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BETWEEN THE LINES

Some Were Saying Argh after Agoura

January 08, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

There were no balls, bats or gloves as 36 UCLA baseball players took a bus Wednesday morning from Westwood to a park in Agoura Hills for the opening day of practice.

The only workout scheduled was a grueling three-mile run over a hilly course.

"The only thing they have to look out for is mountain lions," Coach Gary Adams warned.

Four observers on horses were sent out on the trail to make sure the players didn't get lost or run into rattlesnakes.

The players were required to complete the course in 28 minutes, 40 seconds. One player, infielder Brett Nista, got to ride a mountain bike because of knee problems and had to ride twice around the course.

Twenty-three minutes, 11 seconds after the start, freshman pitcher Tyler Dersom from Chaminade High raced down the final hill far ahead of his teammates.

"Wow," Adams said. "It shows me something. He could probably go 17 innings."

Dersom finished 59 seconds ahead of his next closest pursuer.

"It was just mind over body," Dersom said.

Thirty-one of the 36 participants completed the course in the required time. The other five will return Friday for another attempt.

It's the second year in a row Adams has taken the team for a run in Agoura Hills, right down the street from his home. Last year's team made it to the College World Series.

"It's all about mental toughness," Adams said.

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