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East Union star turned down full-ride offer from Cal

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East Union standout Jordan Kron delivers a pitch during a one-hit, 11-strikeout performance against rival Sierra on April 28. The Lancers won, 3-1.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED August 2, 2012 11:50 p.m.

When a player is a starter on the high school baseball team as a freshman the game just seems to be easy.

As easy as it may have seemed over the past three seasons, East Union senior Jordan Kron has made his senior year that much easier, verbally accepting a scholarship to play baseball at UC Riverside.

Kron will join a Highlander program that competes in the ultra-competitive Big West Conference, suiting up against perennial baseball powerhouses, such as Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton as well as up-and-coming UC Irvine.

“Everyone who is really competitive about baseball always dreams of playing in the Big West, the Pac-12, or the ACC, only because they have the best baseball in the country, let alone the world.” Kron said. “It’s kind of opening my eyes to the fact that I am a good player and I need to fulfill those expectations.”

Kron solidified his commitment to the Highlanders early in the summer, garnering the Riverside coaching staff’s serious attention after a solid showing in the Reebok Nor Cal World Series played in Stockton in late May.

Kron put together a couple quality rounds of batting practice, showed his usual velocity from the pitcher’s mound and left a lasting impression on the Riverside staff. Kron, whose mother grew up in Riverside and still has family in the area, contacted Riverside head coach Doug Smith. After a visit the deal was done.

“He wanted to meet me on that first visit and for a head coach to take time on the visit, even at all, is a big thing in itself,” Kron said. “He’s an old-fashioned, hard-nosed coach, but at the same time he has fun and wants you to succeed as a person and a player. I wanted to go to a place where I had the best opportunity to play, as well as an opportunity to grow as a person.

“As soon as I left our meeting, I told my mom that this is where I want to be.”

Kron has been a key ingredient in everything the East Union baseball program has put on the field the past three seasons. Kron has helped earn a piece of a Valley Oak League championship, landed on three straight All-Valley Oak League teams.

On the mound he has been brilliant for the Lancers, posting a 1.27 ERA in 121 innings over his sophomore and junior seasons. Kron struck out 140 batters while surrendering just 31 walks in the same period. He’s also tossed 12 complete games in the past two years.

Riverside assured Kron of a chance at a spot in the starting rotation with a good showing in the fall, and they’ve also expressed interest in Kron hitting for the team and possibly playing a defensive position as well.

The senior had a handful of programs showing serious interest, including Cal Poly, Pacific, Sacramento State, Boston College and got a full-scholarship offer from Cal before committing to Riverside.

Kron will open his senior season with a scholarship in hand and a program that has already bestowed its commitment upon him. As competitive as the 2013 VOL baseball scene will be, Kron has made his final run through the VOL a lot smoother with his immediate future secure.

“It’s like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders,” Kron said. “I’ve always believed that I had a good shot at playing at a good school and there were times when it wasn’t happening and it would get frustrating.

“Now that I have a home and I’m happy with my decision, I feel like I can just be a kid again and just play baseball.”

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