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Citrus’ Copas, Pullen sign with Sauk Valley (3-22-2012)

Citrus' Copas, Pullen sign with SaukValley

Hurricane baseball players head to two-year school in Illinois

ByJ.M. Soracchi

Saturday, March3, 2012 at 1:41 am

Citrus seniors Cameron Copas and Mark Pullen have played baseball together since their days as Inverness 9-10 baseballall-stars.

Now, Copas and Pullen have signed up for atleast two more years as teammates.

Copas, a catcher, and Pullen, a left-handedpitcher, will be attending Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois.Both Hurricanes were offered athletic scholarship money to become Skyhawks.

"I'd go anywhere to play baseball," Pullen said.

Although the pair have committed to the collegesight unseen, Copas and Pullen will get to see Skyhawks play in Vero Beach fromMarch 4-8. According to the school's website, it is a trip Sauk Valley makesevery year.

Copas, Pullen and Citrus coach Brady Bogart allcredited Citrus assistant coach Dan Comstock, who sent tape of the players and madefirst contact with Sauk Valley.

Comstock said that Copas and Pullen's approachon and off the field would have been attractive to any college.

"They're as strong in the classroom as they areon the field," Comstock said. "These college coaches look at academics and if akid has character, and both of these guys do."

Bogart said Copas was the team's most polishedhitter in 2011 and lauded the player's approach at the plate.

"He's one of the purest high school hittersaround," Bogart said. "His approach never changes."

As for Pullen, the pitcher throws in the low 80sand was one of the Hurricanes' best starting pitchers last season in posting a6-3 record.

The biggest hurdle for Pullen, according toBogart, was just having the self-confidence to be a standout hurler.

"Mark didn't think he was as good as he is,"Bogart said. "We just told Mark if you can throw your three pitches forstrikes, you can get people out."

Copas was excited about heading to Illinois andsaid it was great that Pullen is also going, but that he would have beenattending Sauk Valley regardless.

For the Skyhawks, it's a chance to tap into theflush talent located in the Sunshine State.

"Any time an out-of-state school can bring theelement of a Florida baseball player into the fold, it works for them too,"Bogart said.

"They needed to go to a place they can playright away, which I think they can," Bogart said, "and they needed to go to atwo-year school. This is a good fit for them."