'Meet the Trojans' fundraiser set for Friday

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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The Oak Ridge baseball team will be hosting the inaugural “Meet the Trojans” dinner at the El Dorado Hills Community Service District to introduce the 2012 Trojan baseball squad. The barbecue tri tip dinner event at 6 p.m. on Friday will allow the El Dorado Hills community to come together, mingle with this year’s Oak Ridge ballclub and help raise money for improvements on the baseball facility. Attendees will be able to view renderings of plans for a new and improved Trojan baseball diamond. Fifth-year head coach Todd Melton said that the Oak Ridge athletic department is “thinking big” in terms of recreating its baseball field. “We want (the new field) to be a destination,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of people in the community to make it happen but we want to make it a jewel.” The keynote speaker at the event will be former big-leaguer and Oak Ridge product FP Santangelo, who helped the Trojans win back-to-back Golden Empire League titles in 1984-’85 before spending seven seasons in the major leagues, including stints with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. Santangelo, whose son FP, Jr. is a junior on this year’s team, plans to speak about, among other things, balancing student-athlete duties, the history of the Oak Ridge program and how lucky the kids should feel to be part of its tradition. “Oak Ridge has always had great program for all of its sports and the baseball team, being one of the better programs in the area, is definitely deserving of some facility improvements,” he said. “I want to let these kids know what it means to be a good teammate. Even in the big leagues today, they may not necessarily be looking for tool-type players, but guys who can fit in well in the clubhouse as well.” Melton thinks Santangelo will be received quite well since he’s known for a tremendous work ethic, evidenced by the fact that he spent seven seasons working through the minor league ranks before making his big league debut in 1995. “Growing up, (FP) was just one of the kids like everyone else,” said Melton. “We’ve always heard stories of him working hard to get to the pros. Everyone involved in baseball has dream of making it to the big leagues and different people take different paths. FP was just a pretty good player who worked hard and grinded it out until he made it.” Oak Ridge, who a year ago came within one win of its first Sac-Joaquin Section title, is hungry to exceed last year’s results. “The kids really came together last year and it’s a goal of ours to go that one step further. Somebody’s got to win the first section championship in school history and I feel like these kids want it,” said Melton. For those interested in further information on the March 2 dinner, they can contact Dinner Chairman Tom Bolinger at Said Melton, “I think it’s a no-brainer as far as a great way for our community to meet the players. FP had a pretty long career and it’s a great way to honor him too.”