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Hart graduate Kyle Boggio: Won’t take ‘no’

Indians pitching coach refuses to give up on his dream

Posted: May 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart pitching coach Kyle Boggio, right, left the team recently to pitch for the San Angelo Colts. The 2003 Hart grad simply will not give up his dream of making it to Major League Baseball.

 

Hart High head baseball coach Jim Ozella rattles off numerous compliments for his pitching coach Kyle Boggio.

Then he stops himself.

“What else can I say?”

Among those compliments is this one — “He’s a good listener.”

Yet there’s one word Boggio refuses to listen to.

“No.”

Boggio will be 27 on May 24.

The 2003 Hart High graduate, who played mostly outfield at College of the Canyons, fractured his elbow and underwent Tommy John Surgery and pitched sparingly at Cal Poly Pomona, begins his fourth season pitching in independent ball.

It’s professional baseball, minor league equivalent, but light years from the Major Leagues.

In a sense, baseball has told Boggio no, while others ask him why. Why does he keep chasing the dream?

Yet he continues his journey, nonetheless.

“I love it. People ask me that question all the time,” Boggio says. “It’s funny. I get asked by people who’ve never played or experienced the sport or have the passion I do. When they ask, it’s kind of like a dumb question to me. ... I don’t make a lot of money. It’s a good possibility I’ll never get to make it past (this level), but I get to do it four months a year. It’s good enough for me.”

Boggio says he wants to be a Major Leaguer.

He understands the odds against him are astronomical.

But he figures as long as he still has something left in the tank, why not go for it?

“He’s had a lot of nos thrown at him through the years,” Ozella says. “(People saying), ‘I don’t know if you could pitch. I don’t know if you could play. I don’t know if you can come back from injury. How come you didn’t pitch much at COC? How come you didn’t pitch much at Pomona? There’s a lot of success stories about guys who haven’t done it for a while and then do it better than others.

“I’ve seen his bullpen sessions. He’s pretty good.”

Boggio came back to the Hart program three seasons ago as a junior varsity coach. For the last two years, he has been the varsity pitching coach.

Ozella believes there are a couple of reasons why he came back to the Hart program.

He calls Boggio one of the most unselfish people he knows, and the evidence is his wanting to contribute to the program and help kids. Secondly, it offered him a chance to get some work in and hone his craft.

Boggio had a monster senior year at Hart in 2003, batting .453 with four home runs and going 8-5 on the mound with a 2.21 ERA. He moved on to COC where he was mostly an outfielder who played unknowingly through a frayed ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm — his throwing arm. Despite the injury, Boggio moved on to play at Cal Poly Pomona where he played in the outfield.

When he returned to Hart, Ozella encouraged him to pitch.

He was left-handed, he threw hard and still had a desire to play.

Boggio threw in front of Major League scouts from time to time in the Hart bullpen. They told him that he was too old in his mid-20s.

Yet at age 24, he made the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, even crossing paths with fellow Hart graduate Andrew Lorraine, who was on a rival team.

Lorraine is the ultimate symbol of baseball persistence — he played seven big league seasons and nearly two decades in the minor leagues. He also pitched in Italy, Mexico and Taiwan.

Boggio says they spoke briefly at the time and Lorraine was inspirational.

Last year, Boggio left Hart baseball before its season was over so he could play in the North American Baseball League.
He pitched in 27 games with organizations in Las Cruces, N.M., and San Angelo, Texas.

He went 6-4 with a 5.18 ERA.

On Friday, he left again — four days before Hart entered the CIF-Southern Section Division I postseason. The Indians play in the wild-card round today at Simi Valley High.

But Boggio had to leave to join the San Angelo Colts in training camp.

“He’s a great role model for our kids — a great teacher for our kids. Our pitchers really take to him, really love him. He’s able to relate to them,” Ozella says. “I think (they can see from him) a lot of lessons about life and that it’s not always easy. He certainly had his setbacks. But you really want to strive for something in your life you can achieve.”

Ozella says when Boggio left on Friday, there were a lot of hugs.

Boggio won’t make a lot of money (about $600 per month) playing independent ball, he’ll have to live with a host family and he will be far from both home and the big leagues.

But he can’t stop when he feels he is getting better.

Yet Boggio admits, one of the hardest things about this process is he will miss his kids.

“It’s very difficult,” he says. “When I talked to them (after the last regular season game on Thursday), after the game it was not emotional, but you feel bad. I’ve been helping some of them three years. To say, ‘I won’t be there for your next game,’ it kind of sucks.”

Yet if he asked his players if he should stay and not chase his dream, they’d give him an answer he couldn’t resist.

They’d tell him no.

661-287-5529

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