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ANDERSON FINDS A HOME BEHIND HOME.

Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer

Jason Anderson has been on the move more than he anticipated since graduating from Lancaster High in 2002 as that year's Golden League baseball MVP.

He has switched schools each year since. The move that bothered him most, though, was the one from behind the plate.

Anderson is on the move again, and this time right where he wants. After spending this year at Howard Community College in Big Springs, Texas, he has a scholarship to a four-year school - Saint Mary's University in San Antonio - and an opportunity to return to his favorite position of catcher.

``I had some bumps in the road, but it's turned out good,'' Anderson said.

Anderson spent the 2005 season as an outfielder at Howard. Resembling the form that made him a first-team All-Southern Section selection in high school, Anderson batted .404 with 11 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and 62 RBI in 54 games, sparking the scholarship offer from Saint Mary's.

Anderson attended Howard his first year out of Lancaster. He'd heard about the school through his travel team, and a few other area players planned to join him there. Anderson spent his freshman year as a first baseman who hit well enough to be invited to play at Gonzaga the following year.

At Gonzaga, Anderson competed for the catching job, but ended up redshirting and realizing his playing time would likely always be limited there because the player who won the job went on to be an all-conference player.

Anderson transferred back to Howard in hopes of getting playing time and attracting attention from other four-year programs. Saint Mary's, a Division II team, liked what it saw.

``I was a bit disappointed it didn't work out at Gonzaga,'' Anderson said. ``But things happen and you gotta do what you gotta do. It ended up being fine. I'm happy with where I'm going.''

Before he returns to Texas in August, Anderson is spending the summer in Washington state, playing for the Wenatchee Applesox of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. The wood-bat league began play last week, and the Applesox won their first five games.

Anderson is back at catcher with the Applesox, and said he was told the position is his to lose at Saint Mary's. For someone who spent four years as Lancaster's catcher and still loves to discuss the position with his younger brother Eric - who recently finished his junior season as Lancaster's catcher - the transition is a welcome one.

``I'm excited,'' Anderson said. ``They want me to come in and catch. Basically, if I hit, I play. ... I'm just looking forward to getting some more time behind the plate. That was the hardest part about the last few years.

``I guess it's not all bad, I became more versatile. But catching is what I love.''

Heather Gripp, (818) 713-3607

heather.gripp(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 25, 2005
Words:480
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