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Thursday, Aug 07 2014 03:16 PM

Catching up: Five former Warriors play college baseball

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Former THS baseball player Ross Feely hits a bases loaded triple for the College of Sequoias Giants in a game against Fresno City College last season. Feely is headed to Bellvue College to play baseball this fall.

Ross Feely has a moment with pitcher Tyler Beardsley during a game with Merced College. The pair who have been playing together since fifth grade, will part after playing together at the College of Sequoias in Visalia. Feely is headed to Bellvue College to play baseball this fall, while Beardsley will play for Sacramento State.

2012 THS graduate Tyler Beardsley during a playoff game victory over Diablo Valley. The right-hander started the game and threw 7.1 innings, giving up only one run with two strikeouts. Beardsley will head to Sacramento State to play baseball this fall, after spending two years at the College of Sequoias in Visalia.

Taft Cougar and former Warriors' baseball player Travis Tessandori slides safely into second base under the tag of his former THS teammate Ross Feely, in a game against the College of Sequoias Giants. Feely is headed to Bellvue College to play baseball this fall, while Tessandori will begin his first year at Mobile University in Alabama.

While it's unusual for even a large city with multiple high schools to have more than a half dozen of its former high school graduates playing college baseball at one time, for a town the size of Tehachapi to have nearly that many, is extraordinary.

Five former Warriors' athletes will play baseball at a collegiate level this coming season, and among them is 2012 THS graduate Tyler Beardsley, who after spending two years at the College of Sequoias in Visalia will now head to Sacramento State to play ball while majoring in criminal justice.

During his sophomore year at COS, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound pitcher helped the Giants to their first conference title since 2001, going all the way to state finals and making a final four appearance for the first time since 1997.

Named 2014 2nd Team All-Conference, Beardsley started in 15 games in 2014 for the Giants, finishing the season with a 5-4 record and a 4.03 ERA. He also posted 55 strike outs to just 17 walks over 80.1 inning of work.

And while he is looking forward to playing for the Hornets, he will miss paying alongside Warriors and Giants' teammate Ross Feely, who will start his junior year playing baseball at Bellevue University in Nebraska where he will major in psychology.

“I am definitely going to miss playing with Ross,” Beardsley said. “We have created so many great memories these past two years and we will talk about them for the rest of our lives.”

Graduating alongside his teammate in 2012, Feely helped lift the Warriors to a 2009 South Sequoia League title and was named first team All-SSL in his junior and senior years, as well as receiving an honorable mention in his junior and senior year.

Feely was also selected 2013 and 2014 All-Conference in the Central Valley, and won a Gold Glove award in both years as well, one year after being voted the Giants’ MVP.

Also named1st Team All-Conference Gold Glove Captain in 2014, Feely finished the season third overall in the Central Valley Conference, with a .363 average, to go along with 18 RBIs and a team second-best on base percentage of .491.

Following in his brother’s footsteps, Reid Feeley, a 2014 Tehachapi High School graduate, will begin playing for the Giants this fall.

Feely helped Mountain Baseball to its first Southeast Yosemite League title since 2007 this past season, one year after helping the Warriors take second in the CIF Valley Finals.

Besides playing baseball all four years at THS, including 2-1/2 seasons at the varsity level, Feely — like his older brother — was also a four-year cross country runner. He was also named to the 2nd team SEYL in 2013, 1st team SEYL in 2014, and received an honorable mention for Kern County in 2014, while appearing in the 2014 Kern County All-Star game.

Finally, former THS pitcher Justin Hedberg and outfielder Travis Tessandori who graduated from Tehachapi in 2012, are also moving on to four-year colleges to play baseball this coming season.

After redshirting in his first year at Taft College, Hedberg will play with the Simpson University Redhawks, an NAIA affiliate in Redding.
Hedberg was the Warriors' top pitcher during his junior and senior seasons, finishing with 80 strikeouts over 91 innings of work, and earning 2nd team All-South Sequoia League honors both years.

Tessandori meanwhile, who played for Taft College for two seasons, will begin his first year at Mobile University in Alabama where he will major in journalism.

The speedy outfielder was 2nd  team All-League in his junior year, and All-Area and 1st team selection in his senior year at THS while breaking THS baseball coach Chris Olofson's single season steals record with 39 bases taken.

Tessandori appeared in 34 games with the Cougars in 2014, batting .285 with 37 hits and 10 RBIs, while stealing 11 bases, and was named the Cougars’ MVP and 2nd team All-CVC in his freshman year, as well as receiving an honorable mention in his sophomore year.

He also earned a Gold Glove both years while at Taft, and said that beyond all that, what he remembers most, was stepping up to the plate as the first batter in a game against Beardsley.

“Tyler threw me about 15 pitches and I continuously fouled them off,” he said. “With a full count he threw me a pitch that I swear was a foot outside, but the umpire called it a strike, anyways.”

To this day Beardsley swears it was a strike, but Tessandori thinks deep down his old friend knows that he walked him.

“I'm still bitter about it,” Tessandori said. “Striking out is never fun, but knowing it was my old teammate that I have seen grow in the game was pretty cool. It reminded me why I play the game, really.”

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