before deciding upon Cal Poly SLO. “It’s really a good balance between education and athletics,” said Johnson, who plans to be a business major.

Last year Cal Poly SLO posted a 37-21 record, which includes two playoff losses after the Mustangs reached the post-season for the first time in their NCAA Division I history. The Mustangs finished third in the Big West Conference standings, behind Irvine and Fullerton State. “It’s a really good program,” Johnson said.

The Big West Conference also had two Fallbrook High School graduates on the 2009 all-conference teams. Pacific catcher Kurt Wideman earned second-team all-league status while Irvine pitcher Brock Bardeen was an honorable mention selection. Wideman and Bardeen were both college seniors last year.

Johnson himself has one all-league honor; as a sophomore in 2008 he was named to the Avocado League’s second team. Johnson’s 2008 season included pitching a no-hitter against El Camino which was part of a shutout streak of 26 consecutive innings. Johnson, who plays the outfield when he isn’t pitching, also hit a grand slam during that 26-inning shutout streak.

As a junior Johnson, who throws and bats right-handed, developed tendinitis in his throwing arm and was shut down for the season. Johnson, who has been playing travel ball since he was 10, spent part of the ensuing summer with the San Diego Show.

In August he was one of two San Diego County players, and the only San Diego County pitcher, to earn a berth on a team for the Area Code Games in Long Beach. More than 400 college recruiters and pro scouts converged on Long Beach State’s Blair Field for the Area Code Games. (Long Beach State is also in the Big West Conference).

After pitching in the Area Code Games, Johnson was invited to participate in the Dodger Elite Tommy Lasorda Games at Dodger Stadium where he pitched and played left field.

In mid-October Johnson traveled to Peoria, Ariz., for the Arizona Senior Fall Classic baseball showcase, which was founded by the brother of former Fallbrook High School baseball coach Dave Heid. Representatives from more than 200 four-year and two-year colleges were present at the showcase.

Johnson pitched in two games at the showcase. In his first game, he faced six batters. He struck out four, walked one, but picked that player off first base and coaxed a ground-out. In his other appearance, he faced three batters and induced three ground-outs.

Cal Poly SLO pitching coach Jason Kelley saw Johnson both at the Area Code Games and at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic and offered Johnson a baseball scholarship to the university.

Johnson, a lifelong Fallbrook resident, attended Bonsall Elementary School and Sullivan Middle School before beginning high school. He began playing T-Ball with Fallbrook Youth Baseball at the age of five and spent nine years in Pony League Baseball. When he was nine he began taking batting and pitching lessons from Dave Hedenz, who has served as Fallbrook’s junior varsity baseball coach.

Johnson played for Fallbrook High School’s freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams at various points during the 2007 season.

Johnson was one of four valedictorians in his Sullivan Middle School graduating class after having compiled a perfect grade point average during his middle school years. He entered his senior year with a 4.03 grade point average for his Fallbrook High School classes, and he scored a 2020 out of a possible 2400 on his Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Johnson is a member of the California Scholarship Federation and is the Fallbrook High School chapter’s 2009-10 treasurer. His community service activity includes beach cleanup with the Surfrider Foundation and participation in the Key Club.

“We’re very excited for him to go to the next level,” Schuveiller said. “We’re just very excited for him to reach his potential.”

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