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Baseball player will leave mound for mission trip

Ian Graves

Ian Graves

CRC pitcher Austin Ales on the mound.

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Cosumnes River College baseball player Austin Ales will take the ultimate leap of faith. The freshman pitcher is putting his beloved baseball career aside to follow his religion.

After he stares down batters for a season with the Hawks, Ales will set his sights on a two-year mission trip.

Growing up, Ales balanced his love for baseball and involvement in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Ever since I was a little kid my dad started me in baseball, around 4 years old,” Ales said. “I’ve always kept with it. I love the game.”

Ales religion also was introduced to him at a young age and he still follows it to this day.

“My parents were in the church before, so we kind of grew up in it,” he said. “But now that I’m older, I’m keeping with it and I want to be involved in the religion still, I want to be living it.”

With a 14-year baseball career in the books, Ales will hang up his cleats and leave in the fall for a trip to an unknown location.

“I won’t know where I am going until the end of April,” he said.

However, Ales said he had no problem choosing his religion over baseball.

“I’m fine with it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I was a little kid. It’s not going to be a downer on my life. Baseball will still be here when I come back. I’ll just start where I left off.”

Still, Ales does admit he will miss baseball when he’s gone.

“I probably won’t get to play at all, so I’ll be missing that a lot,” he said.

The goal of the trip is to introduce and spread his religion to others.

“I’ll be preaching my Gospel out there,” Ales said. “I’m just trying to share what I know with others.”

Ales plans to continue playing baseball with CRC when he gets back. He expressed interest in it as a possible career.

“If I get the chance and was lucky enough to go somewhere, I would definitely love to go play baseball professionally,” he said.

Ales is averaging more than nine strikeouts a game to go with an earned run average below two in the 2012 season, according to the CRC Athletics website.

Although Ales is putting up those numbers, he knows this trip is something he needs to do. Even if Ales was drafted into professional baseball this year, he would not miss out on helping his religion.

“I would go on my trip,” he said. “It will be worth it in the long run.”

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Baseball player will leave mound for mission trip