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At the ready

Recovering from off-season surgery after a fine season, recent Burbank graduate Lonnie Kauppila ready to take his talents to Stanford

August 03, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Raul Roa / Valley…)

With the summer simmering along outside, Lonnie Kauppila is restless inside.

A ball, a mitt and a bat call him, just as they've done since he was but 5 years old. And without them, the summer is simply stumbling along.

"I'm pretty much in the dumps right now," says Kauppila, who recently graduated from Burbank High and will shortly venture north to take the next step, and his next swing, at Stanford University.

Not long after wrapping up his stellar high school career in June, Kauppila underwent surgery for a torn labrum and it has left him with little to do other than ride a stationary bike and ???think of all the hours of baseball lost to the injury.

"I just don't get bored of it," says Kauppila of baseball. "There's really no limit for baseball."

Many believe Kauppila's potential in baseball is rather limitless, as well.

Hence, he's off to Stanford in the coming months. In June, he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Major League Basebal First-Year Player Draft and he turned in an All-CIF Southern Section and All-Pacific League senior season with a line of a .443 average, 35 runs, 22 runs batted in, 15 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases.

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Most impressive about Kauppila, however, was his overall body of work, one in which he put on display with dynamic fielding prowess, the ability to hit for average and power and the speed and smarts on the bases to become a weapon there, as well.

It is for these attributes, accolades and talents that Kauppila, for a second consecutive year, was voted the 2010 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year by the sports editors and writers of the La Canada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader.

"I definitely feel his best baseball's ahead of him," Burbank Coach Bob Hart says.

Lonnie Kauppila's best high school season ended up being behind him.

He garnered All-Area Baseball Player of the Year recognition after his junior season with stellar numbers like a .508 average, 27 runs scored, 25 RBIs and 12 home runs.

"His numbers [during his senior season] were not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but largely, he had better numbers his junior year," Hart says.

And Kauppila, often his own harshest critic, is quick to admit as much.

"I guess I was satisfied overall, but I know I could do better," he says.

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