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Vessella taken in 11th round of draft

Sports Notebook

June 07, 2006

Vessella gets his shot at the majors: It has been a dream for Tom Vessella to be a professional baseball player. Tuesday, he took a step forward in realizing that dream.

Vessella, a Burbank resident, was chosen in the 11th round ? 339th overall ? by the Houston Astros in the 2006 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft

The left-handed pitcher is coming off a fine junior season for Whittier College. Vessella, who attended Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, was named the Whittier College Male Team Sport Athlete of the Year for his performances on the mound during the 2006 season.

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Vessella had an 8-2 record with a 1.85 earned-run average. He surrendered just 17 earned runs and had 91 strikeouts in 14 appearances. In Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, he was 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA ? tops in SCIAC ? and held his opponents to a .199 batting average. In his six conference starts, he threw two complete games, which included a 16-strikeout shutout against Occidental College.

Nationally, Vessella was 48th in ERA, 24th in victories and 38th in strikeouts for nine innings.

Along with his school honor, Vessella was also a first-team All-SCIAC selection, a first-team West Region and is a strong All-American candidate.

"It's been a dream to play big league baseball ever since I was little," Vessella said. "This year, my dream became attainable, which helped motivate me to work even harder at practice."

Former Burroughs player puts up big numbers: Former Burroughs High baseball standout Aaron Sheehey ended his career at Whittier College with has share of team- and conference-best marks.

Sheehey, a senior outfielder, capped his senior year as one of the top players in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Sheehey led the Poets with 56 hits, 40 runs batted in and seven home runs. He also had 14 doubles, 95 total bases and a .629 slugging percentage. He was second on the team with two triples and a .371 batting average and finished among the top three on the team with 33 runs scored.

In the SCIAC, Sheehey was just as successful, as he led the conference in hits, RBI and total bases. He was tied for second in doubles and was third in home runs and triples.

Along with being the conference's athlete of the week in March, Sheehey was also a first-team All-SCIAC selection and second-team All-West Region pick.

Four locals chosen for all-star game: The area will be well represented at the annual San Fernando Valley All-Star Game.

The game will take place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Birmingham High and will be preceded by a home-run hitting contest at 3:30 p.m.

The local senior representatives are Burroughs pitcher Sara Budrick and catcher Kimmie White, catcher Danielle Austin from Providence and resident Jackie Ruiz, a senior infielder from Village Christian.

Austin earned co-Liberty League Player of the Year honors after winning the award outright in 2005. She also earned All-CIF honors a year ago. White was a first-team All-Foothill League pick and Budrick was an honorable-mention choice. Ruiz is a four-year varsity starter for the Crusaders and was an All-CIF standout in 2005 and a first-team All-Olympic League pick this season.

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