Former Livermore baseball star David Hart now part of Ohlone's success - Article, 2012 Ohlone College Renegades Men's Baseball

By Matt Schwab, Contra Costa Times.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012—Reprinted from Tri-Valley Times.

Success seems to follow David Hart on the baseball diamond.

After he helped Livermore High's varsity squad to new heights, he has been a part of two Coast Conference-Pacific Division championship teams at Ohlone College.

The Renegades will challenge Chabot in a best-of-three game series Saturday and Sunday to open the Northern California Regional playoffs.

But Hart, who signed a letter of intent with UC San Diego on April 16, is also a comeback kid.

After graduating from Livermore in 2009, where he'd earned East Bay Athletic League championships in 2007 and 2008, he underwent Tommy John surgery and was forced to redshirt at Ohlone in 2010.

Today the 6-foot right-hander has excellent command of three pitches, spots his fastball and keeps hitters off-balance.

"He's doing great for us," Ohlone coach Julian Russell said of Hart. "He's been here three years. He really did a great job battling back and getting himself ready to help us last year, and most definitely this year he's been a big part of the pitching staff.

"It's great to see guys come back from a surgery like that. He has earned everything he's got."

Hart enters the postseason with a 3.63 earned run average to rank 11th in the Coast-Pacific. He's also tied for 13th in the conference in wins with three.

Russell describes Hart as a "great student, a great person and a good baseball player, so he's definitely serious about getting out of here and continuing his baseball career, and most importantly, his education."

The Renegades, who are seeded third in the playoffs, have a strong valley flavor. Outfielder/utility Matt Owen (Foothill) is having a solid season along with center fielder/captain Richard Bermudez (California).

Hart, who plans to study computer engineering, seems perfectly suited to UC San Diego, a strong academic school with a powerful baseball program. The Tritons (28-20) are ranked just outside the top 30 in NCAA Division II.

In 2011 Hart played sparingly on a powerful Ohlone team that finished No. 2 in the state after taking the state championship the previous season.

"I wasn't quite up to par where I wanted to be talent-wise," Hart said. "Plus we had a pitching that was just amazing, so it was pretty hard to get some innings. I had to work pretty hard."

He did get a few opportunities, and fate also entered into the equation. A UC San Diego coach watched him pitch against host Sacramento City, as Hart struck out nine and allowed one run over seven brilliant innings.

"I ended up pitching the game of my life," Hart said. "Everything kind of fell into place."

At Livermore, Hart and the talented Cowboys advanced to the North Coast Section semifinals twice -- pretty heady stuff for a program that has struggled through the years. The Cowboys boasted J.R. Graham, who had upper-90 mph heat and went on to play at Santa Clara. He was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

"We all meshed well together during my sophomore and junior years," Hart said. "We won (the EBAL) in back-to-back years, so that was an extremely cool experience. It was great."

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