Freshman Gaon gets starting nod, follows brother

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Jessica Lu, news editor

Third baseman and pitcher Grant Gaon has played baseball since he was six, and now starts on the varsity baseball team. Gaon believes that his efforts in improving his game enabled him to land a spot on the varsity team as a ninth grader.

“I worked hard, and that’s why I start,” he said.

Assistant Coach Gregg Riesenberg said Gaon joined the team after basketball season ended, taking a couple of weeks to get accustomed to baseball. It was Gaon’s prior experience that enabled him to stand out to the coaches.

“He was a kid who really shined,” Riesenberg said. “A couple of weeks into the season we gave him the opportunity to practice and play with JV and varsity and he did quite well.”

A couple of games into the season, Gaon started as third baseman in a varsity baseball game, and according to Riesenberg, “did very well.”

“He gives more options as far as lineups and what’s good for the time,” Riesenberg said.

Catcher Jackson Martin felt that Gaon’s game has been improving throughout preseason and season.

“Grant has done a great job,” he said. “He’s really developed a lot and exceed a lot of expectations.”

Pitcher and outfielder Maxwell Martin said that Gaon’s move up to varsity accounts for the team’s 7-2 record. In addition, according to Jackson, Gaon added to the team dynamic with his skills and teamwork.

“We have a lot of fun with Grant on the team and call him ‘Dippy,’” Jackson said.

Riesenberg also found Gaon to be a positive presence on the team.

“He’s always willing to listen to coaches, works hard and always is appreciative,” he said.

Grant is following his older brother Zach’s path; Zach carried the same position on the team before graduating last year.

“I thought he had a great career at Beverly and wanted to follow his footsteps, but I have higher goals,” he said.

He added that his brother helped him get into the game of baseball.

“He showed me how to play and how to play it right,” he said.

Riesenberg also coached Zach, and though he believes the two are different players, he can see their similarities.

“They both love baseball and work really hard,” he said.

Jackson felt that Zach had an impact on Gaon’s game.

“He’d told me that going to Dodger games with his brother has really improved his play at third base,” Jackson said. “Like his brother Zach, he models his game after veteran dodger player Juan Uribe, the third baseman.”

Overall, Martin feels that the brothers are strong players.

“Grant has a lot of potential,” he said. “He is playing really well against hard competition. Zach was one of our best players last year and Grant’s going to be the future of the team in a couple of years.”

Riesenberg sees potential for Gaon to play in college.

“He has a lot of desire to play,” he said. “If he works hard, he has potential to possibly play at the next level.”

For now, Gaon is focused on finishing the rest of the season strongly.

“I want to win; that’s all I want,” he said. “[I will] do anything I can to make this team win.”

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