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Hart’s Russ to play for Trojans

Posted: August 2, 2013 8:50 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2013 8:50 p.m.

Hart first baseman Austin Russ, a junior-to-be, became the fourth Foothill League player committed to a Pac-12 school when he has verbally committed to USC.


Hart High first baseman and junior-to-be Austin Russ has verbally committed to USC, according to Hart head coach Jim Ozella.

Russ batted .254 with a home run and 12 RBIs last season in his first varsity year.

“He’s got a high upside,” Ozella said. “He’s a left-handed hitter who’s shown power, shown improving athleticism, arm’s getting better and better. He made dramatic improvements at the end of spring. We talked about becoming more athletic. I thought he’s improved his athleticism. He’s doing more and more in the field and at plate and taken an opportunity and run with it. He’s become a really good player. I think that’s what USC sees and other schools that were interested saw in him.”

Ozella said there were other offers for the 6-foot-3-inch, 190-pound player.

Russ’ biggest moment of the spring season came on April 24 when he hit a walk-off home run against Valencia and Loyola Marymount-bound pitcher J.D. Busfield.

He also helped the Indians win the 2013 summer Valley Invitational Baseball League championship.

“I’m truly humbled by the recognition. It’s been a life-long dream of mine to play Division I baseball and hopefully have a chance to play in the Major Leagues,” Russ said. “I credit God, my family and my coaches for getting me where I am today. It’s been great having an older brother (Ryan Russ) who’s not only been my mentor but has made good choices throughout his life as an honest and hardworking role model. My parents made sure that I worked hard in the classroom to get good grades. They’ve placed a lot of value on being a complete student-athlete.”

Russ is the third Pac-12-bound player on the Hart roster.

Senior-to-be Nick Valaika and fellow junior-to-be Dayton Provost are committed to UCLA.

West Ranch junior-to-be Jagger Rusconi is also verbally committed to USC.


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